A Holiday Lesson

I’m pleased to report that I’ve just returned from a much-needed tropical getaway.  Sun, surf, humidity, and the expansive beauty of the Atlantic Ocean – what a treat!  Throw in a few visits with family & old friends, and you have a recipe for a super enjoyable & rejuvenating vacation.

The trip involved a 17-hour travel day going, and a 12-hour travel day returning, as well as many more hours of driving between destinations.  So lots of sitting.  Although I did quite a bit of walking & some daily yoga, it wasn’t enough to counter all the immobility and keep my fascia supple and happy.  As a result, I often found it necessary to do additional stretches at night to get out of pain and enable sleep.

If you’re unsure your fascia has ever been unhappy, an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that a painful back or neck could be due to tight fascia rather than muscles or joints.  Too much sitting or other limited movement day after day can cause fascia to thicken and become sticky. When it dries up and tightens around muscles, it can limit mobility and cause knots to develop.  If restoring elasticity to the tissue helps you feel better, the article goes on to say, the problem can be attributed to fascia. 

In a past post, I mentioned a video clip by Dr. Gil Hedley, Board President of the Institute for Anatomical ResearchWorking with a cadaver, he shares The Fuzz Speech, demonstrating how fascia creates a fuzzy connection to muscles as we sleep (or are otherwise inactive.)  Stretching each day dissolves the fuzz, he says.  To forgo stretching can result in thicker fuzz and result in stiffness and pain.  The importance of regular stretching cannot be overstated.

Jaap van der Wal, MD, retired associate professor of Anatomy and Embryology at the University of Maastricht, Holland, refers to fascia as the integrating matrix of the body.  Further, he says the architecture of the connective tissue, including structures such as fasciae, sheaths and membranes, is more important for understanding functional meaning than is more traditional anatomy.  A pretty strong endorsement for learning to care for your fascia, wouldn’t you say?

A while back, I found a website called The Fascia Guide that goes into detail on all kinds of info about fascia, as well as research articles and a Q&A page with plenty of practical info. From this source, you can glean facts like fascia is the only tissue that has contact with all other tissues in the body and it contains collagen-producing fibroblasts in abundance. If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating connective network, I encourage you to spend a few minutes on the site.  You might be amazed!

I’ve also discovered a website called Pilates Tonic that shares free, short clips of really nice stretches targeting specific areas.  I find that the outside of my thighs (the IT bands) and my lower back need the most attention when I’m out of my regular routine. Yoga, varied exercises, cupping therapy, massage, and foam rolling can also help keep connective tissue pliable. 

Even with fascial issues, my little winter escape was a delight.  The trip taught me that carving out sufficient time for various exercises between long periods of inactivity is crucial for staying out of pain, an especially desirable pursuit during vacation!  Can I get a do-over??

Blessings for Pain-Free Holidays,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

54 thoughts on “A Holiday Lesson

  1. 💎 – Diamond Hard – 💎

    💎 I AM NOT!!! a Medical ‘Expert’ or ‘Advisor’ that Advises EveryOne then says Words to The Effect of Seek Medical ‘Expertise’ before Taking My Advice; ergo, I Just Listen 🎶 To My Body and No Longer Seek Medical Intervention

    💎 – Diamond Hard – 💎

    …💎💎💎…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Once again, you addressed an issue that I have had problems with. I’ve been doing stretches for my back and I need to do them more than once a day. My fascia gets very tight from sitting. I need to walk more and stretch more. Thank you, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. By just looking at your pretty pictures, you must have had a ball of a time! And I’m so glad you could enjoy special time with family and friends. We have also done a road trip recently and all of that sitting in the car, made us stretching wild after each day!
    Have a Merry Christmas Lisa 🎄.

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  4. Hope enjoying your time but why don’t you take few breaks in middle of your journey and do few stretches to keep your body fit dear. Have a great day and Happy Christmas. But I like your way way of sharing beautiful pictures and true words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you were able to get out and recharge the body this holiday – if those were shots from this trip it looks like a very relaxing place. I keep telling myself I’m going to get motivated to stretch. You’d think with my outdoor hobby I’d be doing that a lot more than I really do – maybe ’22 is the year I focus on that – will likely be extra important in response to some medical work I need early next year that is going to cost me a good chunk of my ultra season – one step back so I can go two steps forward (without a very nagging pain I’ve fought through this year). Thanks for the reminder to start getting the joints loosened up.

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    1. Thanks, Brian, those shots are from my little escape. I’ve found that as I get older, my body seems to expect more of the same level of activity it’s accustomed to. Because my normal routine is very active, my tissues scream out in pain when they get less attention. I hope your surgery goes well & you’re back on the trail sooner than later! You’re right – stretching might play a huge role in your recovery! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, hello, I appreciate your visit & comment! In my experience, as I age, fascia is becoming more of an issue. It’s a must to maintain physical activity & keep it happy, otherwise it screams at me! Indeed, laughter is a great gift – for any time of year! Wishing you a jolly 2022! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Nice to know you, I come from Ashley’s blog. thank you for writing this post, it’s really important and enlightening. I think I have trigger nodes, which my doctor called simply “accumulations of fat” but she has always been careless about patients and therefore I have to study things on my own and often I have to figure out for myself how to cure a pain because the doctor is only good at giving drugs and that’s it. Now then with the excuse of the covid she no longer visits and she has retired. I’ve never had a good relationship with doctors. Nobody ever really listens to what I have to say. I have often discovered things about myself thanks to the internet. Doctors fill up with drugs and don’t care. But can the trigger knots dissolve?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, FQ, I appreciate your visit & comments! I am not a medical professional, and I’ve never heard of trigger knots. That being said, I will tell you that I get knots in my fascia quite often, especially after climbing especially hard. My massage therapist helps me dissolve them. I also foam roll, do yoga, and use cbd oil on them if they are painful. And personally, I think the best thing any of us can do is take responsibility for our own health. Medical professionals are trained to prescribe meds and/or do surgery to fix things. They also tend to compartmentalize regions of the body, which is not often a good idea, as everything is interdependent. So although you sound reluctant, learning how to care for yourself by utilizing the basics like good food, exercise, massage, and hydration could help you find the healer within. Blessings to you. 🌞

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      1. Thank you Lisa. The place looks lovely. I have never been to Florida and only visited U.S.A. Once when attending a wedding of our Irish relatives in Boston. I visited New Hampshire also.
        Christmas was nice, safe and quiet but we were able to dine out for dinner for a change. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you can ever get back to the US, I strongly encourage you to visit the western half of the country – it is completely different from the East! We dined out in South Florida without any problems. As for Christmas, we like to cook together at home. We had a feast of spaghetti and vegan meatballs with marinara, steamed artichokes & dip, roasted chestnuts, bruschetta, and a lemon-pistachio-coconut cake. And red wine, of course! We are both vegan, so it’s just easier to prepare our own food. Plus, homemade is so often better tasting! Wishing you a glorious 2022! 🌞

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, a trip whenever sounds good.
        I think we are now pescatarians (if that’s the right word). Your Christmas meal sounded lovely Lisa. Yes, I think home made is better but as there is just two of us and this Christmas has potential for gloom, dining out was a treat.
        Wishing you a glorious 2022 also Lisa 🌞

        Liked by 1 person

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