Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
The Superficial
Back Line
This first line, the Superficial Back Line (SBL) (Fig. 3.1),
is presented in considerable detail, in order to clarify
some of the general and specific Anatomy Trains con-
cepts. Subsequent chapters employ the terminology and
format developed in this chapter. Whichever line inter-
ests you, it may help to read this chapter first.
Movement function
With the exception of flexion from the knees on down,
the overall movement function of the SBL is to create
extension and hyperextension. In human development,
the muscles of the SBL lift the baby's head from embryo-
logical flexion, with progressive engagement and 'reach-
ing out' through the eyes, supported by the SBL down
through the rest of the body to the ground - belly, seat,
knees, feet - as the child achieves stability in each of the
developmental stages leading to upright standing about
one year after birth (Fig. 3.5).
Because we are born in a flexed position, with our
focus very much inward, the development of strength,
competence, and balance in the SBL is intimately linked
with the slow wave of maturity, as we move from
this primary flexion into a full and easily maintained
extension. The author of Psalm 121, who wrote T
will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh
my help', is enabled to do so by the Superficial Back
The Superficial Back Line (SBL) connects and protects
the entire posterior surface of the body like a carapace
from the bottom of the foot to the top of the head in
two pieces - toes to knees, and knees to brow (Fig.
3.2/Table 3.1). When the knees are extended, as in
standing, the SBL functions as one continuous line of
integrated myofascia. The SBL can be dissected as a
unity, seen here both on its own and laid over a plastic
classroom skeleton (Figs 3.3 and 3.4).
Postural function
The overall postural function of the SBL is to support
the body in full upright extension, to prevent the ten-
dency to curl over into flexion exemplified by the fetal
position. This all-day postural function requires a higher
proportion of slow-twitch, endurance muscle fibers in
the muscular portions of this myofascial band. The con-
stant postural demand also requires extra-heavy sheets
and bands in the fascial portion, as in the Achilles
tendon, hamstrings, sacrotuberous ligament, thoraco-
lumbar fascia, the 'cables' of the erector spinae, and at
the occipital ridge.
The exception to the extension function comes at the
knees, which, unlike other joints, are flexed to the rear
by the muscles of the SBL. In standing, the interlocked
tendons of the SBL assist the cruciate ligaments in main-
taining the postural alignment between the tibia and the
The Superficial Back Line in detail
NOTE: We begin most of the major 'cardinal' lines (those
lines on the front, back, and sides) at their distal or caudal
end. This is merely a convention; we could have as easily
worked our way down from the head. The body will frequently
create a tension either way, or a bind in the middle that works
its way out toward both ends. No causation is implied in our
choice of where to start.
General considerations
The most general statement that can be made about any
of these Anatomy Trains lines is that strain, tension
(good and bad), trauma, and movement tend to be
passed through the structure along these fascial lines of
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