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Treating muscles and joints in a holistic way, a conversation…

Recetly someone asked me “So do you work with muscles and joints?” My answer was “yes/and, it depends.”

This person had come to see me about their shoulder.  However I had been talking about the connections between their internal organs (“contents”) and the interior of their torso (“container”).

I had been talking about how a well functioning “container” relied on normal freedom of movement of its “contents”. They thought perhaps I was not interested in muscles and joints much at all.


If we take a step back and consider our muscles and joints for a moment …

Container & contents - skeleton with internal organsAnatomy 101 tells us that the musculoskeletal system has two main jobs. Firstly, to move us about in the world, and secondly to protect our internal organs.

The flip side of this is that our muscles and joint – our posture and movement – organise themselves to minimise mechanical strain on our internal organs.

This helps with staying alive, digesting food, and so on.  Voila! Our Very Smart Body has its priorities sorted.

However, we tend to be MUCH more aware of our muscles and joints than of our internal orgnas. So, naturally enough, people seek help for the problem that they can feel most clearly.  This might be back pain, neck pain. headaches, tennis elbow, shoulder injury, ankle sprain and so on.


What does this mean for an holistic approach to treatement?

Detecting the complete story the body tellsTo help someone feel more comfortable, to have less pain, or to recover better, I am therefore interested in their musculoskeletal problem in context of their whole body.  What is the rest of the story that the muscle/joint/injury is telling me?

Knowing that all parts are ultimately enmeshed in connective tissue (fascia), I feel for the overall pattern of tension, and more importantly, which part of it is driving the show. If I can detect the most important tensions, then this suggests where to treat for most benefit.


Treating muscles and joints in context

More often than not, the place to start treating tends to be either in the nervous system, the blood and lymph flow, or with the freedom of movment of an internal organ.

Muscles and joints tend to be “where the buck stops”. They are important, but what is more important is their relationship to nerves, vessels and organs.

For example, underlying someone’s shoulder pain might be some adhesions from gall bladder or appendix surgery in the distant past. Or another’s slow recovery from an ankle sprain might be influenced by an inguinal hernia repair earlier in life. And someone else’s “tennis elbow” pain may be interacting with stiffness in their diaphragm and heart from an old whiplash injury and the pressure of the seatbelt against their chest.


In conclusion

Next time you have an ache, a pain, or an injury that bothers you for longer than it should, be kind and “don’t shoot the messenger”. Cconsider getting in touch to find out if it is something I might be able to help you with.

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