The neuro-musculo-skeletal system provides the support structure for the body; the mechanics for movement in order to stand, sit, run, and carry out everyday activities; and the communications network for controlling this system.
The neuro-musculo-skeletal system is made up of the following:
- Bones: The hard, solid bits that make up the human skeleton – more than 200 of them exist in the body
- Joints: The meeting point of two or more bones – usually to facilitate movement
- Muscles: Bundles of fibres that can contract in order to create movement of the bones
- Ligaments: The stringy bits that connect to your bones and keep your joints stable, stopping them from moving about all over the place
- Tendons: Strong, fibrous cords at the end of muscles that attach onto bones or other solid structures in the body
- Soft tissue: The collective name for all the tissues that connect, support, or surround the structures or organs of the body, including the ligaments, tendons, and muscles and also the tissues in between, fat, and nerves – basically all the soft and non-solid bits
- Nerves: Bundles of fibres that carry signals from one part of the body to another, such as the optic nerves that carry signals between the eyes and the brain Damage to any of the above can cause pain and strain and have a knock-on effect on other body systems or internal organs.
Pain signals can build up, leading to increased inflammation and irritation and an accumulation of waste products produced by the body in response to the pain. These occurrences disrupt the normal flow of blood and fluids, which further exacerbate the pain and tension and may cause increased immobility. According to osteopathic theory, this disruption in normal fluid flow and body mechanics impairs the body’s ability to regulate and heal itself. Osteopathy is designed to break this cycle of pain, tension, and inflammation by relaxing the muscles, calming the nerves, easing restriction, and reestablishing normal circulation and function.