Today we are going to discuss anatomy from a biophysiology standpoint, so bear with me here as this blog will become very relevant to you as we tie everything together at the end.
The newest buzzword in manual therapy is fascia, but fascia is only one of several substances forming the most abundant of human tissues – CONNECTIVE TISSUE. Connective tissue includes fascia, bone, tendon, ligament capsule, adipose tissue (fat), blood and lymphatic tissue, cartilage, and even 80% of nerves.
These tissues are all made up of the same 3 components – CELLS, FIBERS, & GROUND SUBSTANCE – but the composition of these components determines the type and physical properties of the connective tissue. The composition change is very gradual meaning that there is continuous flow from one tissue to the next. In fact, if you were to look at the attachment from a tendon to a bone under a microscope, you would not be able to give a specific point to where one ends and the other begins.
Wondering what this means to you? It means that all tissues are interconnected and that all force transmissions or load inputs will be ‘felt’ by all cells/tissues to some extent. Therefore, for instance, if you are trying to strengthen the inside of your knee, you should be working the entire inside of your leg to accomplish this goal.
This also means that all connective tissues will have similar responses to the training you are doing. Training should be thought of as COMMUNICATION with the cells and tissues, with the language of the cells being Force/Load. The tissues then follow the Principle of Progressive Adaptation – where incremental loads imparted on a tissue will result in adaptations of that tissue such that the load absorption capacity improves. These adaptations can include the addition of new tissue and/or tissue of better/stronger quality.
Now this means a lot to us as practitioners, as well as to you as a patient or athlete, where injury and training fall on the same continuum.
Assessment → Treatment → Rehab → Mobility → Training
These stages all blend together and to truly decrease your risk of injury you need to make sure your connective tissues are functioning as optimally as possible.
Dr. Colin Leis, B.Sc. (KIN), DC
ART, FR, FRCms
Dr. Colin is a regular contributor to the RunWaterloo blog.