Fascial Disorders: Implications for Treatment

PM R. 2016 Feb;8(2):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.06.006. Epub 2015 Jun 14.


In the past 15 years, multiple articles have appeared that target fascia as an important component of treatment in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. To better understand the possible actions of fascial treatments, there is a need to clarify the definition of fascia and how it interacts with various other structures: muscles, nerves, vessels, organs. Fascia is a tissue that occurs throughout the body. However, different kinds of fascia exist. In this narrative review, we demonstrate that symptoms related to dysfunction of the lymphatic system, superficial vein system, and thermoregulation are closely related to dysfunction involving superficial fascia. Dysfunction involving alterations in mechanical coordination, proprioception, balance, myofascial pain, and cramps are more related to deep fascia and the epimysium. Superficial fascia is obviously more superficial than the other types and contains more elastic tissue. Consequently, effective treatment can probably be achieved with light massage or with treatment modalities that use large surfaces that spread the friction in the first layers of the subcutis. The deep fasciae and the epymisium require treatment that generates enough pressure to reach the surface of muscles. For this reason, the use of small surface tools and manual deep friction with the knuckles or elbows are indicated. Due to different anatomical locations and to the qualities of the fascial tissue, it is important to recognize that different modalities of approach have to be taken into consideration when considering treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Connective Tissue Diseases / diagnosis
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / etiology
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / therapy*
  • Fascia*
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy*