Provided that disease or infection can be ruled out, the most likely cause of pain or dysfunction in the body is structural imbalance.
It is evident in the irregularities of posture and alignment that most of us exhibit to varying degrees. Our experience of structural imbalance is through the many kinds of aches, pains, stiffness, numbness, and other uncomfortable symptoms that let us know when our body is not performing as well as it should.
The term ‘structural’ includes all those elements of the body that work together to enable us to carry out the infinite range of movements that we are capable of. It includes the bones and joints as well as the ‘soft tissues’ – the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue.
The soft tissue network
Our body ‘shape’, or posture, is mainly determined by the state of our soft tissues. The soft tissues hold the skeletal framework together, enabling the power of movement. The interconnectedness of the soft tissue network from head to toe is essential to our ability to maintain balance and function well mechanically.
However, over time, habitual ‘lines’ of tension develop within the soft tissues which correspond to the particular way that each of us go about our daily activities. They may also develop as a result of injuries.
Symptoms of pain or dysfunction are usually warning signs that these lines of tension are progressively pulling us out of balance and the body is reaching the limits of what it can do to compensate. Muscles may variously become over-tense, shortened, weak, over stressed or congested with toxins. Intervention in the form of treatment and exercise can help to reverse this process and restore balance within the soft tissues.