There are many ligaments within the human body, but what do they do? How important are they to how the body functions? Ligaments are quite instrumental to how the body works because they are part of what connects the body together. Specifically, they hold one bone to another bone. Without these connective tissues, moving would be incredibly difficult. When any ligament within your body hurts, it can quickly drag down your quality of life. It is important to get ligament pain treated quickly so that you can get back to living your life the way you want and need to.
What Are Ligaments?
Ligaments are quite similar to the tendons you have all over your body because they are made up of connective tissues. The main point of having them is to hold two bones together. The connective tissue that makes up your ligaments is made from collagen bands. These bands twist together and get covered by a sheath, protecting the ligament and the structures that it connects to. Where these ligaments connect is where the body gets joints. Think about your elbow, knee, hip, and shoulder joints. The motion you have in these joints is because the ligaments are holding those bones together.
Ligaments work in tandem with muscles and tendons. They allow you to expand and contract your muscles in a way that forms movement. Tendons attach those muscles to the bones, creating movement when you decide you want to reach out and pick something up or sit down to relax at night. One of the main jobs of the ligaments in your body is to help stabilize the joints. Each ligament is put in place to connect those bones. Plus, it is meant to hold that bone in alignment when it moves. If you do not have solid ligaments, your joints will wobble and you will not move as gracefully.
What Types of Ligaments Does the Body Have?
Some of the most common ligaments include the periodontal ligament, the fetal remnant ligament, and the peritoneal ligament. They all hold different structures of the body together. For example, the periodontal ligament is used to connect the base structure of the teeth into the bony structure of the jaw. Ligaments are what hold the entire human body’s bony structure together. Each portion of bone that makes up the skeleton is connected by a ligament to the surrounding bones.
The ligaments are meant to limit certain types of movement, or eliminate them from happening altogether. Think about your knee. You have structures in place to keep your knee able to bend behind you as you move. However, you also have structures in place to keep your knee from moving too far forward, in essence, bird-legging yourself. One of the structures you have to keep you from this type of problem is a ligament.
How Can One Injure Their Ligaments?
There are many things that can cause ligament injuries. Using joints in the wrong manner is one cause. Accidents, like getting in a car crash, can also injure your ligaments. Putting strain on a ligament is alright, so long as the strain is short-lived. This means that you can push a ligament for a little while, but it should not be done long. If you do not relieve the strain on the ligament, it can cause it to stretch out. This means that it will no longer be as strong as it once was. It can also mean that your joint no longer has the same stability that it once did.
A great example of this is when you dislocate a joint. If you were to dislocate your shoulder, for example, the ligaments would be under strain. If it popped back in quickly, you would be sore for a short time, but would likely recover. However, if you were stuck in that position for an extended period of time, the ligament may stretch too far. This means that recovery is not likely, and you could struggle with pain the rest of your life. It could also mean that you struggle with pain in the surrounding areas of your body as well. For example, from a dislocated shoulder, you could wind up with arm pain, upper chest pain, neck pain, and more!
If you did not keep yourself in shape as you got older, this could increase the chances of ligament problems as you got older. By keeping your body strong and healthy, you can avoid some issues with ligament pain. Even when you get older, if the body remains healthy, it remains strong enough to fight off many problems that could leave you in pain.
Treating Ligament Pain
When you struggle with ligament pain, you need to go in and get checked out. Ligament pain can severely restrict your quality of life. It can also make it to where you no longer have the ability to move around like you once did. The first thing to do is work to prevent ligament pain. Stretch out before you do anything strenuous, and avoid recurring strain on your ligaments. If they do get strained, get help for them as soon as possible. Leaving that strain to continue to get worse can impact your future. Go in and have someone look at the issue, and if warranted, get physical therapy to help ease the pain.
Remember that not all ligament pain is the same. For example, if you suffer from back pain, the cause could come from various components of the back, not just ligaments. Getting a personal diagnosis can help make sure you know what is going on with your body. Find out what is causing your ligament pain. Then, figure out what steps you need to take to get the pain gone. It is not going to disappear overnight. No matter how much you wish the pain would stop, it is not likely to listen. The only thing you can do is get help to treat the pain when it could not be prevented in the first place.