When we think about the body, we need to consider it as a whole… a connected unit. For example, as far as the pelvis is from the neck and the liver from the shoulder, one can still have a profound affect on the other and on our global movement patterns.
I just took a class on releasing the fascia or connective tissue that surrounds our abdominal organs, and it was incredible to see the immense and immediate changes in range of motion that took place in the neck, shoulders, trunk, and hips from releasing restrictions in our abdomen.
If a part of our body is struggling (whether it be from inflammation, repetitive strain, trauma, disease, or infection), the fascia surrounding that area becomes tense and restricted, limiting the ability or changing the pattern of that organ, muscle, tendon, or ligament to move. The body “hugs” into the problem area in order to protect it, and we consequently end up using compensatory movement patterns. With these less than optimal postural compensations, come more tension and restrictions in the soft tissue surrounding and connecting to that area. This can form a tension chain in the body with multiple restricted areas all relating to the same foundational problem and limiting the ability for our tissues and our bodies to move. Without mobility, we lose function… plain and simple.
We are lucky that the body is intelligent with prioritizing which areas to protect. The body may compromise our upper or lower extremity mobility in order to maintain the integrity of our vital organs, which sustain our lives. However, these tension patterns and mobility restrictions over time can further affect surrounding organs, muscles, bones, and ligaments by means of the connective fascia. As you can see, this can easily be a cyclical and progressive pattern that manually needs to be addressed and changed in some way for the body to return to optimal health and wellness.
Leah Vong, OTR/L