Sunday, January 20, 2013



I have noticed on Facebook a lot of comments and discussion about the properties of a specific muscle. I know we study individual muscles in school.  I even have individual muscle content in my textbooks. But—I know that in the real world there is no such thing as an individual muscle. Each skeletal muscle is an individual organ made of hundreds or thousands of muscle fibers (or cells), large amounts of connective tissue and nerve fibers, and many blood vessels. –the muscle organ!

Most daily activities require the coordination of complex neuromuscular interactions. Myotatic units are functional muscle groups. They are interconnected with fascia and networked neurologically so that movement occurs smoothly, sequentially, and in a coordinated manner. Only rarely does any muscle act independently.  All functional movement patterns involve acceleration provided by concentric muscle action, stabilization provided by isometric muscle action, and deceleration provided by eccentric action. Every so called “muscle” can perform all the actions but not at the same time. The function of the muscle organ shift just like how we can be a parent, massage therapist and spouse

Most muscles play a part in a movement pattern, just as actors do in a play. Roles can change, depending on the response required. A muscle can be the star, or prime mover, and in the next instant become one of the supporting cast.  A moment later the same muscle can assume the opposite role. Remember, three types of muscle actions exist: concentric, in which the muscle shortens producing movement (acceleration) and the joint angle decreases; eccentric, in which the muscles maintains a controlled lengthening (deceleration) response as the joint angle increases; and isometric, in which the muscles shortens but produces no movement. The terms mover (agonist), prime mover, antagonist, fixator (stabilizer), neutralizer, support, and synergist describe the function of muscles in a complete movement pattern.  .The nervous system accomplishes the fine control of muscle organ interaction over a wide range of lengths, tensions, speeds, and loads.

The mover/antagonist interaction is easy to visualize in muscle pairs such as the biceps brachii, which flexes the elbow joint, and triceps brachii, which extends the elbow joint. However, the interaction becomes more complex when we consider that the deltoid and quadriceps femoris and the adductors and hamstrings form a functional unit because of our gait, or walking pattern. The various functional units that require muscles to cooperate in producing body wide movements (e.g., walking, maintaining balance) need sophisticated reflex control by the nervous system.. Muscle units also must react proprioceptively to gravity, momentum, external forces, and forces created by other functioning muscles units.

The body functions as a linked system of interdependent segments involving the entire neuromuscular, connective tissue, articular system which is linked each segment to the next. The parts of the body act as a system of chain links so that the energy or force generated by one part of the body can be transferred successively to the next link. The optimum coordination (timing) of these body segments and their movements will allow for the efficient transfer of energy and power up through the body, moving from one body segment to the next. Each movement in the sequence builds upon the previous motion.. Connective tissue binding, joint injury, or degeneration or neurological and balance problems are causes of dysfunction. Regardless of where the problem begins, eventually the entire chain is affected.


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