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Adaptations and Effects When The 5 Main Muscles Of Movement Are Not Used Correctly.

If you are not using the right muscles, you are using the wrong muscles.

The 5 main muscles of movement provide the central framework for a good posture, allowing the body to maintain balance and relative alignment through a full range of natural movement.

good posture

If we do not have a good posture, the body is unnecessarily stressed, resulting in pain and a physical changes in muscle and connective tissues.

Summary: What if I don't use my
main muscles of movement?

Myalgia of Imbalance

If the 5 main muscles of movement are not adequately utilised to keep the body balanced, the body becomes imbalanced as parts of other muscles - the 'wrong' muscles - have to be used. The 'wrong muscles' will become stressed and over-burdened over time, leading to muscle fatigue, spasms, strains and pain i.e. myalgia.

The body adjusts its posture in an attempt to avoid using painful muscles which shifts the burden around and around, resulting in body-wide myalgia and increasing physical imbalance and misalignment.

I believe this myalgia of imbalance is the basis of the "fibro tender points", some of the commonest areas that become stressed trying compensate for a lack of usage of the main muscles.

Two human figures, front and back view. The front shows 8 fibro hotspots: 2 in the neck, 2 on the chest, 2 just above the elbows and 2 above the knees on the inside of the legs. The back view shows 10 more hotspots: 2 where the trapezius muscles attach to the back of the skull, 4 in the upper back region of the trapezius near the shoulder blades. 4 in the posterior pelvic region approximating to the outside edges of the gluteus maximus muscles.

From personal experience these points grow and spread as the body is put under more and more stress and is subjected to cumulative damage.

The same two images from above but with more tender points added. Front and back, the body is covered in dots symbolising areas of muscle pain. The myalgia of imbalance causes body-wide stress, cumulative and spreading.

The areas of muscle affected depends on the body's position at the time as well as external stresses, habits, past injuries and skewed "brain-body map" that an individual has developed.

working musclesbody-mind map

Stressed muscles pull (via their ligaments) on their bony attachment sites causing pain that is often misinterpreted and misdiagnosed as a problem with a joint.

why so much focus on bones & joints?

Stessed muscles tire easily. We feel exhausted because our body is overworked and physically fatigued.

Physical Restrictions in Connective Tissues

Many others have noted physical restrictions on the body using various terminology for connective tissue ('fascia' is popular). I use the covering term 'connective tissue' for the body-wide web of fibrous tissue (mostly collagen) that surrounds and links all the other bits of us.

connective tissue & collagen

Physical restrictions:

  • Reduce range of movement.
  • Cause stiffness.
  • Apply tension.
  • Generate sensory feedback → pain and weird sensations.
  • Add to imbalance.
  • Increase misalignment.
  • Affect the way we move and act.
  • Are 'stored trauma'. A record of what the body has experienced, the damage it has sustained.

Connective Tissue & Inflammation

Physical restrictions form in connective tissue when it becomes inflammed and as part of the healing process. Inflammation can be triggered by many things including trauma, injury, surgery, infection and auto-immune reactions.

The mechanisms of inflammation are too complex to discuss in detail here (and still subject to research involving fibroplasia, granulation, collagen deposition etc.) but it is important to note the inflammatory process involves the creation and cross-linking of collagen fibres forming micro-restrictions. Wounds contract, restrictions form e.g. scar tissue, surgical adhesions. Connective tissues get 'sticky'.

After an injury these restrictions provide additional support to damaged tissues, imobilising an area to allow healing to take place. Once an injury has healed 'sticky' tissues should be released by the body returning to a full range of movement - resetting back to baseline healthy as it were.

Inflammation makes connective tissue 'sticky'.

When sticky tissues remain stuck physical restrictions are created.

If sticky connective tissues are not released they restrict movement and apply tension. The rest of the body must make adjustments to posture, becoming increasingly imbalanced and misaligned, as it aims to keep our eyes and feet facing forward.

Physical restrictions are a record of the damage a body sustains. Main injuries (whatever's bleeding or broken) are treated, but the effects of trauma can be widespread. e.g. an impact shock radiates throughout the body - micro-tears and micro-restrictions leave an 'imprint' of the 'max-stressed position', effectively 'storing the trauma' on the body.

For those of us that don't release the restrictions, the injury and the compensatory 'support' stays with us a.

Physical restrictions also form as part of the body's long-term adaptation to imbalance, 'reinforcing' areas under stress.&emps;Physical restrictions may not be noticed at first as the body is very adaptable, adjusting its posture to accomodate the restricted tissues. More and more restrictions form if imbalance is not corrected, chains of misalignments spread throughout the body.Like a few loose sticky plasters all over, then maybe a few tacks up and down the body, then ropes, glue and nails ... spread across the body for each position they support. first linear criss-crossing to form a web hardening to a bodywide scaffold, causing stiffness and further limiting our range of movement.

