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Faulty movement patterns (part 2)

Published on 3rd Dec 2011 at 19:49 by Admin

The bodies chains wrapped in a leotard!

I know it sounds kinky :) but this is how i view our bodies. The body from foot/ankle to the head operates as one unit in functional movement patterns. Even with so-called isolation movements, muscles must work at least in pairs, so isolation training is not a good term in my view. Each muscle in our body, links to another through the myofascial network. The myofascia is a connective tissue that envelopes each muscle and weaves through each muscle. So this is our leotard. From the plantar fascia (sole of foot) to the galea aponeurotica (scalp) all our skeletal muscles are linked like chains, hence my kinky heading :)

As discussed in Faulty movement patterns (part 1), if the foot/ankle are not functioning properly you are most likely setting yourself up for bio-dysfunction. As an example if we look at the work of Thomas Myers, a man i had the priviledge to learn from in Dublin over 10 years ago, we can look at the superficial back line (SBL) and some of the muscles in that chain that have an influence on the body as a whole.

Anatomy of the SBL or superficial posterior chain

The SBL can start from the sole of the foot where the plantar fascia has a connection to the fascia of the lower leg or calf muscles at the calcaneal bone. The gastrocnemius heads upwards to the femoral condyles and meets the lower attachments of the hamstrings at the back of the knee. This is another link in the myofascial network. If we follow the hamstrings they attach to the ischial tuberiosity where the chain continues upwards via the thick and strong sacro-tuberous ligament. From this ligament we can travel upwards via different fibres in the erector spinae group. The next main junction where we have a link is at the base of the skull (occipital ridge) where the chain continues via the galea aponeurotica (scalp)

What does this mean?

Ok after that train journey what does it mean and have to do with faulty movement patterns you might ask? Ok if one, two or all of these muscles in the SBL become tight (hypertonic) the fascia will shorten in that muscle and will also pull on the fascia below/above the short fibres. in part 1 we discussed the possible formation of trigger points. So everytime we move that hypertonic muscle, there will be poor quality because of weakness in that muscle. Weak because it's not functioning at its full potential. There will also be a tugging on the connecting fascia, either above and or below the tight muscle. So we are creating more strain and a poorer movement quality. With several repetitions, hours, days, months or years of poor movement quality we are putting our full body through hell and back. I wonder how many people are walking around or playing sport in pain? They are probably accepting this unnecessary pain as normal.

The problem may not be where the pain is?

Confused? Read on then.......

in the SBL if you have a problem or pain in one or any of the muscles or joints, the problem may not be where the pain is. As discussed when one muscle shortens in a chain it will have an influence on the other muscles in that chain. So the area that is screaming out in pain may not be the real culprit. We have a saying in bodywork, if you are treating the area of pain only, 80% of the time you are in the wrong place. The whole SBL must be looked at and possible other chains when it comes to treatment and corrective exercise. Of course we are just looking at one chain  or train here, there are of course other tracks in the body that can cross another chain, so i would suggest that you read and study the work of Tom Myers if interested in this.

Correct the fault and the line will work again.

So really what i am getting at is that we should look globally at the body when there is dysfunction in the body. A problem in one bodypart left untreated can cause problems body wide. That pain in your shoulder or back can be as a result of your poor foot/ankle position. Or the weak hamstring that keeps pulling could be beacuse there are muscles pulling your pelvis out of neutral when you are moving. If we correct the fault early on, we can keep the chain functioning properly and get the best out of our movement patterns.

See a therapist who will look and treat you globally, not just the area of pain. See a therapist who will give you corrective exercise that will improve your faulty movement patterns and not add more fault to the pattern.


Shane Nicoletti FFI KBI

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