What is Neuromuscular Therapy and How Is It Accomplished?
Neuromuscular Therapy is a specific approach to the problem of pain based on sound physiological principles and neurological laws. Neuromuscular Therapy allows a reversal of the stress-tension-pain cycle. Pressure specifically interrupts afferent impulses to the spinal cord, reduces the intensity of nervous activity within the tissue and mechanically forces out toxic irritants which have accumulated at nerve receptor sites. The muscle then relaxes, circulation is increased, and the body returns to normal neuromuscular integrity and balance.
During the initial examination, the therapist will:
- Ask about history and current status of painful conditions
- Observe posture and gait (walking) patterns
- Examine the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments, etc.) for tight and tender areas
- Look for referred pain patterns
- Restore normal tone to the soft tissues with specific therapeutic techniques
- Work with specific body movements (biomechanical re-education) to restore balance
Because the therapist recognizes the importance of active involvement in becoming pain-free, the patient will likely be asked to do "homework" between treatments.
Based on the findings, the therapist will look for the cause of the patient's pain, rather than just treating the effects. The therapist will develop a treatment plan based on the proper stages of rehabilitation. The proper stages of rehabilitating an injury are as follows:
1. Eliminate spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue (therapy)
2. Restore proper biomechanics (re-education)
3. Restore flexibility to the tissues (movement and stretching)
4. Rebuild the strength of the injured tissues (exercise)
5. Rebuild endurance (conditioning exercises)
If rehabilitation is attempted without following this order, reinjury and setbacks usually occur. For example, if an injured person attempts weight training before the hypercontraction has been properly eliminated from the tissues, the result usually is that the tissues will re-spasm and the old pain patterns will recur.
The therapist will work with other health care professionals when necessary.
Does Neuromuscular Therapy Hurt?
There is a certain amount of occasional discomfort in any deep muscle therapy. The greatest discomfort is usually experienced after the first treatment. Mild pressure does not elicit pain in normal healthy tissue, therefore, the presence of pain during the physical manipulation of tissue is a valuable guidline to the therapist. It indicates those areas where adhesions, muscular spasm, trigger points, and cellular toxins are located. Continuous feedback fro the patient is encouraged to ensure that the therapy is conducted with the minimum degree of pressure necessary to carry out the process successfully and achieve the maximum results.
How Long Does A Complete Program of Therapy Take?
The goal of NMT is to help you get well, not to keep you coming for treatments forever. The initil examination and therapy session lasts one hour. Each succeesing therapy session lasts approximately one hour. Longstanding problems do not clear up overnight, but they do respond very well to consistency in a therapy program. The duration of the total therapeutic program depends on:
- How much damage has been done
- How rapidly the body heals
- The state of general health
- Those stress factors influencing one's life
- The length of time the condition has existed
Once the patient is pain free and moving more efficiently, the therapist will recommend periodic maintenance treatments and continuing "homework."