Soft tissue maintenance and care are essential for health and functional movement. Usually, when we discuss what affects the way our bodies move and stay healthy, we focus on bones and joints. We tend to neglect or oversee the pivotal role our soft tissue provides, with its components including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia.
How is Soft Tissue Crucial to Movement and Keeping Our Bodies Healthy?
Soft tissues help support our body’s structure. Muscles, which can contract and relax, help us:
- maintain good posture,
- stay stable,
- properly align our bones,
- and breathe biologically.
Our muscles work together to keep our joints steady and to stop them from moving too much or getting misaligned. Tendons connect the muscles to bones and allow the force from our muscles to move our bones efficiently through the joints. Fascia is a reinforcement to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding them.
Our ability to move freely and do different physical activities comes from our muscles. Based on our nerve responses, our muscles can contract and create the forces we need to move. Muscles work together to make our movements as smooth, controlled, and powerful as needed during any activity, such as running, lifting weights, cleaning, holding and rocking a baby, or doing complex tasks like multi-tasking or welding.
Soft tissues also help our bodies handle forces. Ligaments connect bones to other bones and give our joints stability. These soft tissues keep our joints from moving too much, acting like passive restraints to stop our joints from extending too far and causing injury. Tendons and fascia also help absorb forces and move them from our muscles to our bones, which allows our joints to stay safe and lets us move efficiently.
We must keep our soft tissues flexible to move well and avoid injuries. When our muscles can stretch and contract properly, our joints can move freely without any problems. At Irvine Spine & Wellness Center, our exercises (DNS, or dynamic neuromuscular stabilization) teach our patients functional movement, improving flexibility. Increased flexibility lowers the risk of muscle imbalances, joint stiffness, and movement limits.
Injury Prevention & Recovery
Preventing injuries and helping with recovery is another significant reason soft tissues are key. Strong and healthy soft tissues are less likely to get injured, and strengthening the muscles around a joint gives us stability and reduces the risk of joint issues.
When we’re recovering from an injury, we must focus on making the soft tissues strong and flexible again to:
- helps us get better,
- prevents us from moving in ways that could hurt us,
- and lowers the chance of future injuries.
Our muscles, tendons, and ligaments will influence how our muscles and nerves work together since they have special sensors called proprioceptors. The proprioceptors help our brain control our movements and adjust ourselves to stay balanced and coordinated. These sensors give our brain feedback about the following:
- Joint position,
- Muscle length,
- Muscle tension,
- Muscle force,
- The speed that the soft tissue is moving with,
- And balance.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia are all at the forefront when it comes to moving and keeping our bodies healthy. The soft tissue supports our skeletal structure, helps us move, absorb forces, ensure flexibility, and prevent injury. Exercising regularly and properly with good form and getting help from professionals when needed are vital to our soft tissues and overall health. Manual therapy, such as the neuromuscular and trigger point manual therapy we provide in our office, is an exceptional tool in caring for our soft tissue.
We set a good foundation for moving well, performing better, and having good musculoskeletal health in the long run when we care for our soft tissues.