The neck matters
Author: Roeland Vollaard, physiotherapist and initiator of “Class on Wheels” in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
The topic of this ABR blog is the neck: the important connection between our head and the rest of our body. The neck is like a busy highway of blood vessels and nerves, and also a lot of muscles that make sure you can hold up your head and keep yourself oriented.
The function and structure of the neck of our children is limited. Sometimes even very limited. That’s why ABR works on the neck of our children with different techniques, like exercises with ‘the eggs’, exercises for the top shoulders and tapping of the base of skull. The purpose of those exercises is to improve the important connection between the head and the torso.
Last week, I read a scientific article(1) that underlines the importance of this. First, I’d like to discuss the first image of this article(2), which shows the busy traffic in the neck very well. You can see the deeper muscles in the neck (red) that ensure that your neck can turn in all directions. The skin, the connective tissue and the larger neck muscles have been removed or put aside to make this visible. Also visible are the vertebral protrusions through which the blood vessels run safely. (The spinal cord is stored deeper in the cavity of the vertebrae, so not visible)
In the circle, the authors highlighted something special. It is a direct connective tissue connection between the small neck muscles and the membrane around the spinal cord (a). It is recently known that this anatomical connection between the outside of the neck nerve and the small neck muscles exists and what its meaning can be.
On your right side you see another image from the article(2) I’d like to discuss: a cross-section of the neck at the level of the 2nd neck vertebra (C2). You can see the red-colored neck muscles that run between the side and rear protrusions of the neck vertebrae. And the letters MDB are on the connective tissue structure that connects the neck muscles with the membrane around the spinal cord. (MDB = MyoDural Bridge, or the bridge between the muscle and the hard membrane around the nerve)
Interesting… But why?
Until recently we thought that muscles, nerves, blood vessels and whatever structures in our body were “separate” from each other. And therefore, can’t influence each other. ABR has been thinking differently about this for very a long time and that now appears to be supported by scientific insights and images. ABR sees everything in the body as a coherent system and improvements to one structure (connective tissue) have consequences for all sorts of other structures.
After reading this article, it becomes plausible that if you work with ABR on the neck for example, you will improve that “bridge between muscles and nerves”. And therefore also positively influence the function of those muscles and nervers. As the scientific article concludes: “If this coherent system doesn’t function properly, it can have consequences in the changing flow of the brain/nerve fluid, for the nerve function itself, headache from the neck, and other nerve-related complaints.”
Chances are high that there is a lot going on with our children in this area. And if ABR has a positive influence on this, ABR can be very important for them! People with severe headaches that come from stiff neck muscles can confirm that…
“The cervical myodural bridge, a review of literature and clinical implications”, Dennis E. Enix, Frank Scali, Matthew E. Pontell https://www.researchgate.net/publication/261322236_The_cervical_myodural_bridge_a_review_of_literature_and_clinical_implications
Original anatomical artwork by Frank Scali, D.C., and Danny Quirk