It feels like muscle pain, but unlike a tight hamstring that makes you yelp when you stand up, your ache isn't triggered by a particular movement, and you can feel it in different places at various times. The culprit could be your fascia, says Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, chief of physical therapy at Harvard University Health Services. This sheet of tissue, made up of densely packed protein fibers, weaves throughout the entire body, and it binds and supports your muscles, bones and even your organs. While bodywork specialists have been passionate about fascia for decades, Wilmarth says it took new research on how fascia and muscles work together (some of it presented at the first international fascia research conference at Harvard in 2007) to get different health pros—from orthopedists to MDs and pain experts to personal trainers—to catch on.
Next: What to do before getting out of bed, what's causing that "crunchy" sound in your shoulders and more.