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PICSM employee examining patients elbow


Biotensegrity Model of Human Movement

The human body is a dynamic and interconnected unit.  It is organized as a continuous connective tissue system.   A critical constituent of the body's connective tissue is fascia.  Fascia surrounds and penetrates all muscles, thickens at joints to help guide and restrict motion, and serves as part of the soft tissue framework of the body.  As the fascial system is continuous throughout the body, any movement made is transmitted through the whole.  Fascia also provides pretension to the body to allow for efficient movement and conservation of energy.  For example, the act of walking involves a series of coiling and uncoiling facilitated by the fascial system.

Biotensegrity is an extension of the term tensegrity to living things.  Tensegrity is a hybrid of the words "tension" and "integrity."  Structures in nature are organized as a discontinuous system of compression rods, providing integrity, and a continuous system of tension elements.  The human body is arranged in this fashion where bones represent the compression elements and the connective tissues (i.e., muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, among others) compose the tensional elements.  Normally functioning compression elements are not in direct contact, but could be thought of as suspended within a tensional, or connective tissue, matrix.  Viewing the body from this perspective helps one appreciate the body as an integrated system. 

The concept of biotensegrity is helpful in understanding the complexity of injuries and pain and in providing appropriate care.  It is not infrequent that we see individuals with shoulder problems have limited lumbar motion, or an individual develops back pain after spraining an ankle.  Biotensegrity explains how we can see pains remote from the primary injury.   At PICSM we employ high resolution ultrasound (HRUS) as a diagnostic tool to image injured joints, ligaments, and fascia, among other structures.  HRUS allows for a dynamic evaluation of the musculoskeletal and fascial system versus MRI, which is static and does not allow evaluation of fascia with the same accuracy.   Using the concept of biotensegrity along with HRUS, we are able to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your musculoskeletal problems.  Further, HRUS allows us to treat injured musculoskeletal structures, including the fascia, with regenerative procedures with great accuracy.  Our goal is to provide patients with holistic, high quality musculoskeletal care realizing that injuries occur within a complex system and rarely in isolation.


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