Bones, Muscles and Fascia: they are all in relationship

I have been my own client during this time of quarantine. My former schedule was a delicate balance between household management, kids sports (baseball, football, softball, swimming), teaching Pilates, family time and church. It’s full.

My day to day looks different now and I found myself studying and diving deep back into the foundation of the work. I decided to reassess myself. I looked at posture (where and how my bones line up), my connection to gravity and the mobility of the fascia tissue. This lead me to write this blog about the relationship of bones, muscle and fascia.

Every person has a different structure. If we look at the way the bones align we can learn a lot. (We will challenge the static posture when we start to assess the muscle firing patterns and fascia mobility –tensegrity). Lets start with the spine. We have the six types of posture curves – Neutral, Lordosis, Khyphosis, Flat Back, Sway Back, and Scoliolosis.

If we look at the spine, then we can see the way all of the other bones stack. Based on what posture you are – (most of us are not neutral) the spine position effects the neck, pelvis, ribs, arms, hands, legs and feet. The spine placement can influence how to you connect to gravity. Pelvis can be either forward or back from the central line of gravity which will cause the femur bones stack in a way that will effect the knees – flexed, neutral or hyper-extended, and where the weight falls on the foot (forward, back, medial, lateral or a combination).

Another aspect of bones is placement of the femurs (bow legged, knocked kneed, or neutral) acetabulum (the socket of the hipbone, into which the head of the femur fits) and the amount of internal and external rotation. What is true parallel for that individual? As I am bow legged, I have a large degree of external rotation and literal zero internal rotation, my parallel is my internal rotation. I will speak more about that in the next blog – give placement cues for certain exercises.

The bone placement to understand posture, movement mechanics is a major key into helping people move better.

Based on the structure of our spines certain muscles will be strong or weak due to the way the bones sit. For example, if you are a sway back posture and hyper-extended in the knee, the quads are dominant and the hamstrings are underdeveloped and weak. We could work on exercises for the hamstrings which will help and depending on the fascia system it might bring some balance to the body. However, we need to integrate it with the fascia system, it’s all connected.

This is a great definition.
Thomas Hendrickson (Massage and Manual Therapy for Orthopedic Conditions pg. 14)
(FASCIA) Connective tissue is composed of cells, fibers and ground substance. It forms the structural walls for the heart, lungs and blood vessels and it binds joints together through ligaments and joint capsules. It give shape to the body through broad sheets of fascia and compartments, called septa, which contain the muscles. It forms the structural framework within muscles and transmits the pull of the muscles through the tendons.”

This transmission of tension is what shapes the body system. Fascia is our feeling sense or proprioception (the emotional feeling body lives in the fascia). The fascia tissue can be stiff (hypertonic), neutral, and hyper mobile. I am hyper mobile, it is in my genetics; I do not need to lengthen out my tissue, I need to pull it back in to support my bones and muscles. I have to work slowly and at a small range to find the fascia and muscle connection to stabilize my bones.

Other factors like age also effect the tissue and over time it begins to loose the elasticity. The fascia system is both fluid and tissue. The fluid can be stimulated to get rid of the stuck waste by positioning the body in space (inversions, spinal rotation, spinal extension, standing, seated, kneeling, prone, supine, and side body) while doing movement exercises.

The different lines of fascia are stronger based on how your spine posture type is working with gravity, it’s the same with muscles.

The lines of fascia are: Superficial Front, Deep Front, Functional Front, Superficial Back, Functional Back, Lateral, Spiral, and Arm Lines. Science is still researching and finding more connections.

The mass of tissue, muscle, and fat also play a roll in the tensegrity of the fascia system. If someone has more mass (extra weight), it will effect the entire system. For example, the pelvis might be pulled into an anterior tilt and the weight of the thighs might be pulling the knees into hyper-mobility.

I wanted to introduce these ideas about seeing theses systems as a whole as it can help us identify what it is that we need to work on in ourselves for movement longevity.

As a teacher, I will say the majority of my time teaching is in group class. In a group setting it’s very hard to address these systems to each individual, but it is important that each client know how their spine releates to gravity and the type of connective tissue they have.

The issues I see in group classes are: hypermobility and hypertonic // Kyphosis and Lordosis // proprioception and balance. I have come up with some techniques and cues and I will share them in upcoming blogs.

I am available for coaching and one on one sessions virtually. I look forward to teaching again in person in Scottsdale, AZ.

I have included a Restorative Relaxation Video from Carrie Miller Pilates YouTube TV Channel. These sequences will help calm your nervous system and bring more fullness into the ribs and diaphragm.

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