Alignment & Balance of the Human Body. Midline Anatomy & the Median Plane.

post by leggi · 2019-08-22T10:24:59.156Z · score: 5 (15 votes) · LW · GW · 2 comments


  Alignment and Balance.
  The Median Plane. 
  Midline Anatomy. 
    Palpable Anatomical Structures.
    Linear Midline Structures.
    Linea Alba. 
    Nuchal and Supraspinous Ligaments.
    Sources of Sensory Feedback. 
  Dynamic Alignment and Balance.

What do balance and alignment mean with respect to the human body?

This is an introduction piece for my hypothesis of human health and movement.

The anatomical information presented here should be easily verifiable.

Alignment and Balance.

A couple of definitions for balanced:

1. Different parts of something exist in equal or correct amounts.

2. A state of equilibrium, being in harmonious arrangement.

Alignment has many definitions, the two I feel most relevant to "body alignment" are:

1. Arrangement in a straight line.

2. Arranged in the correct relative positions.

The Median Plane.

The median plane (also known as the midsagittal plane) is the plane that splits the body into left and right halves.

A straight line when viewed from the front or back. A 2D shape from the side.

.Image text.

The body must be "correctly arranged" to create the median plane, where:

The position of the rest of the body should be considered relative to the body's midline anatomy when it is positioned on the median plane.

Midline Anatomy.

Palpable Anatomical Structures.

Some easy to find midline anatomical structures include the:

Linear Midline Structures.

Running the entire length of the spine and attaching to the anterior of each vertebrae, the anterior longitudinal ligament is the longest anatomical structure on the midline. I mention it now to be complete but since we cannot 'feel' it, either by palpation or by focusing on adjacent muscles, it is unimportant to my hypothesis.

The linear structures I believe we should focus on for body alignment are:

"Our primary guide for body alignment."

"Our secondary guides for body alignment."

Image text

Linea Alba.

The linea alba (Latin for 'white line') is a strip of strong connective tissue running midline up the front of the abdomen.

One end attaches to the pubic symphysis of the pelvis and the other end to the xiphoid process of the sternum.

. Image text

The linea alba is formed from the aponeuroses (tough, thin sheets of connective tissue) of the three left and right lateral abdominal muscles (the external abdominal oblique, internal abdominal oblique and the transversus abdominis) as they meet at the front of the abdomen.

. Image text' Cross section of anterior abdomen.

The rectus abdominis muscles are the closest muscular tissue to the linea alba, lying either side from pelvis to chest. Before the aponeuroses of the lateral abdominal muscles merge at the linea alba they form the left and right rectus sheaths (tunnels of connective tissue) in which the corresponding left and right rectus abdominis muscles lie.

Both the linea alba and rectus abdominis muscles originate from the pubic symphysis.

Nuchal and Supraspinous Ligaments.

The nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligament are one continuous structure at the back of the body, forming a long strip of tough connective tissue from "head to tail" at the posterior of the spine. Image text

The nuchal ligament is a septum (dividing wall) midline in the back of the neck. It consists of fibro-elastic connective tissue.

The nuchal ligament attaches to the base of the skull at the external occipital protuberance and the medial nuchal line (a.k.a. the external occipital crest).

It then attaches to the spinous processes of all the cervical vertebrae.

At the 7th (last) cervical vertebra, the nuchal ligament continues as the supraspinous ligament, a strong, fibrous cord attaching to the spinous processes of the seventh cervical vertebra, all twelve thoracic vertebrae and the upper lumbar vertebrae, usually terminating at L4 (but possibly L3 or L5).

The left and right trapezius muscles meet midline, attaching to the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments from the base of the skull to the last thoracic vertebra.

. Image text

Our midline anatomy needs to be arranged in the correct relative positions to align on the median plane.

Sources of Sensory Feedback.

To increase our conscious awareness of our midline we can focus on various parts of the body, tapping into the sensory information they generate.

Muscles and other structures that are on, or either side of, midline include:

Much information about the relative positioning the head can be gained from:

Dynamic Alignment and Balance.

The body is not static. Balance and alignment are dynamic states.

Working on the premise "a full range of natural movement" is a good thing (more here [LW · GW]). and I'm still working on the wording:

When the body has a full range of natural movement the linea alba and nuchal/supraspinous ligaments can be arranged in a straight line on the median plane (when viewed from the front or back) - this is maximally extended alignment but it is just one pose.

For the body to be able to move through its full range of natural movement our midline anatomy needs remain in the correct relative positions, aligned so that the rest of the body can extend fully away from midline. Like a rope that can bend and flex without tensions pulling it off alignment .

Dynamic alignment and balance:
Our midline anatomy is ideally arranged to permit a full range of movement.
Balance and alignment are maintained through a full range of natural movement.

Think about where your anatomy is in relation to the median plane.

Feel for your alignment.

Part 2:
The Main Muscles of Movement, Dynamic Alignment & Balance. [LW · GW]


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-08-22T19:31:32.126Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This post seems potentially interesting, but I think I am missing a hook on why I should care about the content of this post. Is there a particular reason to care about the alignment of my body? What benefits would I gain from it? Is there a relevance to rationality and the art of thinking?

comment by leggi · 2019-08-23T09:34:36.252Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Art of thinking? - If that means thinking about things, then this is something to think about... (and the sources of all the information needed are within easy reach.) Relevance to rationality? - As the start of a logical progression to explain my beliefs, then yes... This is the root that will develop several branches, but it needs time to grow.

I have multiple possible hooks, but they're all jumping to my conclusions  - "facts" first.

Why  should your care about your alignment and balance (there's a ding ding ding we have a winner for "bits that bother me" in my head). I believe you should, and that the alignment of the body (and a full range of movement) is important to health, but what 'evidence' do I have of that?

  • My personal opinion that balance and alignment sound good qualities.
  • My personal experience - but I'm just a random on the internet, so there's little point to expanding on that, at least until the groundwork is laid.
  • Many physical disciplines go on about balance and alignment -  a common phase in some circles -  but I've little experience in such disciplines so can't comment on that!

So nothing that should be convincing, but balance and alignment sound good don't they? :)

I am hoping for feedback about what balance and alignment mean to others. I'm in my own little micro-bubble (a true believer) and would be interested in other perspectives.

Ultimately, this is a journey from " fact" to "feeling". My next post will expand on the muscular anatomy of balance and alignment, and include my thoughts on that anatomy. How to start to feel your alignment...