header-base-line-healing-Leigh-Blyth

Base-Line Healing

Base-Line-theory-of-human-health-and-movement-feel-better-navigation

A New Perspective on Modern Health

Base-Line theory of Human Health and Movement provides a new perspective on human physical health and our mental well-being.

It offers an explanation and potential treatment for chronic pain and related syndromes that are currently classified as idiopathic, as well as the anatomical markers for true body alignment and the key to healing.

the main muscles of movement

There are many idiopathic (of unknown cause) symptoms and syndromes associated with chronic pain.  No known cause means no effective treatment.  No relief for those who suffer.  Until now.

My recovery has shown me that the main muscles of movement and our innate sense of conscious proprioception are fundamental to our well-being (both physical and mental), but few people (in my experience) use them to their full potential.

I believe that only when the main muscles of movement are being used correctly can their dysfunction be ruled out as the cause of these otherwise mysterious, painful symptoms experienced by so many.

What happens if I don't use my Main Muscles of Movement correctly?

Adaptations and Effects of the Body.

Base-Line Theory of human Health and movement.

Below are some of my thoughts I'd to share about our bodies, current approaches to modern health care and pain-related symptoms, health and our mental well-being.

Please contact me via email if you would like to discuss any of these points.

the body whole bones and jointsmuscles connective tissue nervous system micro macroother thoughts

Movement and The Body Whole.

The body whole is a complex system, only some of which we understand.   We are one unit of countless parts that interact and exert influence over each other.   All the solid bits, soft bits, fluids, molecules, ions ....

As we move, the many components of our musculo-fascial-skeletal system (bones, muscles, a range of connective tissues) work together and all need to be unrestricted for us to enjoy a full range of natural movement.

Optimal functioning is when you can fully engage your main muscles of movement.   The head, arms and legs can all be moved independently through their full range of motion in a smooth and controlled manner with the central support provided by the Base-Line muscles. The body is balanced, free of restrictions and tension.

I had no idea movement could feel so easy yet powerful. It took a lot of time and work to get there but enjoying a full range of pain-free motion feels amazing.

Our interconnectedness means we should not look at our list of 'problem' areas in isolation.

Put a pebble in your shoe and your foot will be sore. Leave it there and your knee will start to hurt. And then your hip, then your back. A chain of pain spreading through your body as it becomes more and more unbalanced to avoid the previous pains.

Bones and Joints:

Is there too much focus on skeletal structures when diagnosing painful movement?

skeleton in sitting position admiring the text

Historically, the skeletal system has been considered the basis of the body.  Bones remain, long after we are gone.

Radiographs provide clear images of bone in living patients.  It has become habitual to focus on bones and joints because we can see them on an X-ray and 'diagnose' a problem.   Muscles and connective tissue are not so easily imaged and consequentially, not so considered.

Changes to the surface of a bone (roughening, remodelling, osteophyte spurs etc.) provide a visual abnormality for doctor and patient to focus on. But WHY have they occurred?  Bone is a comparatively inert body tissue (bone marrow is active) and these changes take time to develop.  Although they may become clinically significant, bony changes are a symptom of a problem, not the primary cause of pain.

♢ "Traction spur" osteophytes occur where muscles attach to bone. They indicate a long-term problem where a muscle (via its ligament) is pulling on its periosteal attachment causing the periosteum to react.

♢ Osteochondrophytes occur at the cartilage-bone junction, in response cartilage damage. This can be due to acute trauma, but more commonly is "wear and tear" (degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis). Also due to long-term poor muscle usage?

Bone pathology found on imaging should not be used to 'explain the pain' without supporting evidence.   There is little correlation between pain levels and findings on imaging the spine (excluding acute trauma and nerve impingement).   Severe changes can be seen (herniated/ruptured discs, vertebral remodelling) without functional significance or pain. references

After rock bottom it was nice a relief to hear my MRI showed severe changes to my lumbar spine.  I was still shaken and scared by the level of pain and helplessness I had experienced, and the MRI was evidence of something physically wrong. The years of pain were not just in my head, that somehow I'd been making it all up.  Then I had a proper look at my MRI.  The damage was old, I'd been living with it for years.  I believe the disc and vertebral damage were caused by the chronic, mis-directed stresses because my main muscles of movement were not providing adequate support or shock-absorption.

Non-specific Descriptions of the Location of Pain.

We tend to use our joints as reference when talking about pain, umbrella terms covering a section of body. "Oh, it's my knee." or "It's my shoulder."

