The Misconception of Muscle Pains

The Misconception of Muscle Pains

Your neck hurts and your therapist works on your low back. All of a sudden, the pain went away. Or you've been having constant low back pain, and by massaging the gluteal muscles, your low back pain magically disappears. Why is that?

The old thinking of skeletal ‘stacking,’ no longer holds in our current scientific research. We used to think that we’re basically a pile of bones stacked on top of each other, making the classic classroom anatomy skeleton the only model we reference to for our structural existence. In recent years, scientists, doctors and increasingly yoga teachers are developing better understanding of what fascia is and revealing the truth to how our body really operates.

Fascia is what connects everything together. Yes-everything! We’re composed of about 7 trillion cells- neurons, epithelia, muscle cells- and all of these cells are contained by the 3-D spider fascial web made of gluey fibrous protein.(1) For years, fascia has been misconstrued as fragmented bits as seen in most anatomy books, like the thoralumbar fascia and the fascia lata. But this is simply untrue. According to Tom Myers, the founder of Anatomy Trains, explains that this misconception is due to inadequate dissection techniques, in which the dissectors are cross cutting the fibers into fragmented pieces. Much like looking at Google Maps and trying to match the schematic road maps with the actual street; anatomy pictures are the same. We compartmentalize each muscles, ligaments and tendons in order to make sense of our bodies; nonetheless, it’s a big mush if we take a look beneath the skin and everything is interconnected. 

Tensegrity is an integrative model that explains how fascia operates in 3-D terms. An elision of ‘tension and integrity,’ coined by Buckminster Fuller, tensegrity indicates the integrity of a structure derived from the balance of tension. See the video below to get a better idea:

As we can now see, the pain in the body is manifested through the weakest part of the fibrous web, however, based on the tensegrity model, it's not where the pain originates. Realizing this, we can gain better perspective to what is happening in our body. When we're experiencing low back pain perhaps it's caused by tightness in the hamstrings or that weak rhomboids can lead to tension in the neck or even down the arm. Simply put, wherever the pain is, chances are it doesn’t come from there.

Yin yoga is the first style of yoga to address myofascia. By applying low stress over a period of time, Yin yoga can slowly soften our entire ‘tensegritical’ fascial network. That’s another reason why we should practice Yin!

Leave a comment below:

1. If you have done myosfascial release work. How do you feel about it?

2. Have Yin yoga help you release physical pain? 


1. Anatomy Trains: Fascia