Now imagine how a side impact car accident could effect the balance of tension in the body. For this thougt experiment let's imagine that the driver of a car is hit hard on the left side of their car. Their spine abruptly bends to the left, perhaps throwing their head into the driver side window (or airbag if it deploys). Then it will whip back the other way. Typically the first motion will set the tone for the change in the bodies balance of tension because it is the point of greatest force delivery, by the time the body whips back much force has already dissipated. This sort of force trauma would likely result in the person's spine overall preferring to go into left sidebending over right sidebending. So their new balance of tension would be found with them in slight left sidebending. This balance of tension would require the muscles along the right side of the spine to be kept at a greater length, which will result in them trying to pull back to their normal length. This new increased resting muscle tone sets the muscle up to become painful. This can be confusing to body work practitioners because they think they should work on the painful muscle, but if we consider the underlying change in the balance of tension in the fascial ligamentous system that gives us a totally different window in on how to resolve the problem. Now, this is a very simple, 2 dimensional explantion. We can imagine of more complex changes could be made through force that produces a combination of motions (flexion/extension, rotation, sidebending, compression, traction) with more complex problems resulting from it (impingement of nerves, arteries, veins, lymphatics, etc)
My job it is find my patient's balance of tension and gently coax their structure to let go of the traumatic holding so that treatment by treatment they move closer and closer to their ideal balance. The great thing about this approach is that as they let go of their shock trauma they do not need to come in an see me as oftens and they do not need to do as much homework (exercise prescription) to stay out of pain.
For my next entry I will discuss the means by an Osteopath can help patient release their shock trauma.