Where is the pain? - The joint itself, or the surrounding connective tissue and muscles?

Is the pain always in the same place?   Or does the exact location shift around, even if it's still your 'knee', or your 'shoulder'?

Get to know your pain.

With "back-pain" our attention is drawn to the spinal column because:

  1. Fear of the consequences of spinal cord damage.
  2. Imaging often provides something to look at.

Our vertebrae (bones of the spine) are there to protect our spinal cord. They are NOT a stack of blocks that keep us upright.

I've seen back pain attributed to the “rapid” evolution of humans - the theory that our ability to walk on two legs developed too fast and our body didn't adapt itself to bipedal movement.  A face-palm thought now that I understand the importance of our main muscles of movement.

Bones are the solid connection points for the real workers - our muscles.

Muscles:

Posture and Core Muscles.

"Use your core muscles" is oft-repeated advice, but what does it really mean?

There are many definitions for core muscles and it would not be helpful to add to this over-used term, but think of your Base-Line (long and strong) at the core of all movement!

Posture: "How you are holding yourself". The position of your body.

A good posture is when you are using the main muscles of movement.   A bad posture is when you're not using your muscles correctly.

Many Different Muscles.

The human muscular system is complex. Showing the first and second layers of muscles front and back view.

There are hundreds of muscles in the human body, forming an integrated system with the potential for a wide range of movement and poses. (e.g. yoga asanas or the movements of tai chi.)

All our muscles should be free to move through their full range of movement, from the larger muscles that provide strength and shock absorption, to the 'fine adjuster' muscles that move our eyes, facial muscles, fingers, toes etc.

Working Muscles.

It is not "all or nothing" when a muscle works.   It takes conscious effort and practice to fully engage the whole of a muscle.

There are hundreds of thousands (no exact figures available) of myocytes (muscle cells), also known as muscle fibres, in a muscle.   Some fibres may be active whilst others are resting - or spasming, with each muscle consisting of many overlapping areas of potential activity.

different areas of a muscle might be working at different times- illustration with several sections of the muscles of the body highlighted in different colours. individual muscle cells cross section of skeletal muscle

'Wrong' areas of muscles may be activated when the body is active, which has increasingly negative effects on the muscular system.

Muscle nomenclature.

Muscle nomenclature has evolved over 100's of years, but the names given are not necessarily a representation of a muscle's significance and function.  For instance, the trapezius muscles so named because of their shape, but labelling the lower part of the trapezius the 'inferior trapezius' may be spatially correct, but it is easily interpreted as 'less important' by the modern reader.   Up until now the importance of using the lower trapezius has not been stressed, but movement of the head and arms should begin from the inferior (lower) trapezius (extending from the central Base-Line support).

Muscles are traditionally described as having an 'origin' (where the end closer to the body's midline attaches) and an 'insertion' (where the end further from midline attaches).   This can be helpful but should not imply that a muscle has a start and a finish in some sort of a one-way system.   Therefore I am using the term 'attachments'.   Exactly how each muscle 'blends' with the surrounding structures at their attachments is much more complex than a tendon sticking to a bone!

Anatomical Variations Between Individuals.

Anatomical variations in many muscles have been noted.   E.g. The number of tendonous intersections of the rectus abdominis muscles and the attachment points of the rectus femoris to the pelvis can differ between individuals.

The pyramidalis muscle, closely associated with the pubic symphysis and rectus abdominis, is variably present.

Could any of these anatomical differences be clinically significant? Maybe, maybe not.

The skeleto-musculo-fascial system contains a lot of anatomy (thousands of bits) but rather than thinking of the indivual bones and muscles, tendons and ligaments, as separeate entities, think of them as parts of a whole, blended together in a web of connective tissue which needs to be smoothed out from Base-Line out.

Connective Tissues and Collagen Fibres:

The many different classes of connective tissue that form a continuous network running through the whole of the body.

aponeurosis of the abdominal muscles, a sheet so thin it's almost transparent, but very tough as it's pulled.

From grossly visible ligaments, tendons, aponeuroses and fascia (a bit of a vague term in my opinion), to the microscopic layers that surround individual cells in our muscles and other organs.

For example, each and every muscle fibre (myocyte) is surrounded by connective tissue called endomysium, bundles of muscles fibres are contained within more connective tissue known as perimysium, and each muscle whole is surrounded by more connective tissue called epimysium.

No part of the body is in complete isolation.

Our web of connective tissue extends everywhere.

muscle tissue pulled apart showing the strands of connective tissue that are throughout it.

