More Pressure

If you are reading this post please be sure that you read its predecessor, Pressure. Reading the previous article will provide you with the basic buy-in to understand where I am going and where I am coming from with the rest of this post. Now that I have that out of the way let me start saying something worth reading (!).

I have established that we are all subject to pressure from the atmosphere and that we are built to work within a fairly narrow range of pressure (hence the alteration of physiological function at altitude when the atmospheric pressure begins to drop outside of the “normal” range). Within the appropriate range of atmospheric pressure we are able to provide the proper amount of pressure from inside of the body to make sure that we neither implode or explode. As the pressure of the air drops we expand more as there is less external pressure and our internal pressure begins pushing our tissues further from the mid-line while dropping our internal pressure meaning fluid stops moving the same way as it would closer to sea level. To rephrase that – less pressure outside means we take up more space to compensate and all of the fluids in the body move differently as they are now outside of ideal ranges. The inverse happens if we are under water – the deeper we go the higher the cumulative pressure of the water above us is. When the external pressure goes above a given level our internal pressure is not strong enough to resist it and we begin to get crushed which also alters fluid dynamics in the body. Now there should a general understanding of why we require suits and oxygen to go either too high or too low so that our bodies do not implode or explode (diving, flying, climbing, or going in to space…all things humans are incapable of without technology).

Let me start tying this back in to human health. All tissues in the body are subject to varying levels of compression and tension. The body is a dynamic unit of function and these compression/tension relationships continuously change through movement. Movement is essential to human life as it provides alternating compression and tension to create movement of all of the vital fluids in the body (blood, lymph, and gases). The blood organs are all connected directly to the diaphragm (the heart, the liver, and the spleen). Oddly enough the area in the body where all movement meets is DIRECTLY connected to the diaphragm – this is the 11th thoracic vertebrae to the 1st lumbar vertebrae (also known as the thoraco-lumbar or dorsal-lumbar junction). This is the area where force passes from the left hip to the right shoulder (or the right hip to the left shoulder) in a nice diagonal line. This area distinctly shows that it is built for rotation as the ribs that attach to it do not attach anteriorly (they show possibility for more independent movement) and the direction of movement between the upper and lower body changes here (look at the anatomy). This collection of force that passes diagonally across the body will apply alternating compression and tension to all of the vasculature in the body and also help alter pressure gradients through the blood organs to move blood through the body. Without proper force transfer through the thoraco-lumbar junction there will be altered flow of fluid meaning that there will be altered supply and drainage to all tissues. Altered supply and drainage means that tissues will start to show histological changes (they will either get too much supply or too little drainage and they will change).

Let me clear up my point a little bit. The heart is a pump, nothing more. The diaphragm is a pump. The liver and spleen are responsible for cleaning the blood and their circulation is tied together as well as governing the passive (venous) circulation of the body below the diaphragm. The arteries are pumps as they are primarily smooth muscle (they need to be as the heart can not create enough pressure to move blood through the whole body or else it would explode out of your chest). Lots of pumps in the body! The heart sits on top of the diaphragm while the spleen and liver hang from the diaphragm. The legs of the diaphragm connect to the 1st and 2nd lumbar vertebrae on the left as well as the 1st to 3rd vertebrae on the right. We have all of the important blood organs connected directly to the thoraco-lumbar junction where all locomotive force in the body collects to increase the pumping action of all of them. Without this mechanism fluid can not move effectively through the human body. I almost forgot the cisterna chyli (the most important point in lymphatic circulation) sits directly between the legs of the diaphragm (more passive circulation that requires pumping).

Long winded again! If there is an alteration in the super-structure of the body (the spine) there will be dysfunctional movement throughout the whole thing and the beautiful collection of pumps at the thoraco-lumbar junction will not work properly. When the pumps are dysfunctional pathology will begin to show itself through altered supply and drainage to all tissues if left unchecked for too long. Now it should be clear to a thinking person that our ability to compensate for gravity and altered compression/tension relationships in ANY tissue ANYWHERE in the body will start a loop that will affect fluid flow. Again, I present my case for the cure to any disease or dysfunction requiring the consideration of gravity.

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One thought on “More Pressure

  1. Pingback: The Problem With Pressure | Classical Osteopathy in Ontario

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