Sunday, September 23, 2018

Structure Governs Function

By Darryl Gomes, Certified Athletic Therapist, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner (pending)
One of the many questions that people ask regarding osteopathic treatment is about what it is and what can it do for a person. Osteopathy is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that focuses on treating the primary restriction(s) in the entire body that may be contributing to an individual's main source of pain and/or problems. This whole body approach can help the body to regulate itself better and manage overall health better.

        Osteopathic Tenets

There are 4 tenets that osteopathic medicine follows:
  1. Structure Governs Function
  2. The Rule of the Artery is Absolute
  3. Autoregulation
  4. The Body is a Functional Unit

Structure Governs Function

Structure Governs Function means that the way something is positioned can affect the way it works:
  • Your spine is comprised of a series of vertebrae that act as the support column for your body 
  • Muscles, tendons and ligaments are supported from the spine and are important in maintaining spinal stability 
  • Vertebrae that aren't properly positioned can create postural problems, so muscles that attach to these vertebrae can get tight and pull the spine out of alignment creating a crooked spine 
  • Over time, one can develop poor head posture due to the kinked spine, which can lead to limited neck movements, constant neck pain & headaches 
          These misalignments can lead to bigger problems. For example:
  • Nerves that exit the misaligned vertebrae can become pinched/stretched/shortened, and can impede the function of the muscles or organs that are innervated by them 
  • Therefore, someone can suffer from stomach related digestive problems if the nerves from the related vertebrae are not able to send the signals to the stomach required for proper digestion 
  • So, this is why something like a sprained ankle can lead to digestive issues: the sprained ankle can create changes in the alignment of the leg, which can affect the levels of the pelvis, which can affect spinal alignment & nerve innervation to the digestive system 
If something is misaligned in your body, it has the ability to affect the function of another part of the body.

        How Do Osteopathic Treatments Help 

My osteopathic approach allows me to get to the root of the person's problem(s) and get them better by:
  • Treating the soft tissue (ligaments/fascia) that is holding the vertebrae/viscera in their improper position(s)
  • Ensuring that vertebrae and the pelvis are properly aligned  
  • Reinforcing the proper mobility of the viscera
  • Integrating these changes with the body so that the body is capable of accepting these changes
The structure of the body has an affect on the body's ability to function. The next blog will focus on the "rule of the artery is absolute".

Health and happiness to you