Structural Bodywork in Newquay- The Superficial Back Line
Basic Anatomy of the Superficial Back Line
The SBL is the second of the meridians we will look at in this blog series dedicated to Structural Bodywork in Newquay and the Myofsacial (combination of muscle and fascia) Meridians. It is the balancing meridian to the earlier discussed Superficial Front Line (See Blog 1)
Like the SFL the SBL is also made up of two pieces: toes to knees and knees to head. Also like the SFL it acts functionally as one continuous myofascial continuity when the knees are extended. The SBL runs from the bottom of the toes around the heel and up the back of the body across the skull all the way to the frontal ridge at the eyebrows. Muscles and fascia associated with this meridian include the plantar tissues covering the sole of the foot; the calf muscles otherwise known as the triceps surae; the hamstrings at the back of the thigh; the sacrotuberous ligament which is a major ligament in the pelvis; the erector spinae which are a group of muscles on either side of the length of the spine; and the epicranial or scalp fascia.
Postural Function of the Superficial Back Line
The overall postural function of the SBL is to assist in keeping the body in an upright position, maintaining an extension of the spine and preventing a curling forwards into a flexed, foetal like position. This is a heavy demand for all day postural support and thus requires that the muscular portion of the SBL consists of more slow twitch muscle fibres.These are designed to operate for longer periods with less force. This heavy postural demand also requires support from larger sheets of thicker fascia than the countering SFL. Thus the fascial portion of this meridian includes strong structures such as the Achilles tendon and the sacrotuberous ligament. The SBL also assists in maintaining postural alignment of the knee joint.
Movement Function of The SBL
From an applied functional perspective the SBL works to create extension at the hips and spine as well as flexion at the knee and ankle joints. The muscles of the SBL also play an essential role in the first developmental stages of standing. They work to lift first a baby’s eyes from primary embryological flexion and then the head as progressive engagement through to standing occurs by the first year after birth.
Why Does It Matter?
The most important consideration for any of the myofascial meridians is that tension (good and bad) as well as trauma and movement are transmitted along these fascial lines. In the case of malfunction within the SBL this can lead to excessive backward movement or extension. Common postural pattern imbalances associated with SBL include knee hyperextension. This is an excessive extension of the knees which is also related to compensation patterns within the SFL. This misalignment can wreak havoc on the knee joint creating irregularities in force distribution within the joint and potentially leading to repetitive injury when left unchecked.
Another common disruption associated with both the SBL and the SFL is an excessive lordosis caused by an anterior tilt of the pelvis. This is often seen as an abnormal sway in the lower back and can create compression of the lower spine resulting in lower back pain.
Many foot, calf and hamstring issue are also associated with restrictions with the SBL: plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, reoccurring hamstring strains are all potentially related to shortening within this fascial line.
What Can Be Done… Structural Bodywork and Yoga
Structural bodywork is an extremely useful tool to begin lengthening a short SBL. Deep myofascial release techniques applied to the plantar (sole) aspect of the feet; separation of the fascia in the compartment of the calf and creation of space between the hamstrings can be a major relief. Work on the erector spinae and lumbosacral fascia of the spine can decrease compression and relieve chronic back pain tremendously.
This, combined with reeducation of the tissue using yoga postures, can help to create lasting change to the structure and function of the body. Just one simple yoga pose such as Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) correctly used can help to lengthen the entire SBL. A more advanced full SBL stretch Halasana (Plow Pose) can take time and practice to achieve. The benefits of this pose to the SBL can be immeasurable.
As there are many considerations when beginning a yoga practice, particularly if a pain pattern exists, it is recommended to find a class that is within your body’s limits. Alignment is also always paramount when beginning a practice especially for those dealing with pain.
Here at Ananda Movement Bliss in Newquay I offer structural bodywork to assist in the safe opening of your fascia. A variety of yoga classes to suit all abilities is also a key focus. As is safe, alignment based practice that is designed to assist in the gentle correction of postural imbalance.