Neuromuscular techniques utilise the nervous system via precise pressure and active stimulus in order to help ‘reset’ areas of constriction, and allowing other areas to be strengthened.
It is an approach to treatment that is both a detailed assessment of the soft tissues in an area and also stimulates blood flow to those tissues preparing them for other techniques. It is an excellent way to find trigger points and can flow into treatment of these points and back into assessment mode smoothly.
When performing this technique we like to get full conscious involvement of the client, so that they may become more familiar with their body, which helps to become more aware of their movement and posture in the rehabilitation process.
NMT Ischaemic Compression
There is a method which gets called neuromuscular technique used by sports massage and other therapists. This involves fairly strong pressure being applied to tender and tight points and asking the client to breathe deeply ‘into’ the pain, or waiting for the tendernbess t subside and then increase the pressure to a degree. These methods are neuromuscular in that they work by altering the body’s perception of pain.
They are related to a techniques called ischaemic compression which uses precisely controlled pressure to literally pump blood and fluids through the tight tender muscle tissue. These manual compressions help because in chronic restrictions including trigger points, lack of circulation can sustain the contracture, and the build up of waste products irritates the nerve endings and then heightens the experience of pain.
Restoring local circulation is therefore very important in reducing discomfort in painful muscles.
Self help tip- Ischaemic compression
- Find a particularly sore or tight point in your bad area
- Squeeze or press it with your fingers
- Alternate squeezing for 5 seconds and releasing for 2 seconds
- repeat for between 1-2 minutes
- normally in that time frame the tenderness will significantly reduce and your range of movement will improve.
Integrated Neuromuscular Inhibition Technique- INIT
This is an osteopathic protocol for the treatment of trigger points, and has a high rate of success restoring function. Ischaemic compression is applied as above until a change is reported by the client, then a positional release is applied to ‘reset’ the neuromuscular system, then a contraction is asked for in the muscles and muscle energy technique used to stretch, returning the muscle to its normal resting length. This is very important to treat the trigger point and keep it from returning.
References and Further reading
- Chaitow L. (2005) Neuromuscular Technique
- Chaitow L. & Delany J. (2005) Clinical application of Neuromuscular techniques Vol 1 & 2
- Travell J. & Simons D. (1998) Myofascial pain and dysfunction: A trigger point manual Vol 1&2.