Why are my injuries/pains always on the right side of the body?
Why are my issues always on the same side of my body?
These are questions I have asked myself and have heard from patients over the years. As a wholistic fascia physiotherapist I now have better answers to these questions.
Everything is connected.
Everything in the body is connected. Growing research is demonstrating that the systems we name as musculo-skeletal, circulatory or immune systems are increasingly being shown to blend into each other and it is getting more difficult to know where one system begins and ends.
Everything in the body is also connected via fascia/connective tissue. (Yes! The nervous system and circulatory systems also travel to all areas of the body but they are also surrounded by lots of protective connective tissue. You cannot get to a nerve or blood vessel without having to remove the overlying connective tissue/fascia.)
Fascia or connective tissue is part of the extracellular matrix and so connects and contacts every cell in the body and that this ‘living matrix’, as described by James Oschman in his book, ‘Energy Medicine- A Scientific Basis’, has been demonstrated by scientists to be composed of semiconductor molecules capable of forming a body-wide electronic circuit and possibly processes sensory data faster than nerve and chemical signals. This may be why complex movements such as dance, sports or martial arts movements can be performed at speeds faster than could be controlled purely by the nervous system.
Fascia/connective tissue is around every cell in the body, so it can be the link between injuries/dysfunctions in the head and the arms, or between the head and the foot etc.
The body is great at healing itself and some post injury tension/scarring changes can be easily worked around. So healing does not have to be perfect to return to previous levels of function. The fascial/connective tissue system allows for a lot of compensation within the body but when there is no more room for compensation, due to too many injuries or abnormal environments, different areas of the body can be overloaded. Then new injuries can occur at more distal sites or previous ones can reoccur.
More about fascia
Fascia is composed of many different cells/tissue types. Adipose tissue(fat) & cartilage are special forms of connective tissue. So are ligaments and tendons. All the internal organs are surrounded by connective tissue. The skin is composed of loose fibrous connective tissue (a.k.a superficial fascia) and within this there are receptors and cells involved in the perception of chemical, touch and temperature. There are also cells linking the immune system and the metabolic system within the skin/superficial fascia. See, it does connect every part of the body!
Fascia/connective tissue is not just for muscles but also has other known functions. Robert Schleip in his book, “Fascial Fitness” describes four functions of the fascia.
1. Shaping: supports, protects, wraps and gives structure
2. Movement: transfers and stores power, maintains tension, stretch
3. Communication: receives and forwards stimuli and information
4. Supply: metabolises, transports fluid and carries food
Luigi Stecco has developed an assessment and treatment technique called Fascial ManipulationⓇ which involves assessing the areas of dysfunction to determine if the issues are from the superficial and/or deeper fascial systems. Stecco also acknowledges the role of fascia in movement dysfunctions as well as its internal organ connections and roles in the cutaneous-thermoregulatory, adipose-metabolic, lymphatic-immune systems.
Stecco’s Fascial ManipulationⓇ technique utilises a specific series of points, similar to acupuncture or trigger points, to determine IF there is a fascial line or fascial plane connection to the number of symptoms or pathologies presenting.
So even if we only consider the biomechanical or physical connections between fascial and muscle layers, it is easy to see how forces can be transferred from one part of the body to another and how it is possible for an area distant to the site of pathology to be the cause of the problem. It is also easy to see how internal organs can also be the source of somato/musculo-skeletal symptoms or conversely how musckulo-skeletal symptoms can transfer abnormal forces to the internal organs and thus create dysfunction within the various internal systems. But that is a topic for another blog.
Let’s stay with the musculo-skeletal side – Muscles are surrounded by and infiltrated by connective tissue/fascial networks.The endomysium/perimysium & epimysium surround muscle fibre/fibre bundles/muscles respectively. The muscle forces are transmitted along these bundles and are also transmitted and communicated via fascial links to antagonist/opposing muscle groups.
Connective tissue/fascia is what determines how effective and powerful your movements are, as muscles blend into fascia and create seamless continuations, so the forces generated can be spread along the chains. Thomas Myers has documented in his book, “Anatomy Trains” how the fascia creates links between the various musculo-skeletal elements and thus movement can be observed to affect parts of various chains. E.g a downward dog pose in yoga stretches the posterior chain.
So with this background on how the connective tissue/fascia is interconnected to the whole body, if you have an injury to one part of the body, these links can have increased tension and altered information spreading along them and thus can lead to injuries at more distant places. The body is very good at compensating for injuries but if enough tension is altered within the system, symptoms eventually will appear.
I use Fascial ManipulationⓇ as my main diagnostic and treatment tool as it has a very precise method for assessing which fascial links are connected and also gives a way to then treat the driver/s of the dysfunctions. Of course other techniques can also be used and I can use these too if needed.
Yoga, Pilates, all martial arts techniques and exercises that utilise more functional use of the body e.g. Kinetic Link Training or Fascial Fitness exercise classes, all help to strengthen or maintain the fascial strength and functions. Much more so than traditional weights/gym exercises.
So if you want to see if your left/right sided symptoms are connected and influencing each other, come in and see me for an assessment and treatment at the Wholistic Medical Centre, 1/17 Randle St, Surry Hills.
Phone 9211 3811 or book online at with this link Jo Hadley or www.johadleyphysio.com