Connective Tissue System
(Workbook Page 19)
Look at the graphic on page 19 of the Neuroplastic Transformation workbook. It depicts the microscopic extracellular matrix that exists everywhere in the body. Now read through the text that explains the important structure and function of this tissue.
The Extracellular Matrix exists throughout the body. It is part of every organ system and is responsible for nutritional delivery and waste pickup, tissue maintenance and repair and inflammation and chronic inflammation. It is composed of loose connective tissue, interstitial fluid and fibroblasts.
The Connective Tissue System should not just be seen as discrete structures such as ligaments and tendons, but as a system within every system coursing throughout the entire body. It has several critical roles. It vigilantly monitors the status of the body in its environment. It coordinates responses to stress or physical injury. It repairs and maintains itself and mounts the inflammatory response. It is a dynamic structure that continually changes. It contains cells called fibroblasts that perform these tasks. It facilitates the instantaneous connectivity bodies need to exist and be safe. The patient, their body, their brain and every part of their pain perception exists instantaneously. The structures within this system and their roles are often overlooked in injury, surgery or persistent pain states. The magnitude and impact of an injury to this system cannot be understood without understanding the connective tissue system. These structures must be treated. in order to overcome the injury and ensuing pain state. One of the best ways to work with the connective tissue system and its structures is through touch and manual therapy techniques.
Fibroblasts are the most common cell in our bodies, but few people have actually heard of them. They are responsible for making collagen and contributing it to the loose connective tissue of the extracellular matrix. When tissue injury occurs they stop making collagen, change to a more streamlined shape and migrate to the area of injury, mounting part of the inflammatory response. Once this resolves they migrate back to where they came from, change back to their original shape and resume making collagen.