Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Connective Tissue: Finding the Beauty in Disconnection

The inspiration for this brief post came quite randomly while searching for connective tissue images online.  I came across this puzzle image with the very profound "finding the beauty in disconnection"  title associated with it...then a small floodgate opened.

One of the most overlooked and under-appreciated tissues in the human organism is connective tissue. When you consider the implications of the connective tissue newtwork, this oversight goes "beyond wrong".  When you actually perform a paradoxical "step back and zoom" into fascia / connective tissue as it relates to both mechanics and systemic function...you can't help but be amazed, startled, or otherwise fascinated.  Although I can go into many different discussions on many different levels, I will focus on 2 very straight-forward, yet fundamental, functional appearances of connective tissue in the human body (as per Van der Waal).  Before I do this, I will share a very insightful image that effectively demonstrates the extent of the connective tissue "web" of influence:

I have already shared this image on the One Giant Leap Facebook page, but it most certainly is worthy of another appearance.  The image is self-explanatory and illustrates how connective tissue is more than important, rather an essential and vital contributor to mechanical and systemic competence.

Finding the Beauty in Disconnection:
The term "connective" tissue generates an obvious and intuitive thought in almost everyone's mind:  it is a specialized and differentiated tissue that connects muscle to bone, bone to bone, and organs to the lining of the internal wall.  The paradoxical reality is that the second architectural appearance of connective tissue has the functional role of disconnection!  To be precise, the intramuscular and extramuscular connective tissue is engineered to allow for proper gliding and sliding between adjacent muscles and muscle bundles (Hyaluronan).  It is also very prevalent in articular cartilage allowing for proper movement and protection against compressive forces. 

When you consider this paradoxical "duality", in addition to the mechanical and systemic contributions illustrated above, the relative "importance" of connective tissue within the living organism becomes quite astounding.  More importantly, when rehabilitative strategies are formulated, connective tissue should be considered as a primary focal point as a means to improvement and restoration of structural and systemic homeostasis.

This perspective goes hand-in-hand with interstitial fluid which will be part of a larger discussion in the very near future...and in combination, they encompass the entire spectrum of rehabilitative success.

Although brief and "reader-friendly", I hope it was educational and insightful!

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