What is Neuromuscular Technique?

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is an umbrella term and was developed after an intensive study on the nervous system and its interaction with the musculoskeletal system. When the relationship between these two systems is not in a state of homeostatic balance, pain or dysfunction can occur. These soft tissue techniques can enhance function of joints and muscles, and speeds healing through the activation and release of endorphins. Its benefits also include a reduction of pain and the ability to restore function in the affected tissue. Neuromuscular Therapy aims to eliminate pain by addressing elements that cause pain. It addresses ischemia by increasing the blood flow through manipulation of the tissue, increasing the nutrition available to the dysfunctional tissue. By holding static pressure on a point of tension, the release of this encourages blood flow to the area, and releases endorphins that release tension and reduce pain levels. Trigger Point Therapy (TPT), a neuromuscular technique, can address highly irritated trigger points that cause localised as well as referred pain elsewhere in the body. Trigger point therapy uses static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. Static pressure on the muscle encourages a message to be sent via the Golgi tendons and muscle spindles, to the brain, and then the muscle relaxes. The Golgi tendon operates as protection, controlling the tension of an active muscle, causing relaxation before the tension becomes too much and causes damage to the muscle. The muscle spindles are then reset as a change in length occurs as the muscle relaxes. This method can be used on muscles, tendons and connective tissue to help balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses slowly. Injury, trauma, stress and postural distortion can cause these nerves to speed up their transmissions, making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction as they negatively affect the systems equilibrium. Using a NMT technique can help to reset these muscle spindles, reducing tension in the fibres and rebalance the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.

NMT does not always need static pressure to have an effect and bring about a physiological response to ease dysfunction. Positional Release Technique (PRT) works using the principles of Neuromuscular Therapy, by placing a distressed area in its most comfortable position to bring about this same process. It can rest muscle spindles by inducing a neurological resetting of the muscle spindles that hold a muscle in dysfunction or spasm, improving function and reducing pain. If the muscle is in a position of ease, there is a smaller chance of blood vessel compression, so blood supply is increased to the area, restoring nutrients and encouraging removal of any metabolic waste that may have accumulated. Whilst in this position of ease, there is reduced irritation to the pain receptors, nocioceptors, and they will become less sensitive.

Using a technique such as PRT in combination with TPT on a muscle where there are small areas of hypertonic muscle (localised spasms), a release can be achieved to allow a therapist to work deeper into a muscles fibres, giving access to work with other techniques that may not have been possible whilst the muscles tissues were in spasm. It can be used straight off as an initial treatment, reducing pain to the affected tissues almost instantly, with little effort. After a tender trigger point has been found within a muscle and pressure applied, we can use client feedback on pain level to move that muscle into a position of ease. Using a scale of 1-10 can help the therapist to identify progress of the positioning and its relation to pain level for the client. Different ranges of movement can be worked through to find a position of ease, and the aim is to achieve a score of less than 3 before the process is stopped and continual pressure held for approximately 90 seconds, giving the nervous system time to react and process this change in tension. The joint must then be slowly returned to a neutral position, reducing the risk of provoking a reaction from the muscle spindles returning back to their original dysfunctional state. Retesting a tender trigger point would hopefully result in reduced sensitivity and pain.

Please contact me if you think that you could benefit from Neuromuscular Therapy.

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