Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation
This MRI shows the bottom of the femur bone positioned in front of the top of the shin bone, a position that is the result of fight or flight motor reflexes.
Many times injuries occur due to poor biomechanics. Achilles tendon biomechanics are discussed several times on this site, and I will return to that example again to discuss injury. In fight or flight, the Achilles tendon shortens and thickens as a protective mechanism. If this becomes the dominant motor pattern, then we are performing most of our movements with a chronically over-shortened tendon, which is challenging for the tendon and can lead to tears.
Many other tissue tears, such as rotator cuff or ACL tears, also have to do with the length of the tissue being challenged due to fight or flight structural changes. In fight or flight, the relationship between the end of bottom of the femur and the top of the tibia changes, which overstretches the ACL and compresses the meniscus, leading to tears or degradation of this tissue. Also in fight or flight, the shoulder girdle becomes less mobile, which results in overstretching of the rotator cuff as the arm continues to move without coordination or mobility of the shoulder girdle.
The ACL has attachment points on the shin and femur bones. Changing the optimal position of these bones by activating fight or flight motor reflexes can challenge the length of tendons in the joint and can cause tears.
When rehabilitating an injury, it is extremely important to address motor patterns. If the injury is due to motor patterns that are creating non-optimal biomechanics, it is essential to create more open, healthy, structurally sound motor patterns so that the injured area can recover.
Creating biomechanically sound motor patterns is also an excellent way to prevent injury. If the body can move without stressing connective tissues, with healthy space in the joints, and without compressing nerves, blood vessels, or other systems, then potential for injury decreases dramatically.
Internal pressure creates shape and protection by giving us the ability to respond to the pressures that the external world exerts on us.
Internal pressure, also discussed in the posture section is important for injury prevention. Internal pressure allows the body to hold its shape against external pressure, such as the body might experience in a fall. Lack of internal pressure allows for more change in form when external pressure is applied, much like these hot air balloons changing shape when they come into contact with the ground. This changeability decreases the amount of protection available for the skin layer or internal components of the body. By contrast, the fully-inflated balloon would not change shape so easily thus providing extra cushioning for internal components, as well as the external shell that comes in contact with the ground or other object.
The presence of internal pressure is related to nervous system state and functioning of the valve system. These would also be addressed in the motor repatterning process.
These hot air balloons with less internal pressure can change shape easily against the ground, which provides less protection for the surface and anything inside.