THE ROLE OF MUSCLES IN POSTURE: GAINING EVIDENCE
First let's try an imaginary experiment. Take a long sausage balloon and instead of blowing air in it, fill it up with a dozen or so glass marbles. If you now lay it on the table the marbles will tend to stay in a line because the rubber sheath forms a sort of ligament around them. However, if you pick the sausage up and try and make it stand vertically, it will flop over. It cannot stand up on its own because of the weight of the marbles. Now put your two fists around the sausage, one above the other, and, of course, you can make the string of marbles stand up, held vertical by the muscles in the palms of your hands. Indeed, if you squeeze with your palms, the sausage will elongate as the pressure of your palms separate the marbles from each other. There are no cables or guy ropes at the top, the muscles in your hands are providing all the uplift necessary to keep the string of marbles upright, which are under no compression. Your palms have provided an anti-gravitational force counteracting the weight of the marbles.
So it is with your spine. Strip all the muscles off the vertebrae and the skeleton will collapse. It is the muscles, not just the bones, that keep you erect.
Can a child in deep sleep be made to sit up on a chair? Can a totally paralysed person be made to sit or stand without support?
You tell me - but the marbles wouldn't stand up without muscles, would they?
Why then has medicine, which regards the skeleton as the stable structure of the body, not considered that in fact muscles create the key force, in an alert or toned-up state, that support our erect posture? Remove the nervous impulse that tones up muscles and makes them contract, and the muscles will become flaccid and inert resulting in the collapse of the body. Tranquillise an elephant and it collapses.
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