Muscles and bones, and all the other bits and bobs.
I was going to title this The Musculoskeletal System, but I did not want to lose you that early! If I haven’t lost you yet, please stick with it.
The human body is quite something, and often we take it for granted, we certainly hurl an awful lot of abuse at it between birth and death.
Why is this system so important?
It keeps us together; literally, it keeps us moving, it is a storage system, and it protects us.
Our 206 adult skeletal bones provide an organised structure on which everything is attached and within which all our life-giving organs are contained. Those bones store calcium to maintain calcium and phosphate balance in body fluid and fats to be called upon as energy reserves. They are also fundamentally important in the production of blood cells. Phenomenally every year, twenty per cent of the adult skeleton is replaced.
Bones are, however, nothing without muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves. We wouldn’t sit, stand, walk, run, dance, hug or do other incredible human feats without the whole system working in perfect harmony and in harmony, they provide movement.
Sticks and stones
Imagine for a moment, a broken bone, and maybe you have had one. When the nurse has set it and put a protective cast around it, the bone will heal itself, very little else needs to be done. Of course, some breaks are worse than others, and a degree in metalwork is required, but the principle is the same.
Now think about a pulled or torn muscle, ligament, cartilage and tendons which all generally heal themselves unless there are complete detachments when we need the marvel of modern medicine and a surgeon’s skills to put these delicate structures back together again.
The incredible job done by doctors and nurses to help our bodies repair gets undone by time and the power of the brain. Injuries take time to recover from and during that time, with an ever-demanding need to carry on, and our brain works out ingenious ways of keeping us moving. A little adaptation here, recruit that muscle there, lean a little this way, protect that sprain by transferring load, also known as limping, and there you have it, a perfect recipe for asymmetry, dysfunction. Sadly, however, the likelihood of creating the right set of conditions for future injury, unless corrected.
I am sure if you have broken or torn something you would have been provided with a prescription for pain killers and a set of exercises, maybe even follow up appointments with physiotherapy. I am reasonably sure that you won’t have done the exercises, at least on your own at home, and once the course of physiotherapy was over you were feeling ready to play, jump, run, kick and get back to exactly how things were before, but alas that will never be the case.
While the brain quickly remaps and gets you moving those adaptations need to be wiped and reloaded to a pre-injury state, in short, your musculoskeletal system needs to be rebalanced.
Areas that have become immobile need to be mobilised, muscles which have decreased in strength need to be strengthened, balance and coordination need to be coached as they will have all been compensated for while recovering. The brain will merrily keep making adjustments to keep you moving, not to mention continuing to protect the injured part, perhaps guarding against another fall or restricting the full range of movement.
Movement coaching is designed to help with assessing the whole system and starting to reset and remap as well as building up the confidence in accessing all function that was previously available.