Stress-free Posture and Body Mechanics. Part One: Soft Tissue Dysfunction

The first poet was the human being who first stood and walked

The human body is designed to move. It has the remarkable ability to be conditioned and to rise to any physical challenge and demand. These qualities give us clues about how we can prevent and treat soft tissue dysfunction.

Postural Stress

Postural stress is a major factor in soft tissue dysfunction, structural misalignment, and physiological health and function. It isn't only our work posture that is in question, but also our postural habits when relaxing.

What kind of posture do you have?

As well as postural stress and structural misalignment, soft tissue health is affected by strain and injury, neglected Basic Health Habits, as well as chronic stress, unhealthy habits, illness, surgery, and medication.

What is Soft Tissue?
In anatomy, the term soft tissue refers to tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body. Soft tissue includes tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, fibrous tissues, adipose tissue (fat), and synovial membranes (joint tissue), which are connective tissue; and muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which are not connective tissue. Wikipedia

Connective Tissue
Everything works together because we're all one piece  
Mr. Dress Up

Connective tissue is the integral element of structural support in our body.  A tent pole does not hold up a tent, and likewise, it is not the spine, which supports our body in an upright position. Rather, it is the guy wires, or comparatively, our connective tissues, that make an upright position possible through the action of balance and counter-balance

Connective tissue is the necessary component of our soft tissues which holds all of the body parts together in the proper relationship to one another and integrates all of these parts in a unified, dynamic, and functional whole. 

The life of every cell depends upon the normal function of vascular and lymph circulatory systems for the delivery of nutrients, oxygen, hydration, waste product removal, to prevent or defend against infection, for disease containment, and to facilitate healing. Connective tissue is one of the principal shapers and supports of this circulatory network.

There is no tissue in the body that is as ubiquitous as connective tissue. It binds specific cells into tissues, tissues into organs, organs into systems, cements muscle to bones, ties bones into joints, wraps every nerve and every vessel, laces all internal structures firmly into place, and envelopes the body as a whole. In all of these linings, wrappings, cables and moorings it is a continuous substance, and every single part of the body is connected to every other part by virtue of its network; every part of us is in its embrace. If everything else were removed, the network of empty compartments would preserve our physical form in detail. 
Ida P. Rolf, ROLFING: Reestablishing The Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of The Human Body For Vitality and Well-being.


The acute inflammatory reaction is a general tissue response to injury and infection. Its purpose is to defend the body from invading microbes (bacteria and virus) at the site of injury, and to prevent the spread of infection into the surrounding tissue; to eliminate microbes, toxins, and foreign material from the site of injury or infection, and to prepare the tissue for repair. Connective tissue plays key roles both in the inflammatory response and tissue repair.

Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic

Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. 

Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

The Cardinal Signs of Inflammation:
The traditional names for signs of inflammation come from Latin:
  •  Dolor (pain)
  •  Calor (heat)
  •  Rubor (redness)
  •  Tumor (swelling)
  •  Functio laesa (loss of function)


The cardinal signs of acute inflammation are redness, heat, swelling, and pain at the site of injury or infection.
  • Redness is a result of increased blood flow that occurs with the vasodilation of blood vessels. Vasodilation and increased permeability are caused by the release of histamine from mast cells and basophils (white blood cells) which induce a limited separation of the endothelial cells lining blood vessels; and also by kinins and leukatrienes. As a result of vasodilation and increased permeability, antibodies, phagocytes, clot-forming chemicals and fibrinogen (which converts to an insoluble, thick network called fibrin), are released from blood. Fibrin localizes and traps invading organisms, preventing their damaging spread, and is the basic component of a blood clot. 
  • Heat is a result of increased metabolic activity.
  • Swelling occurs in the amorphous ground substance of connective tissue and is a manifestation of plasma leakage from venules. Hyaluronic acid, the largest component of the amorphous ground substance, prevents the spread of infection.
  • Pain is a result of injury or irritation to nerve tissue by foreign microorganisms. Kinins (polypeptides present normally in blood) and prostaglandins, both vasodilators, elicit pain directly by stimulating nerve endings sensitive to painful stimuli. Swelling (edema) may cause tenderness due to pressure on sensory nerve endings. Blood capillaries in the inflamed area are also dilated and congested.
  • Reduced mobility and function, and fever may also occur as a result of inflammation.  
The inflammatory process is a normal, healthy function of injury healing and recovery. Without inflammation, wounds and infections would not heal.  

The Story of A Soft Tissue Injury 
and Recovery

One winter, six years ago when I was 47, I took a classic tumble down my front stairs on the ice. It was forceful enough to fracture my elbow and dislocate my shoulder. After the reduction procedure, I planned a unique program of rehabilitation that was contrary to the directions of the sports medicine doctor. I modelled it after physical therapy treatment for soft tissue injuries that were being done in Denmark.

The first week focused on recovery. There is a lot of swelling and bruising with this type of injury. I iced rigorously. I also continued to use the arm as much as possible as I took care of necessary household tasks and personal grooming. The sling which the doctor had instructed me to wear for three weeks, with the arm immobilized, came off after the first day. This small demand on the injured tissues, even that early in recovery, did not harm the injury further.

I wore the sling when I risked being jostled in a crowd or group situation. I also wore the sling in the early days of the injury to give the arm a rest, occasionally.

The second week I ceased the ice and introduced heat, massage, and passive range of motion exercises, with the aid of a pulley system. 

The third week I started active range of motion exercises and exercising with weight; continuing with the massage and heat treatments. 

I was back to work after five weeks of rest and rehabilitation. I was back to full time capacity by week ten. I lost no range of motion or strength of the injured arm. The movement, heat, exercise, and massage had aided and increased the healing process.


This week, I re-injured this shoulder during a misadventure with my garbage cart. It felt like the third week of recovery from the original injury. All of the abductor muscles were affected and the arm became glued to my side. 

Once again, my rehabilitation involved normal, daily, use and activities, with daily range-of-motion movement, heat, and self-massage. By day five, full-range-of-motion had been restored, and I went bowling with my family, using the right arm, my dominant side, that had been injured.  

The resilience that has been created in my body from the consistent practice of Basic Health Habits allowed my body to return to normal function quickly. This experience indicates to me what is possible at the advanced stage of 54 - if you are healthy.


  1. Its a great post and yeah we all need to have such stress free posture .Its really important.

  2. Enjoyed reading the article for health and body mechanics, really explains everything in detail, the article is very interesting and effective.Thank you and good luck for the upcoming articles.

  3. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Luciano.


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