To answer these questions we must first know what the words actually mean.

The Musculoskeletal System is an integration of two systems, the Muscular System and the Skeletal System.

This Muscular system consists of the muscles, ligaments and tendons, cartilage and other soft connective tissues.

The Skeletal System consists of all the bones, that make up the skeleton. The skeleton provides a framework for the muscles and other soft tissues.

The terms Therapist and Practitioner in this context have the same meaning and they can be used interchangeably.

How Does the Musculoskeletal System Work?

  • The Nervous System (brain and nerves) sends a message to activate Skeletal (voluntary) Muscles.
  • The Muscle Fibres contract (tense up) in response to the message.
  • When the Muscle activates or shortens, it pulls on the Tendon. (Tendons attach muscles to bones.)
  • The Tendon pulls the Bone, making it move. (Tendons are tough but not very stretchy.)
  • To relax a Muscle, the Nervous System sends another message. It triggers the Muscle to relax or deactivate.
  • The relaxed Muscle releases tension, moving the bone to a resting position.

Other essential Musculoskeletal System structures are:

Ligaments whose function is to help to maintain skeletal stability by attaching bones to bones.

Joints    Bones come together to form joints. Some joints have a large range of motion, such as the ball-and-socket shoulder joint. Other joints, like the knee, allow bones to move back and forth but not rotate.

Cartilage which is a type of connective tissue that cushions bones inside joints, along the spine and in the ribcage.  Cartilage protects bones from rubbing against each other.

Why is the Musculoskeletal System So Important?

The integrated Musculoskeletal System gives the body its structure, support and posture, enabling the body to move around, or hold a static position. Adult bodies have 206 bones and more than 600 muscles, connected by ligaments, tendons and soft tissues.

The body is designed to work according to very carefully designed postural principles.  The body is very gracious and it will often allow us to keep going for a while, despite misalignments that have developed.   However, sooner or later, the body will decide that it is not prepared to let us continue in this way, and it will let us know by giving us pain!   When the body is being held in a misaligned state, pressure is imposed on nerves by the distorted structures (usually bones or muscles).

Pressure on nerves causes pain

It is this pressure on nerves that causes the pain.   If you have ever knocked your funny bone, you will know what nerve pain feels like.   The difference is that if you knock your funny bone, you will try not to keep knocking it but, if postural misalignment is causing the nerve pain that pain will continue until the misalignment issue is resolved.

Accidents, sicknesses and injuries can inflict musculoskeletal damage

The individual parts of the musculoskeletal system grow and change throughout life.   Aging and over-use can take their toll on the musculoskeletal system.   Accidents, sicknesses and injuries can inflict musculoskeletal damage, including strains, sprains, disc herniations, muscle tears and other issues that affect bones, muscles and joints.

Musculoskeletal dysfunctions

Musculoskeletal dysfunctions can cause problem conditions that, to an untrained person, would not be thought to be able to have any influence upon the problem presented.    Just one example of this was a patient who came to see me with VCD (Vocal Cord Dysfunction).   In this case, without warning at any time of day, the vocal cords would spasm and block the windpipe, so that the patient thought he was choking.  The condition was actually caused by tight hip flexor muscles that by chain reaction were causing the muscles in the throat to tighten.  By treating the offending hip flexors, the VCD was totally resolved.   Neurosurgeons who had been seeing the patient could not understand how my treatment could work but, on seeing the recovered patient, they had to accept that it did!

A Musculoskeletal Therapist is best equipped to help you to resolve your postural misalignment and other musculoskeletal system related problems.

What Does a Musculoskeletal Therapist Do?

A Musculoskeletal Therapist (MST) is a specialized type of physical practitioner who is trained to correct your musculoskeletal problems and help you to keep your Musculoskeletal System in good working order.

An MST needs to be an expert in the structure of the human body and its movement.  An MST is trained to treat patients of all ages and help them recover from injuries and pain through the application of specialized therapies and appropriate remedial exercises.

MST patients include athletes, those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, back pain and migraines. Instead of prescribing drugs, which are more likely to mask symptoms than fix them, Musculoskeletal Therapists are able to pinpoint specific problems that might be causing pain.  The area where a patient feels pain may be quite different from where the MST has to treat in order to resolve the problem.

Recovery from injuries and dysfunction issues

An MST can help you to recover from your injuries and dysfunction issues, helping you to regain strength and flexibility in your muscles and joints so that you can return to normal activities as quickly as possible and avoid long-term complications of these problems.

If you’re having back problems due to sitting at your desk for too long each day your MST can teach you appropriate exercises plus have ergonomic recommendations for avoiding injury in the future.

An MST must be skilled in the use of a range of modalities to aid in patients’ recovery, aimed at relieving discomfort and pain throughout the body’s musculoskeletal system.

Michael R E Butler is a highly skilled advanced Musculoskeletal Practitioner who uses a broad range of proven therapies in his work to assist his patients.

Michael will normally use a combination of different treatment methods that may include:

By using his experience and knowledge with these modalities, Michael can select the best treatment regimen to suit a patient and provide positive outcomes.

 

Who Should See a Musculoskeletal Therapist?

Probably, the answer to this question is you!    If you’re unsure about whether seeing a Musculoskeletal Therapist is right for you, contact Michael R E Butler and find out for yourself. 

Have the physical therapy treatment methods you have tried been able to fix your problems?     After a first treatment session with me, a frequent comment is:  “Well, that was different from any treatment I have had previously!”   I will answer that, if the previous treatment did not work, then it is probably good that I did something different!  

My favourite definition of insanity is keeping doing the same thing and expecting different results.   It won’t happen.   Something has got to change.

Misconceptions about the Value of a Musculoskeletal Therapist

You may imagine that an MST would cost too much, compared to cheaper options.   Really?  Compared to what?

If your car will just not go, a wash, wax and polish won’t fix your problem, when you really need a trained mechanic to lift the engine hood or get underneath the vehicle to perform mechanical repairs.

Similarly, if your own body requires musculoskeletal work, then a cheap shopping centre mall massage will be as effective as a parachute that opens on the tenth bounce!

Pain Killers mask but don’t fix deep-seated issues

Pain killers will not cure a deep-seated issue.   They may relieve the pain for a while but the pain will still be there when the effect of the medication wears off.   Even worse, although we do not enjoy pain, pain gives us a warning that there is a problem needing attention.   With the pain numbed, we may cause even greater damage by being able to move our limbs into structure-tearing positions that extreme pain would prevent us from reaching.

Something that only appears inexpensive because of the price, is of no value to you when, ultimately, it will cost so much more in terms of money, time, inconvenience and the inability to work or enjoy yourself.  If you have made a bad treatment choice, you will probably find that the proper treatment will cost you much less than you feared in the first place.