The straw that broke the camel’s back — Principles of manual therapy

Each time the body sustains a stress or injury, tension may develop in the musculoskeletal system, connective tissues, neurovascular system and/or organs.

by Tony Liker — 

Many people experience back and/or neck pain. The apparent causes vary widely — sports injuries, automobile accidents, falls, lifting, bending, etc. Yet, each person has his or her own unique history of injury, trauma and stress underlying the apparent cause. Each time the body sustains a stress or injury, tension may develop in the musculoskeletal system, connective tissues, neurovascular system and/or organs.

In order to remain functional in one’s daily life, a body reorganizes and compensates by compressing or shortening the tissues, creating a protective environment around the tension or injury. This protective compensation reduces the body’s flexibility. When flexibility is reduced, the body becomes less adaptable to various situations and, therefore, more vulnerable to further injury and pain.

When a body is significantly compensated, even the simple act of picking up a straw from the floor may throw the back out. As we know, the last straw is only the last straw, and is not the underlying cause of the back problem.

In manual therapy, the therapist uses his or her hands to locate and work with the underlying cause. Like a wine connoisseur who has refined their abilities of taste and smell to the point where they can identify the age of wine and the origin of the fruit simply from its scent, the skilled manual therapist can perceive with their hands the location of tissue tensions in the body’s various systems. The manual therapist, after identifying the tensions, gently facilitates movement, thereby restoring flexibility.

 

Tony Liker is a licensed massage therapist and is nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork. He has studied various manual therapies, including CranioSacral therapy, visceral manipulation, integrative manual therapy and Biovalent Systems manual therapy. Tony has been in private practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 1998. tonyliker1@yahoo.com or 480-449-8497.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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