As we go on this journey together, I thought we should cover some basics before diving too deep into injuries, conditions, techniques and treatments, and there is no greater place to start than with the musculoskeletal system!
As a myotherapist the musculoskeletal systems plays a large part of what we look at and treat, however, before we do this, we need to know what the musculoskeletal system is and what it is made up of.
The musculoskeletal system is a combination of the muscular and skeletal systems; it is these two systems that work hand in hand to help the body move, provide a structural frame and to protect the inner organs. The aspects that make up the musculoskeletal system include:
The Skeleton: Is made of 206 bones (300 at birth), and it is these bones that are the hard-internal framework of the body. Bones vary in size and shape, however there are five types of bones within the body: – Short bones: wrist and feet (carpals and tarsals) – Irregular bones: back (vertebrae), bottom (sacrum) – Flat bones: Skull (cranium), ribs, shoulder blades (scapulae), chest (sternum) – Long bones: leg bones (Femur, fibula, tibia), arm bones (humerus, radius, ulna), hands and feet (phalanges, metacarpals, metatarsals) – Sesamoid: kneecap (patella)
Muscles, Tendons and Ligaments: The other part of the musculoskeletal system is the muscular system. Muscles are attached to the bones of the skeleton to assist in the movement of the body and they assist in breathing. Muscles also assist in stabilising body positions, storing and moving substances within the body and producing heat (thermogenesis). Each muscle is made up of small bundles of muscle cells that are embedded in fine connective tissue and fascia that contains nerves and blood vessels. It is these nerves and blood vessels that deliver the nutrients, neurological signals and assist in keeping the muscles alive. Tendons and ligaments often get confused with each other however, each are responsible for something different. Tendons are responsible for connecting bones to muscles and therefore connect the muscular system to the skeletal system, whereas ligaments are responsible for connecting one bone to another bone which provides extra connectivity to the skeleton.