3. Structure and Function Are Interrelated at All Levels in the Body
Structure and function are often seen as separate concepts. However, they aren’t. There is function in structure. There is structure in function.
But.. they can technically be separated.
Structure is the physical form or shape of the tissues in the body, including the distinct shape of bones, tissue and cellular organization, and much more.
Function is the movement of the body. This involves biochemical and metabolic reactions in the cells, the changing of the diameter of certain arteries, sweating, and more.
Structure and function work together to create movement. When you run, you move your legs – including all the bones, muscles, connective tissues, nerves, arteries, and veins in the lower body. In other words, structure creates function, and function creates structure. An example of this is seen in the arteries and veins’ tube-like structure. This structure allows for blood to flow through them. The blood carries nutrients to different parts of the body. These nutrients are supplies that build the tube-like structure of the arteries and veins. In turn, the blood can then flow through them. They are interrelated. As aforementioned, everything in the body is connected.
When assessing a client, a Manual Osteopath examines structure and function throughout the body. If a patient comes in suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, they assess more than just the wrist and arms. The lack of mobility in the shoulder and neck region is also looked at. Surprisingly, these structures may be limiting the amount of blood flow and nerve conduction to the wrist and hand area. Over time, this may cause structural changes in the wrist – leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Again, it comes back to assessing the body as a whole unit.