Anyone regularly handling body tissues (surgeons, butchers etc.) will have encountered the various forms of connective tissue, from the very thin but tough sheets aponeurosises, to 'fluffy' areolar subcutaneous tissues.

Connective tissue is so ubiquitous it's usually overlooked - it's something to cut through to get to muscles and organs.   Scar tissue, post-surgical adhesions, fibrosis - "the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue in an organ or tissue in a reparative or reactive process".   All are formed when connective tissue reacts.

Adaptations of connective tissue is an important factor that results in tensions and restrictions on the body.

Collagen fibres (a group of protein molecules) are the fundamental component of our connective tissue.   There are many types of collagen in various guises.   Collagen is also one of the major proteins in our extracellular matrix. (fibrosis significance? tbc....)

Sensory Information and the Nervous System.

Your Brain and Pain:

The nervous system still holds mysteries, and is easily blamed for the otherwise unexplained sensations we experience.

What we do know is that sensory receptors all over the body send information to the brain via the nervous system.   Our brain processes this information to provide an interpretation of what is going on.

When the brain interprets the signals as something "bad and to be avoided" we call it pain.   The pain-label is applied in our mind which is is the basis of 'pain is in the brain'.

But the signals are from the body - messages saying something is not right somewhere.

Problems can occur in our 'information messaging' nervous system:

Sensory feedback can be misinterpreted - 'lost in translation' as the brain takes its best guess about what the signal means.   e.g. Heart attack signals are often described as an arm pain or indigestion - the conscious brain says "this is where the pain is coming from", but it is wrong.

There is the potential for 'crossed wires' as a signal travels through the nerve network to the brain.   The original source of the signal may be lost along route as smaller nerves feed into larger nerves that then join the spinal cord 'highway' to the brain.   The message itself may be altered as it passes from nerve cell to nerve cell (the basis of pain amplification theories).

The brain has many resources to base its interpretation on - all its stored 'knowledge' from previous experience, exposure, learning and innate factors ... (an eclectic library) as well as the sensory information coming from whole body (a whole lot of mail constantly being delivered), and who knows what else!

How we respond to 'pain-labelled signals' occurs on the conscious and subconscious level.   Various pain avoidance responses - our habits, conditioned responses, reflexes... An injury and pain initiates a pain avoidance response.   Adjustments are made throughout the body to maintain a functional posture whilst avoiding the position that caused us pain.

I believe the sensory feedback concerning the state of our "connective tissue web" is intimately associated with our innate sense of consious proprioception, and a lot of currently unexplained pain.

Connecting with your Base-Line will allow to read your body's signals better.   know your pain

Trying to find a micro-cause for idiopathic pain conditions:

Modern research tends to focus on breaking things down into smaller and smaller parts.   We have gained a lot of knowledge (and confidence) by taking this approach.

A good understanding of cellular function and the chemistry of our bodies has allowed the development of effective treatments for many conditions.

The ability to find small differences in our DNA (several billion bits in a chain) is an amazing feat, continually advancing our understanding of genetic conditions.

We continue to look deeper and deeper into the complex micro-levels (the physics of biology and chemistry) of the body.   However, looking for subtle biochemical changes or nerve dysfunctions to explain conditions such as fibromyalgia and other (currently classified as) idiopathic pain syndromes will not be successful in my opinion.

My recovery has shown me they are a macro-dysfunction, due to poor usage of our main muscles of movement and the resulting adaptations and effects on the body.

Macro-dysfunctions and Holistic Thinking:

How many modern-day health issues are macro-dysfunctions - affecting the whole of us, both physical and mental?

We are one unit of many interconnected parts, so examining and treating the whole seems a sensible plan, but holistic approaches are often considered 'new-age' (even though they usually outdate modern medicine) or dismissed as 'a bit hippy'.

The basic concepts in many holistic approaches seem to get lost.   Either by people trying to categorise, memorise and explain, or others caught up in the mysticism and hype. (And far too many people trying to make money from those that are looking for something to make them feel better.).

There is a lack of empirical data (scientific 'proof') for many of the concepts and so I do understand the scepticism, but the design of many clinical trials to look at such things are very flawed in my opinion.

Two patients may have similar clinical signs but the holistic 'root diagnosis', and therefore the treatment necessary, may be very different.   Modern approaches tend to look at isolated specifics rather than the whole but comparing 'like to like' is a matter of perspective, and conclusions drawn when testing treatments for a specific diagnosis miss the point of a more holistic approach.

