Muscling In On Your Back

January 28, 2008

A healthy back relies on three body systems – the skeletal system, the soft tissue system and the nervous system – working together to support your body and make movement possible. Take time to learn about the relationship between the three systems and the role each plays in the health of your back.

Your Skeletal System

The bones and joints of the skeletal system make up the basic support structure of your body. The spine is the primary element of your skeletal system.

Your Nervous System

Your central nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord. The nerves that connect your spinal cord to your muscles, joints and skin are part of the peripheral nervous system. Messages travel to and from the brain and muscles in split seconds.

Your Soft Tissue System

Muscles, ligaments, and tendons are connective tissue that stabilize bones and joints and allow movement. Your muscles contract to move bones and joints and control all your movements. They do not work individually, but in muscle groups. Your ligaments are the connections between bones. They provide strength and allow some movement. Your tendons connect muscles to bones. Your soft tissue system is completely integrated. Any damage to one element can affect the entire system.

What These Tissues Do

The soft tissue system is critical to back health. Without your soft tissues, your skeletal system could not support your body. The deep muscles and ligaments of the back stabilize the spine, influence your posture and maintain your three natural curves. The abdominal and back muscles are especially important in supporting your back. The abdominal muscles act like the stays on a sailboat that help hold the mast upright. In the legs, the thigh and hamstring muscles help balance your torso when your are seated.

Muscle Maintenance

Without strong, flexible muscles, all your other back systems are at risk. That’s why muscle maintenance is so important to your basic back care program that includes exercise, proper posture and good biomechanics. You’ll keep your muscles strong and flexible, and reduce your risk of back strains and sprains.

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