As my Base-Line connection developed and I could start to feel my state of alignment (or very much lack of) I became aware of how restricted my range of movement was and how these restrictions applied tensions thoughout my body.

Tensions, Pain and Weird Sensations

Restricted tissues cause tension. This physical tension generates sensory feedback resulting in widespread pain and weird sensations from head to fingers to toes along affected 'patterns'.

Along with the myalgia of imbalance, physical restrictions and their associated effects and sensations are my explanation for the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Base-Line Theory: Explaining fibromyalgia

often diagnosed as 'fibromyalgia' these days.

textbook fibromyalgia

Pain Avoidance Behaviours

Self-limiting movement due to pain (or the fear of pain) means that restricts are not released.

As the body tries to avoid pain (signals saying: watch it! protect!) by making adjustments above and below the injury - twists, kinks, tilts and compressions. This maintains a functional posture but increases the body's misalignment and imbalance.

Pain avoidance tactics (both conscious and subconscious) affect our behaviour and activity levels. Our body naturally tries to avoid pain, body-wide adjustments (think a kink left then right, forward and back) to maintain a functional posture . but these adjustments increase imbalance and mislalignment of the body.

Effects On Behaviour and Mood.

Chronic pain affects our mood, attitude and tolerance levels, affecting our relationships with other people and general well-being.

We don't want to do things that will hurt, so we avoid painful situations.

We don't sleep well, we feel exhausted, we feel bad about ourselves.  It's hard to live with with constant pain, especially when the cause is unknown.

Our mental health deteriorates. Shutting down and withdrawing from life whilst the negative thoughts increase.

The are many different 'coping mechanisms' to block out the pain, to numb us - some more destructive than others.   Whatever yours is, work from your Base-Line and start to feel how to heal yourself.

Sensory information used to judge balance and position of the body is provided by:

  • The vestibular system (balance receptors in ears).
  • The visual system (input from each eye judging 'horizontal' and our position in relation to other objects).
  • The proprioceptive system (feedback from muscles, tendons, joints and skin).

Trauma and pain cause us to alter our posture and movement style. We try protect injured areas and avoid painful positions.  We tense up and place the burden on other areas of the body. We develop bad postural habits.

from micro-adjustments in our posture to avoid a specific postional arc that is painful to no go areas.


Overall Effects

The burden of movement is shifted around and around the body, more and more muscle areas becoming stressed and more and more restrictions in connective tissue developing.

Old injuries and trauma never really go away if the body does not have the ability to reset to Base-Line.

The trauma builds up, resulting in countless layers of tension and restrictions, zig-zagging across the body. Left and right. Front and back. Head to toe to hand.

Symptoms shift around and around. Widespread knock-on effects.

Releasing Restrictions

I've come across various therapies that release physical restrictions - "myofascial release" appears to be the commonest term these days.

I worked though and released the physical restrictions myself. By:

  • Working from my Base-Line muscles.
  • Developing my sense of conscious proprioception.
  • Instinctively moving to release some tension.
  • Regaining a little more freedom of movement each time.
  • Constantly moving.
  • Letting go.
  • Working towards aligning my body. Imaging a ribbon from pelvic floor to back of the head. Full extension, smooth ribbon is alignment.

The releasing of a restriction can be a scary thing at first - a noise, a twinge, something to be avoided right? but are part of the healing process as you regain a little more freedom in your connective tissues.

sounds and sensations

Physical restrictions: I have felt 'releases' - pops, cracks, kruppals all over. I have seen them, I have heard them. Working through the pain and tension. Slowly regaining my natural range of movement, guided by my Base-Line.

The sounds and sensations of releasing restrictions might be scary at first - a noise, a twinge, a shock - but they FEEL RIGHT. Never force anything.

As I released physical restrictions I had mental releases too. A session of movement, using the roll down, working from my Base-Line and moving as felt good. Experiencing the physical releases, then feeling a build up of stress, flashes of trauma - memories and emotions that also needed to be released --> a melt-down, crying, screaming, feeling my face writhe as the tensions worked themselves out. The deep sobbing extending my Base-Line, my body unwinding and some stress being released. (physical restrictions a component of PTSD? 'physical memories'). anger, fear, self-loathing ... Experiencing my issues and then the details were gone, history. A sense of calm afterwards. Learning to let the releases happen then let them go. No longer embarrassed or ashamed of being a mess. Knowing I was making progress..

The mind-body wants to heal and return to a state of balance and alignment. Made possible when the central framework of the main muscles of movement is active.

Healing involves releasing the restricted tissues and regaining a full range of movement - including returning to positioning of trauma. Relive to release, working from Base-Line to alignment.

The right muscles to focus on are the 5 main muscles of movement, balanced around our Base-Line - the body's 'core pillar of strength'.

main muscles of movementBase-Line

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Optimising the use of your muscles = Better health.

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