Painful Connections: Densification Versus Fibrosis of Fascia

  • Piero G. Pavan
  • Antonio SteccoEmail author
  • Robert Stern
  • Carla Stecco
Myofascial Pain (R Gerwin, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Myofascial Pain


Deep fascia has long been considered a source of pain, secondary to nerve pain receptors becoming enmeshed within the pathological changes to which fascia are subject. Densification and fibrosis are among such changes. They can modify the mechanical properties of deep fasciae and damage the function of underlying muscles or organs. Distinguishing between these two different changes in fascia, and understanding the connective tissue matrix within fascia, together with the mechanical forces involved, will make it possible to assign more specific treatment modalities to relieve chronic pain syndromes. This review provides an overall description of deep fasciae and the mechanical properties in order to identify the various alterations that can lead to pain. Diet, exercise, and overuse syndromes are able to modify the viscosity of loose connective tissue within fascia, causing densification, an alteration that is easily reversible. Trauma, surgery, diabetes, and aging alter the fibrous layers of fasciae, leading to fascial fibrosis.


Fascia Densification Fibrosis Connective tissue Hyaluronan Loose connective tissue Aging Overuse syndrome Mechanics Hysteresis Stress–strain curves Load Lines of forces 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Piero G. Pavan, Dr. Antonio Stecco, Dr. Robert Stern, and Dr. Carla Stecco each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piero G. Pavan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Antonio Stecco
    • 3
    Email author
  • Robert Stern
    • 4
  • Carla Stecco
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Centre for Mechanics of Biological MaterialsUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  3. 3.Internal Medicine DepartmentUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  4. 4.Division of Basic Biomedical SciencesTouro College of Osteopathic MedicineNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Molecular Medicine DepartmentUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly

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