What is Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)?
In layman terms, neuromuscular therapy is a type of advanced manual therapy best for chronic issues by re balancing after finding the source. Different modalities are used with hydrotherapy (use of water) to restore a musculoskeletal and nervous system balance. It’s meant for continuous sessions so branches of the nervous system that have lost connection can reconnect to the brain. Step by step, you’ll feel an overall change in the way you walk, sit, move, and stand… not to mention the most important reason …. an overall correction to these important systems.
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 and 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 eventually gets disconnected from the soft tissue (deep muscles, ligaments, tendons, and lymphatic tissue). When this occurs, just like a lawn not fertilized without sun and water, the cellular tissue will fatigue. This is a subconscious (autonomic nervous system) response to trauma.
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 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. Manual treatments with ultrasonic sound waves help relieve the area of disruption and restore the nervous system balance
Trigger Points (soft tissue damage)
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, and decreased work tolerance in muscle group.
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 and massage together relieve muscle spasms and frees constricted blood vessels. This allows normal blood flow to carry nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.
Anxiety and Stress
Disturbance of all functions caused by stress and anxiety will also create a disconnection (like a wire that has been cut to a power source) to the brain via the spinal cord. Restoring this connection is the 1st step before all else can be accomplished.
NMT has been known to help other conditions such as:
- Peripheral Neuropathy (fibromyalgia and auto immune disorders)
- Cluster headaches and migraines
- Insomnia / sleep disorders
- MS (Multiple sclerosis)
Five STEPS of NMT Rehabilitation
Long-term nerve / muscle recovery depends on adherence to the sequence of each treatment stage with completion of each step before going to the next. It’s a program and may take up to a few weeks to feel a difference. Everyone is different and the time varies which means you must be committed.
1. Therapy to eliminate pain and create soft tissue regeneration
Repetitive sessions of mixed therapies to start the deep tissue healing process
2. Correction of structural problems to restore all balance
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, brain and spinal cord connections, and overall mental awareness to determine where the force should be.
3. Restoration of flexibility and re-education of neurological pathways
By adding passive and active stretch techniques to these treatment plans, NMT increases flexibility, ROM, and re-educates neuromuscular structure for enhanced performance.
4. Restoration of strength
After the first three stages, the muscle group is ready for strengthening through methods like band work, TPT, aquatherapy, and ART.
5. Building endurance
Endurance means the body is now reprogrammed and it’s now able to repeat on it’s own what was once guided. This stage helps prevent re-injury, build tone, and enhances the posture with sessions designed to fit the previous issue on a maintenance program.