Balance, alignment, the mind-body connection. 'Qi', 'chakras', 'energy vortexes'. I get them. I've felt them.   I believe they are all descriptions of the sense of conscious proprioception, feeling the positioning and flow of your body with your Base-Line at the core.   Understanding comes with the experiencing of the potential of the body.

Modern Life Weakens Us:

What we do with our bodies matters to our health.   Physical and mental.

For most people in 'developed' countries, survival is not reliant on physical activity.   Many of the things that would have kept us in good physical condition are lost habits.   Whether it be crouching in a social circle, traditional dancing, squatting to use a toilet or the essential tasks of daily life.

We don't use the full range of our physical abilities enough to maintain them, and for the most part have no idea what we're missing.

I like to think of my ancestors dancing around the fire after a good bowl of mushroom soup and some fermented apple juice.

Healthy food, physical activity, community and a sense of achievement - things that make us feel better.

I've noted:

Very few people utilise their main muscles of movement and enjoy a full range of movement.

People are generally happier when they have a 'diagnosis' for their idiopathic symptoms.   Fancy words that are something to hang on to, but don't explain anything.   Many believe the next recommended treatment could be the magic tablets to finally fix them.

Some medical practitioners come with a "Don’t question me" attitude.   Arrogance? Bluff? Conviction in what they've been taught? Or a fear of being found to lack real answers?

It can be hard to let go of ideas presented as fact.   What we're taught, what we're told.   What we've read on the internet!   Look deeper, question everything.

Say something in a confident voice and people will believe it, especially if it sounds technical!   I've always struggled with that degree of certainty.  Very little is absolute in my opinion, but I am confident in my Base-Line theory!

Research and Referencing:

To reference: to use a source of information in order to ascertain something.

I was trained to reference.   I do a lot of research using many different sources, always with the motto: "question everything" in mind.   I have included a few links to informative sites, but many of my sources contain information of variable quality (as judged by me) so don't want to include them without critique and would be too time-consuming to do.

Evaluate information and the quality of the source of that information.  Think for yourself, do your own research and learn from your experiences.

To use a citation: to quote from or reference to a book, paper, or author.

The all too common usage of one-line citations is not good scientific practice in my opinion. Authors picking out lines that suit what they want to say, but without context or caveats - the "regurgitation without rumination" trap.   I have come across various scientific papers that I could cite to back-up my Base-Line Theory but it would still be bad practice.   An interesting article from painscience.com about citations.

I believe in the power of my Base-Line so much I created this website (and learned how to code in order to do it!) but still, don't just take my word for it!

My Base-Line Theory of human health and movement is a new perspective that I am confident will be validated in time as people focus on their main muscles of movement and feel for themselves what I mean.

I do have ideas for clinical research into the main muscles of movement, but ultimately this is something to be experienced rather than quantified. Please contact me if you would like to discuss Base-Line Theory or anything on this site.

If you only take one thing from this website, let it be:

QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Check out these pages for the information you need to start healing:

My credentials for comment include:

▹A life-time of chronic pain and nearly 2 decades of depression that I have now self-cured. I feel better than I ever have done before.

 CURED! The pain has gone. The depression a hazy memory.

▹My education and experience as a veterinary surgeon.

 Medical and surgical training. I've handled a lot of connective tissue 'in the flesh'.

▹My life-long fascination with all things biological and medical.

 A lot of information and concepts floating around in my head.

▹Wide research into the varied symptoms I have suffered from.

 I've read a lot of theories but nothing could explain my pain, until now.

▹Critical analysis of information I am presented with, and a good dose of common sense.

 Well, I'd like to think so...

▹An innate understanding that has developed as I connected with my Base-Line and learned to heal myself.

 You gotta feel it, to get it.

▹A natural scepticism. A trait I like to encourage in others too.

Question everything.

references I feel I should include:

References about back pain and imaging

The main ref. I want to use is behind paywall: Deyo RA, Weinstein DO. Low Back Pain. N Engl J Med. 2001 Feb;344(5):363–70: so here is an article that's the next best thing: painscience.com.

article - Systematic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations. And a snippet: "Imaging findings of spine degeneration are present in high proportions of asymptomatic individuals, increasing with age"

Back To Top

Movement should not be painful.

 OPTIMISING THE USE OF YOUR MUSCLES = BETTER HEALTH.

ALWAYS START FROM BASE-LINE, ALWAYS WORK FROM YOUR BASE-LINE.

footer-base-line-healing-Leigh-Blyth