What is Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)?
In layman terms, neuromuscular therapy is a type of manual therapy much like massage best for chronic issues. Different modalities are used with hydrotherapy (use of water) to restore a musculoskeletal balance. It’s meant for continuous sessions so your nervous system can create better posture habits. Step by step, you’ll feel an overall change in the way you walk, sit, move, and stand.
Ready to dive in? Read on! If you want a more technical explanation, you can get more at the end of this article.
What conditions are common for Neuromuscular treatment?
Postural Distortion (spinal curvatures)
Spinal curves (lordosis, kyphosis, scoliosis) aka, your posture, can end up distorted when there’s an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in movement of the body off the coronal, midsagittal, or horizontal planes. Basically meaning, you are “out of wack” and using one side or one muscle group more which wears out the soft tissue and joints. The body tries to compensate in an effort to maintain structural balance. The nervous system gets disconnected from the area and eventually soft tissue like the deep muscles and tendons become very fatigue.
Biomechanical Dysfunction (nerve damage)
Just like any other part of life, we can develop bad habits in our muscles after a surgery, injury, or nerve damage. Our body creates adaptive movement patterns that need to be corrected. Some examples of these bad habits are:
- Poor posture
- Poor upper/lower back support
- Abuse of muscles
- Repetitive movement overload
Nerve Compression/Entrapment (pinched nerves)
This results from pressure on a nerve by bones, inflammation, disc issues, and soft tissue damage. For example, Sciatica is a common condition although underlying issues may be the source.
Ischemia (fatigued muscle groups)
This is a deficiency of blood in a body part. It could be due to a functional constriction or actual obstruction of a blood vessel. Neuromuscular therapy relieves muscle spasms and frees constricted blood vessels. This allows normal blood flow to carry nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.
Trigger Points (muscle and soft tissue adhesion)
Disturbance of motor functions caused by trigger points include hypertonicity (basically, really high tension) of other muscles, weakness of involved muscle function, loss of coordination by involved muscles, and decreased work tolerance of the involved muscle.
Five Stages of Neuromuscular Therapy Rehabilitation
Long-term muscle recovery depends on adherence to the sequence of each treatment stage and completion of each stage before going to the next.
1. Therapy to eliminate muscle pain
Trigger Point Pressure Release slowly increases non-painful pressure over a trigger point until a barrier of resistance is encountered. Contact is then maintained until the tissue barrier releases, and pressure is increased to reach a new barrier to eliminate the trigger point tension.
2. Correction of structural problems to restore proper biomechanics
Your body structure can end up distorted due to specific injury, disease process, or stress to an area from another cause. The NMT therapist performs a structural evaluation of the horizontal planes to determine how and where the forces of torque are disrupting your body.
3. Restoration of flexibility and re-education of neurological pathways
By way of passive and active stretch techniques, NMT increases flexibility and re-educates neuromuscular structure.
4. Restoration of strength
After the first three stages, the muscle group is ready for strengthening through extensive exercise routines to restructure its proper form.
5. Building endurance
Endurance means being able to repeat an exercise. This is done through less intense weight but done more. This helps prevent re-injury of the muscle group, helps muscle tone, and creates proper posture.