Ligament attaches bone to bone; strong, crisscross pattern; stabilizes joint
Tendon attaches muscle to bone; straight fibers; communicates movement direction
Muscle Function: Agonist: motor neurons contract; Antagonist: sensory neurons lengthen
Bones attachment sites of tendons and ligaments on bone define movement direction
Joint a pulley system for movement of bones using leveraged muscle positions
Fascia body-wide connective tissue of collagen; contours posture, profiles position in space
Bone Movement thru Joints – a Theory
A single muscle cell cannot contract and stretch at the same time, and a single cell cannot move the body by itself. Instead, muscle groups work in teams: one to contract and pull bones and another to oppose the motion with a full or partial stretch to control the length and speed of the action. The brain requests the action or fast twitch muscle fibers to contract via the motor neurons. A directional neurotransmitter message is sent from the collagen part of the tendon thru its attachment site on the same bone to the antagonist’s stretch reflex fibers. Those fibers, muscle spindles, are also made of collagen, and receive the signals for the intended change in direction. The surrounding fascia, also collagen, coordinates muscle resistance as fully relaxed or as an eccentric contraction to slow movement thru the joint.
Injury, Accident, Repetitive Use Impacting Movement
Injured muscles, tendons and other fascia can disrupt the flow of communication between opposing muscle groups. In addition, nerve impingements can divert signals or set trigger points impacting motor and sensory neuron transmissions. Chronic stress from compensation patterns used to manage the misdirection of communication between muscle groups can create dysfunction and pain throughout the body. There are varying degrees of injury to soft tissue. A large tissue tear or a tendon rupture from the bone can require surgery to repair the damage. Scar tissue is delivered to heal the tear site. Exercises and stretching after an acute injury or surgery keep excess scar tissue from forming allowing the necessary scar tissue to repair the tear site and rebuild strength. A strong external impact may not result in an emergency room visit, but can leave its mark behind. Adhesions can bind fibers that don’t belong together. The body cannot offer a permanent solution for this type of repair and cannot stretch through the adhesions for fear of a tear, Range of motion can be altered from the movement restriction, and other muscles in the body may get involved in a workaround to get the job done.
Muscle Group Rebalancing after Tendon Realignment
The chronic excess scar tissue does not have a natural path to permanent healing because the body knows it is in the wrong place. The non-permanent adhesions can be removed to restore normal function. To release the adhesions, it’s important to understand where and how movement looks when it is working correctly to see how it can be disrupted by adhesions. The logical place to start is the action or opposing muscle group attachment sites on a bone that is being moved. Palpating the action and opposing attachment sites at the same time and toggling back and forth between the muscle group movements can give insight to location of the problem and the missing communication links. Find and remove the adhesions. Then, with a client face up to deactivate posture interference, get the muscle groups talking again, by activating one group, and test to see if the opposing group is getting the message to relax.