The Skeletal System: Our Bones Hold Us Up

the skeletal systemThe human body can be broken down into any number of systems that all work together to make it run. In terms of movement we are going to look at three of these systems; the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the nervous system. If well aligned, these three components team up to create well oiled machine. If not well aligned, well, you get 99% of the population.

The skeletal system consists of somewhere around three hundred bones at birth but by the time we are fully grown many small bones have joined together to create bigger ones so that an adult has 206 bones. The bones are connected to each other through ligaments and the muscles are connected to the bones through tendons. The bones have a number of uses but their main function is to hold us up.

Muscles move us. There are three different kinds of muscle- skeletal, cardiac, and smooth.  All three involve movement. Smooth and cardiac muscle produce involuntary movement of the heart and organs. Skeletal muscles are under our conscious control and they determine how the body moves through space. Skeletal system muscles all work in pairs with the aid of surrounding muscles. To move well these pairs need to be well balanced. To be well balanced the bones need to be properly aligned.

Nerves tell the muscles to move the bones. The nervous system, like muscle, has voluntary and involuntary divisions but in terms of moving through space we are mostly calling about voluntary nerve pathways to execute both simple and complex actions. In terms of good walking pattern, as the body falls forward through space the brain tells the psoas muscle (the body’s main hip flexor, to lift the leg and move it forward. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord with the spinal cord housed in the center of the spine with all of the body’s peripheral nerves emanating from it.

The complex interplay of the skeletal system, the muscular system and the nervous system determines the quality of our movement patterns. While the nerves tell the muscles to move the bones, if the bones aren’t aligned properly and the muscles aren’t correctly balanced the nerves will not pass freely through the spine for efficient function. So the work is to align the bones and balance the muscles so that the nerves are given the clearest pathway to do their thing.

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