I. – The origin of mechanical tension.
When a person receives a physical shock, at the moment of a fall or an accident a muscle, bone, or ligament injury takes place, and the person will unconsciously adopt a posture to compensate in order to reduce pain. This new posture will generate new tensions.
For example, when a person has the cruciate ligaments broken in the knee, or a foot fracture, this person will transfer weight to the other leg. The part of the body that received the trauma, having suffered a tissue disorganization or from not being used correctly will create in an area of restricted mobility, this area is known as the area of “primary” tension.
This primary tension will have a domino effect upon other parts of the body that were not affected, possibly altering its function with the appearance of pain or inflammation with the passage of time. Thus a person with a knee problem will disrupt the balance between the right and left of the body and will unconsciously make the back work in an unbalanced manner creating pain up to the neck level.
This is what also happens with scarring given that the skin at this point loses its elasticity. Since the skin and the fascia that cover the entire body have been cut, they draw in the adjacent tissue creating an imbalance which can cause alterations (pain and inflammation) in other areas of the body.
II. –The importance of the nervous tension.
At the moment of any traumatism (impacts, car accidents, falls, surgery and fractures) the nervous systems receives the information that damage has been caused in the tissue and starts protecting it.
Until this stored information in the nervous system has not been liberated by a therapist, even if the original pain has disappeared, the patient will continue protecting this area unconsciously, altering posture, and preventing a complete recovery.
The osteopath will locate the “primary tension” areas that were the cause of the tissue and nervous disorganization, so that these areas can be relaxed allowing the compensations in both systems to undo themselves. This is why a visit to an osteopath is highly recommended shortly after a trauma to avoid making the compensations in both systems (fractures have to be seen after 60 days or when the plaster cast is been removed).