What are fascial slings?
The body is made up of a complex system of fascial chains. These chains create a connection from the top to the bottom, and across the body to create movement, force, speed, and deceleration. When there is an imbalance somewhere in the system it creates a dysfunction. Often we don’t address the fascial chains when there is pain or faulty movement. We look at individual muscles and very general movement patterns.
There are 4 fascial sling systems. The anterior oblique, posterior oblique, deep longitudinal, and lateral.
The slings help with creating dynamic stability during movement. By looking at the slings in conjunction with the dysfunction we can help address the whole problem and come up with better exercises and return to an improved movement pattern to decrease the incidence of further injury.
Let’s look at each of the slings in more detail.
The anterior oblique sling is made up of the external and internal obliques with the opposing legs hip adductors and anterior abdominal fascia. The anterior system provides stability in stance phase of gait, and increases stability of the body as speed increases, during changes of direction, and deceleration.
The posterior oblique sling is made up of the Latissimus Doris and opposing Gluteus Maximus. The posterior system helps to control the rotation of the pelvis in gait and create more efficient movement, by creating tension in the thoracolumbar fascia. It creates a force closure of the sacroiliac joint which creates stability and allows force to be distributed between the lower extremities, spine and upper extremities for coordinated movements like walking, stair climbing and just about any coordinated movement of the body that power needs to be transmitted from one side of the body to another.
The Deep Longitudinal Sling is made up of the Erector Spinae, the deep thoracolumbar fascia, and the sacrotuberous ligament via the long head of the biceps femoris. This helps with compressive forces on the Sacroiliac joint and creates stability of the pelvis in the frontal plane.
The Lateral Sling is made up of the Gluteus Medius and Minimus, Tensor Fascia Latae and the Iliotibial band. The lateral sling creates stability in the coronal plane in gait, single leg activities, and lunges, and also creates stability of the hip joint. The lateral sling helps with preventing hip drop and stability of the pelvis during the stance leg of gait.
Addressing all of these slings in conjunction with specific site of pain, weakness, or disability helps with restoration of motor control, improved stability, and more efficient movement patterns.