Your body has a web like structure of elastic fascial tissue, that connects the dots between EVERYTHING. From toes to nose, skin, tendons, muscles and organs, fascia connects and encases the lot. If the fascial system starts to get knotted up, stretching just won't cut it. Pulling on a knot, just tightens the knot further and makes it harder to get out in the end.
In order to get lasting change and reduce the knot, we need to do 3 things:
1. We need to first stop chasing the pain, and look at the whole body in movement to appreciate what might have caused the stressed area to lay down excess stiffened tissue and become more immobile and sore. In other words what areas of the body are not working efficiently, and causing load on the strained part.
2. We need to move, hydrate and release the local tissue where the knot is creating a blockage between efficient circulation, movements and wellness. It cannot heal and release tension without local movement and circulation.
3. We need to then retrain the freshly enriched area to play nice with the rest of the system through motivations or full body movements that train the specific fascial lines that may run along or across the area where the knot took residence.This involves looking at the body as a whole, and determining what specific areas might need some enhancement to help the whole system work better together.
You see when fascia becomes glued up and forms 'trigger points', it becomes de-sensitsed and unable to communicate effectively with the rest of the system. Nutrients can't get into the fascial extracellular matrix, circulation and lymphatics around the adhesion will be compromised, and the fascial tissue itself cannot mitigate force through the rest of the tissue that surrounds it. This is a big problem for the body, and one that stretching simply won't address, or fix.
Have a look at the picture here. Let's say that the clothing represents fascial strain in the connective tissue. If we released the pull on his jumper, the jumper would no longer be stuck and pulled towards the snag, but depending on the integrity of the material (or in this example fascia and skin) it may or may not pull itself back into a working tension relationship with the rest of the fabric.
So if we have saggy, dehydrated and compromised fabric or fascia in our bodies, then we need to retrain the whole system, to maintain it's original tension. This is where stretching the site of pain, or an injured area can only make matters worse, because it's not addressing the root cause of the issue, and why the trigger point or glued up area occurred in the first place.
If you have ongoing niggles and are receiving treatment week after week with minimal gain, then look outside the site of pain, take a global look around and you might just start to make better progress. To get more lasting change, you need to find clever ways to reload the system as a whole, to retrain the sticky area to play nice with the rest of the body again. Yet another reason why full body movement is essential for a healthy body. Train the system, not just the muscle!