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Musculoskeletal Counterstrain


Muscles are the primary movers of the body and we have over 640 of them, each with different origins, insertions, actions and innervations. Muscles attach to bones through tendons and produce force and movement through contractions that change the muscles length. Via muscle fascia or myofascia, muscles are also connected to each other and form long chains of muscles that can span down the length of arms and legs, down your torso or back and into your pelvic floor, and from your TMJ into your neck. With Counterstrain, we release these long chains of muscle with simple body positioning, which decreases muscle tension and spasm.

Spinal Ligaments

The spine has 5 ligaments that run up and down it from the base of the head down to the tailbone. 3 of those ligaments, we have techniques for with Counterstrain.

  • The Ligamentum Flavum: This ligament runs down the back of your spine. When it spasms, it can cause pain in the spine (commonly neck and low back), but also in joints in your arms and legs. If you've had an MRI of your spine, the imaging report may have used words like ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, or spinal stenosis. These are diagnosis caused by dysfunctions in the ligamentum flavum that are treatable with Counterstrain. When dysfunctional, the ligamentum flavum will also cause very predictable joint restrictions. For example, the knee joint will get tight from a ligamentum flavum spasm at the L3, L4 level of your low back. If any joint in your body is tight and restricted, it's likely the ligamentum flavum in your spine needs treatment.   

  • The Anterior Longitudinal Ligament: The anterior longitudinal ligament runs down the front of the spine. When it spasms, it will restrict the spine in a flexed position and flatten the natural curves in your neck and low back. A spasm of this ligament is especially common in people that have disc herniations, as the spasm puts pressure on the front of the disc, pushing it backwards, where it herniates. In some cases, until this ligament gets treated, disc herniations have trouble resolving. 

  • The Posterior Longitudinal Ligament: The posterior ligament also runs down the back of the spine but inside the spinal canal. When it spasms, it restricts the spine in an extended position which exaggerates the curves in your neck and low back. These spasms can lead to degenerative changes in the spine like spinal stenosis and contribute to diagnosis like pinched nerves.   


Cartilage exists all throughout the body and in various shapes and forms. It's the meniscus in the knee, the labrum in the hip and the shoulder, the connection from the ribs to the sternum. When the cartilage is dysfunctional, it will restrict movement in the joint and cause pain. This will eventually contribute to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis. Cartilage in the rib cage and the spine has an even more impactful effect. When dysfunctional it can twist and put tension through the sympathetic trunk which effects the motility of our visceral organs. Where ever the dysfunction is, cartilage treatment is essential for pain relief, ability to function, and wellness.  


Treatment of bones or periosteum includes some of the coolest and most powerful techniques that we do. A twist or a torsion of the bone puts tension on every anatomical structure (nerve, artery, vein, muscle) that runs down that bone. Therefore, dysfunction of bones have been linked to symptoms like poor blood flow, diagnosis like tendonitis and neuropathy, and presentations like leg length discrepancies. By treating the bones we are correcting the structure or foundation that the rest of the body is built on. As always, as strong foundation is essential for stability, function, and wellness. 

Symptoms of Muscle dysfunction can include:

  • Muscular pain

  • Joint pain

  • Tendonitis and inflammation

  • Lack of range of motion or movement

  • Muscle tightness, tension, or tone

  • Muscle spasm

  • Weakness

  • Neuropathy

  • Asymmetries

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help! Call us now to schedule your Counterstrain evaluation.

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