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The Spine

SpineThe spine is a rod like structure with joints all the way along its length. Starting at the base of the skull it runs all the way to your tailbone or coccyx. It plays a supportive role for the skull and body against gravity and protects the nerves which run through the spinal canal and exit at different levels (see diagram).

The spine consists of building blocks (the vertebra) and the cushions in-between (discs). There are a total of 33 vertebra, separated into 7 neck bones (cervical vertebra), 12 mid back bones (thoracic vertebra) and 5 low back bones (lumbar vertebra). There are also 5 sacral vertebra located below the lumbar vertebra which are fused together to form the sacrum. Finally, below this is the coccyx which is made up of 4 small fused bones.

The cervical vertebra are the most mobile of the vertebra. The top one which cradles the skull is called the atlas. The second one, the axis, supports the atlas and allows it to pivot left and right. The entire neck is also able to bend forward, backwards and to each side due to the shape and size of the vertebra.

The thoracic vertebra have the ribs attached to them, which form the ribcage to protect the heart and lungs. As the vertebra have ribs attached, they allow very little movement but ensure the chest area is very strong. The movement they allow is rotation to the left and right.

Spinal_nervesThe lumbar part of the spine contains the 5 large lumbar vertebra. The reason they are so large is to support the weight of the upper body and due to their position they allow forward and backward movement.

The sacrum forms the keystone of the spine and its wedge shape allows a firm fixture between the spine and pelvis. The pelvis is a bowl-shaped ring, which has two main functions: to act as a stable connection between the legs and body, and to protect many important internal organs.

The coccyx has no apparent function in the movement of the body; in fact it is only noticed if it is injured during a fall or childbirth. If injured, it is extremely painful and sitting down is difficult. If the coccyx is out of balance, this may be the root of headaches and other irregularities in the body.

The spine harbours the spinal cord. All the nerves of the body stem from the spinal cord. If there is interference on the spinal cord as it exits the skull, the rest of the body will be compromised. If a vertebra or group of vertebrae are stressed and place pressure on the nerves leaving the spine, then those areas supplied by the nerves would be compromised. In turn, if an injury occurred (eg on the foot), the nerve irritation in the foot would refer up to the spine and in some cases cause tension around the spine. Often, the person would also limp, causing an imbalance to structural alignment, again irritating the spine.

Skeletal Release

Skeletal-Release-ThoracicThe skeletal releases are applied by using mainly the thumb and also the palm in a directed pulsing action (directed high velocity, non force thrust). The Myosteo-practitioner will locate the precise direction in which a structure is holding its defence, then stimulate the structure in accordance to that direction. Whichever structure is concerned (bone, tendon, muscle, etc), the pulsing action stimulates the lines of tension in the associated fascia (connective sheath around all structures), thereby facilitating release of all interconnected structures. This method has proven very effective for the release of skeletal dysfunction in a non force way.

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