Serious Pain Relief
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The Key To Pain Relief
The most common reason people visit doctors and health professionals is pain. It is estimated that 80% of all people that suffer with pain have pain that is musculoskeletal in origin. This means that the relationship between the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) and the skeletal frame is imbalanced and undergoing a chronic condition of stress and trauma.
A key player in this drama is the nervous system, which, when irritated due to a number of structural and physiological factors, causes the muscles and other soft tissues to spasm and strain. It is exactly this scenario of nervous-muscular-skeletal imbalance that modern medicine and therapy has the hardest time diagnosing and treating. This leaves many patients feeling there is no solution to their pain and that they must "live with it."
Fortunately, in the last few decades a superior solution to pain has emerged from the massage and bodywork community. This remarkable approach is Neuromuscular Therapy. Neuromuscular Therapy, or NMT as it is called, is a system of soft tissue manipulation that defuses pain and postural imbalance at the root level of its causes.
The fundamental principle of NMT is that the body seeks balance. Because of physical trauma, gravity, psychological stress and repetitive strain, a pattern of compensation develops in which the muscles harden, contract and pull the skeletal frame into a distorted position.
This postural distortion develops over time because of repetitive strain or happens immediately after trauma, such as a car accident. This structural imbalance is really the only way the body can adapt to unfavorable conditions. The end result is PAIN!
Neuromuscular Therapy intervenes in this cycle by releasing spastic, contracted soft tissues; freeing up and discharging nervous system irritation; and helping right the posture as the skeleton finds a more normalized position.
Factors That Cause Pain
The procession of underlying causes, physical trauma, gravity, psychological stress and repetitive strain, contributes to primary factors that are fundamental in the pain cycle:
- Ischemia -- a lack of blood supply-and thus nutrition and oxygen-to the soft tissues.
- Circulatory stasis -- build up of toxins and biochemical irritants in the tissues; lack of lymphatic circulation can impair immune system.
- Nervous system irritation -- disturbed nerves fire impulses into the soft tissues causing a pain-spasm-pain cycle; this is also known the physiopathological reflex arc.
- Trigger points -- ropey, fibrous knots caused by toxic buildup in muscles and tissues that often refer pain to other locations in the body.
- Nerve compression or entrapment -- soft tissue spasm that compresses and entraps nerve fibers near the spine or along the extremities.
- Postural distortion -- due to contracted muscles and soft tissues, the spine and other structures side bend and rotate in an effort to compensate and regain symmetry.
- Biomechanical dysfunction -- deficiencies in range of motion, poor physical movement, habit patterns and shortened muscles reduce quality of life.
- Nutritional deficiencies -- factors relating to soft tissue nutrition, locally, such as the site of trauma, or repetitive strain, or globally, such as the body's inability to recruit nutrients for "building blocks" create impediments to healing; the endocrine system is also a player in structural stress.
- Emotional Wellbeing -- emotions and stress that are not adequately managed over time can overwhelm the nervous system and produce distress and disease.
Neuromuscular Therapy supplies a Key that can begin to unlock and release these factors that cause pain.
How Neuromuscular Therapy Works
On a patient's first visit, a thorough evaluation is performed to determine structural, lifestyle, traumatic and stress factors that are the root causes of the pain. This may include an in-depth structural analysis and range of motion testing. Palpation of ischemic tissue and strained muscles also reveals local causes in the "chain of pain."
This is followed by hands-on, soft tissue manipulation and massage. Direct pressure, similar to acupressure, is applied to defuse trigger points and nervous system irritation. Shortened, contracted tissue is then treated by massage and modalities to lengthen and free the tissue so that it can function normally. Range of motion, traction and joint mobilization* is often used to increase blood flow and circulation to muscles surrounding a joint.
A detailed anatomical knowledge is brought into play since it is important to know the origin, insertion and function of each muscle and tissue. By releasing specific postural muscles, the body becomes more structurally balanced, less contracted and less rotated. The result is pain relief.
The number of visits varies with each person, since everyone is different and has different lifestyle and trauma factors present. The patient is often taught a home self-care program that may consist of stretching, movement therapy, dietary supplementation (to assist in healing of tissues) and appropriate mental attitudes that facilitate the healing process.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How many visits are required for Neuromuscular Therapy?
- No two individuals are alike so treatment time will vary. Most people see significant results in about 6-10 treatments although others may experience almost immediate relief.
- Do you accept insurance?
- A few insurance companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield) will pay for neuromuscular therapy if prescribed by a physician.
- Does the therapy hurt?
- Sometimes there is discomfort and intensity that goes along with NMT. Once ischemia and spasm has been eliminated the tissues are healthy again and are not painful to massage.
- Can you refer me to a doctor?
- We refer to and receive referrals from medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists, psychotherapists and others. We will gladly refer you to the appropriate specialist based on our assessment and analysis of your needs.
* Joint mobilization used in our therapy is not high velocity adjustments used by Chiropractors & Osteopaths but is Muscle Energy Technique (MET), Hold/Relax Stretching, and Swedish Gymnastics (movements).
Principles of Neuromuscular Therapy (link to article)
If you are a Neuromusclular Therapist and would like to refer someone to our office:
Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is often practiced with varying levels of skill. Like any other modality, how the individual therapist applies it makes all the difference. Many therapists do not use the full range of NMT techniques such as therapy to the anterior cervical (colli) area, atlas-axis, pelvic stabilization, cranial decompression, and internal TMJ work.
At our clinic we provide the full range of techniques in the NMT skill set and routinely do the anterior cervical routines, intraoral TMJ work, atlas-axis-cranial therapy, and psoas/pelvic/abdominal work. We also integrate Muscle Energy Technique and Positional Release into our work-thus adding the "European Approach" to our NMT treatments. If you refer a patient to us you can rest assured they will getting excellent Neuromuscular Therapy.
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