On earth so-called mechanical body overload, causing tissue strain, tissue damage and fatigue, is considered to be a major cause of physical complaints including neck and lower back pain. Mechanical strain related to body posture has been shown to play a significant role in ongoing, widespread pain and fatigue (patients prefer to lie down while limiting standing and sitting). Understandably, the link to gravity’s vertical vector is quickly made. The authors felt it would be an interesting question to ask, “What would happen to pain and ongoing fatigue when in orbit, in a micro-gravity environment, lacking the earth’s dominating vertical vector?” Surprisingly, results show that in micro-gravity both pain and fatigue are found occurring frequently. Data obtained from a literature review regarding both complaints in microgravity provides evidence for a change of perspective. This review’s focus, confined to type-1 and type- 2 muscle fiber type, highlighted a shift in muscle physiology specific to astronauts when in a microgravity environment. A similar shift in muscle fiber physiology among chronic low back patients and patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome exists on earth. It is proposed that biomechanics, as commonly implemented and interpreted based on levers, might be better informed by including a concept based on biotensegrity. This could be used to propose novel therapeutic approaches to address both local, regional and widespread pain as well as ongoing fatigue.

John Sharkey – MSc

John Sharkey is an international educator, author and authority in the areas of clinical anatomy, exercise science, human movement and the manual treatment of chronic pain. He is a graduate of the University of Dundee, University of Liverpool and University of Chester. He completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies in the areas of exercise physiology, clinical anatomy and holds a post-graduate certificate in education. He is currently a senior lecturer within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences, University of Chester/NTC, Dublin and is the programme leader of the Biotensegrity focused Thiel soft fix cadaver dissection courses department of anatomy and human identification, Dundee University, Scotland.

John has been delivering human anatomy dissection courses for many years teaching the geometry of anatomy and movement from the unique Biotensegrity-Anatomy for the 21st Century perspective. His presentations are respectful, dynamic, entertaining, educational and insightful.

John promotes his model of “Biotensegrity-anatomy for the 21st century” integrating the pioneering work of his mentor Dr. Stephen Levin MD. John has been teaching European Neuromuscular Therapy using living anatomy and specialising in chronic pain conditions. He is recognised as one of the worlds leading authorities on fascia and Biotensegrity. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (JBMT), International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine and other professional journals.

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