Neuromuscular therapy is a necessity and not a luxury….It is a comprehensive system of soft tissue manipulation that creates balance of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) with the structure and form of the musculoskeletal system (skeleton and muscle of the body). Based on simple neurological laws explaining the central nervous systems homeostatic balance, NMT works with these laws changing how the central nervous system processes pain responses. In physiology, Arndt’s Law illustrates how pain can originates in the body. It states that the body’s activity is affected by different levels of stimuli to nerve centers. Postural distortions, trauma and the stress of injury, cause rapid nerve transmissions inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. Without this environmental stress, natural homeostasis (balance) of the nervous system transmits slowly. The stabilization to healthy levels of neurological activity is our goal, which maintains homeostasis, promoting overall health.
Neuromuscular therapy recognizes six principles that cause pain….
1. Ischemia, is a lack of blood supply to the soft tissue, with causes them to be very sensitive to touch. Typically, if less than 5 to 10 pounds of pressure causes tenderness, the tissue are in an ischemic state. This is one of the first conditions a neuromuscular therapist analyzes.
2. Trigger points occur when nerves fire impulses at a rapid speed into an area of the body other than that which has been traumatized. Because of triggerpoints, the cause of serious pain may often be far removed from the actual site of pain. This, in turn, inhibits proper blood flow, which causes ischemia and often leads to more pain and discomfort.
3. Nerve Compression or Entrapment is pressure on a nerve by bone, cartilage or soft tissue. The role of the soft tissue in nerve compression is paramount. Realigning vertebrae without treating associated soft tissue frequently treats the symptom and not the cause. Spinal nerves are subject to intrusion when any of the vertebrae are dislocated or spinal disks herniated. Treating the surrounding soft tissues that cause or maintain the dislocation greatly enhances rehabilitation and alleviation of pain
4. Whiplash often causes nerves entrapment by the soft tissues. The nervous system initiates tightening of the muscles to stop bleeding in the tissue caused by violent snapping of the neck backward. This tightening results in the muscular spasm. After bleeding stops, the spastic response, initially a curative one will continue if the intervention is not made. This muscular spasm causes pressure on nerves and creates its own painful condition. Nerve entrapment is the most common type of pain and always causes ischemia. Ignored, it can produce associated trigger points.
5. Postural distortion is an imbalance of the muscular system resulting from movement of the body off the coronal, midsagittal and horizontal planes. Gravitational force (33.5 lb per square inch) is constantly pulling the body toward Earth. If there is an imbalance in the structural system, gravity causes the body to compensate in an effort to retain balance. Trauma, gravitational pressure or psychological patterning causes the soft tissue become thicker, denser and harder. Muscle contraction, body distortion, and pain are the results of compensations the body makes in order to maintain structural homeostasis. By determining why the compensation has occurred, the distorted patterns can be eliminated, proper posture restored, and associated pain diminished or eliminated in most cases. Other body distortions are caused by muscles contracting and shortening while others lengthen in an effort to hold the body upright as a result of “righting reflexes”. These reflexes respond to massages from the inner ear, eye, muscles or skin to bring the body into equilibrium.
6. Biomechanical dysfunction is an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns. Repetitive strain of certain soft tissues results in adapted movement patterns that become muscular “habits” and must be reeducated.