The accumulation of waste and fluid within the fascia and muscles can result in numerous symptoms and signs. The most common among these include pain, discomfort, and decreased mobility.
a. Pain and Discomfort
Pain and discomfort can occur as a result of waste and fluid accumulation in the fascia and muscles. The build-up of waste products such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide creates an environment of low pH, referred to as acidosis. Acidosis can irritate nerve endings, leading to pain and discomfort (Pedersen & Febbraio, 2008).
In addition to irritation of nerve endings, the accumulation of waste products can also lead to muscle cramping. Cramping occurs due to the inability of the muscle to relax, often resulting from a decreased pH within the muscle (Hermansen & Osnes, 1972).
Swelling caused by fluid accumulation can also contribute to pain and discomfort. The build-up of fluid can increase pressure on the surrounding tissues, leading to pain. In severe cases, the increased pressure can compress nerves and blood vessels, leading to more severe pain and potentially causing tissue damage (Williams & Warwick, 1980).
b. Decreased Mobility
Fluid and waste accumulation in the muscles and fascia can also result in decreased mobility. The presence of excess fluid and waste products can interfere with the normal sliding and gliding of fascial planes against one another, leading to restrictions in movement (Stecco et al., 2014).
In addition to limiting the physical movement of fascial planes, the accumulation of waste and fluid can also lead to changes in muscle function. Waste products such as lactic acid can interfere with the muscle’s ability to contract and relax properly, leading to decreased strength and endurance (Robergs et al., 2004).
Furthermore, fluid accumulation can result in edema, a condition characterized by swelling due to excess fluid trapped in the body’s tissues. Edema in and around the muscles and fascia can lead to stiffness and a reduced range of motion (Porth & Matfin, 2009).
Finally, long-term waste and fluid accumulation can lead to structural changes in the muscles and fascia, contributing to fibrosis or the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue. Fibrosis can further restrict movement and decrease flexibility (Kjaer, 2004).