Knees + The Sympathetic Reflex

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This week in JoyRide we’ve been working with the kneecaps and looking at the different movement patterns generally that exist between the parasympathetic and survival nervous systems. Knees are something that many of us have a lot of “stuff” around; we might have injured them, experience/d pain in them, grip or cling on with them.

The knee is described as a sliding, gliding, rotational hinge joint. The “hinge” bit comes last because it’s actually all the other bits- the sliding, gliding, rotational bits- that primarily support and motivate movement in the body, in addition to protecting the joint space of the knee itself.

Fascially, the knee cap is part of the superficial front line of fascia; the train itself begins at the ASIS (the frontal hip bone), runs down to the kneecap, to the tibial tuberosity at the front of the shin and then to the front of the foot. In parasympathetic movement patterns, the knee cap itself moves along with the lateral line of the body and coordinates all the way up on its corresponding side.

The kneecap is affected by something called the tendon guard reflex which kicks in as part of the sympathetic nervous system response. This draws the kneecap up, compressing the joint space, which naturally has flow on affects to the rest of the body.

Consequently, if your survival nervous system is firing, you are going to have some challenges maintain a soft, long leg in the saddle and relaxing the knees. In fact, it’s going to be nigh on impossible; you are amid a sympathetic reflex chain that’s causing your body to do the opposite.

What’s more, any time we grip with the knees, we fire up our survival nervous system; that action is part of fight pattern motor reflex response.

If you want to learn more about your current nervous system state and how it’s affecting your behavior and biomechanics, take my two minute nervous system quiz and you can read all about it.

You can take the quiz by clicking here.


❤️ Jane

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