Physical therapist giving massage and stretching to athlete male

Understanding The Purpose Of Neuromuscular Therapy

NMT, or neuromuscular therapy, is an exhaustive examination and treatment of the soft tissue throughout the body. NMT uses regionally oriented protocols and these are taught in a step-by-step method.

These techniques were built on scientific foundations and guided by evidence from clinical trials. It can be integrated into any setting and is often used in a combination with mainstream medicine, chiropractic care, and integrative medicine.

The Method

NMT also considers the factors that can be associated with the complaints of the client. If a client were presenting with shoulder pain, then the protocol for the primary examination would be the upper extremity protocol. Additionally, the muscles that cross the should joint directly, as well as the muscles that attach the torso and shoulder girdle would be thoroughly examined. This works to ensure the scapula is mobile.

Dysfunction in the hand, forearm, and arm can lead to compensation in shoulder movement, thus those areas would also be examined. Shoulder nerves exit around the cervical region of the spine, so muscles and neck mobility should also be considered, as a trapped nerve could be the root issue.

Other factors to consider would be posture, habits or use, emotional wellbeing, joint pathology, nutritional components, allergies, and other elements that may present as myofascial pain. An astute practitioner has a network of healthcare operatives to refer clients who may have other issues.

The majority of factors that result in pain and dysfunction are easily grouped into three categories, psychosocial, biomechanical, and biochemical factors. Generally, an NMT practitioner will apply the strategy from one category.

The principle of NMT is understanding what is causing the pain, whether it be posture, trigger points, or other issues, and how best that problem can be treated.

The Treatment

It’s an incredibly detailed approach to massaging the connective tissue, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It focuses on releasing problem areas that general massages tend to overlook.

The technique used generally involves the fingertips and thumbs, which allows the practitioner to explore muscle tissue in detail. In some cases, the practitioner may use the forearms and elbows.

When muscles tense, they can form bands of fiber that are tighter than the rest. These areas are known as ischemia and hypertonicity. A reputable practitioner will feel these tight bands of muscle fiber, and once identified they can be treated, thus released.

NMT also includes treatment of internal organs, connective tissue, joints, and the craniosacral system. Problems within any of the body’s systems can result in nerve impulses, resulting in contracting muscles, thus pain.

The goal of neuromuscular therapy is to improve the body’s function, relieve pain, and restore the body’s proper biomechanics.

Therapist giving lower back sports massage to athlete male patie

You can expect the evaluation to include gait analysis, soft tissue palpation, posture analysis, as well as an analysis of biomechanics, flexibility, pelvic, and cranial anatomical structures.

The treatment may include manipulation of the soft tissue, health education, massage, hydrotherapy, stabilization of joints, and myofascial stretching. Muscles in spasm are incredibly painful to the touch, this is as a result of ischemia. This means the muscle isn’t experiencing proper blood flow, which means it isn’t receiving oxygen, which results in lactic acid, which results in pain.

NMT relaxes the muscle, thus releasing the lactic acid to return the muscle to its normal state. Therefore, in some cases it may be initially painful; however, this is part of the treatment, which will ultimately result in less pain.

Once you have had neuromuscular therapy you may be left with some soreness, however, this will dissipate after a maximum of 36 hours. You should notice more relaxed muscles for up to two weeks after treatment, depending on the stress, or type of issue you were dealing with.

NMT is recognized by the American Academy of Pain Management as an effective form of therapy.

Chronic Pain Control

Chronic pain issues go far beyond the pain that someone has to live with and as we discussed previously, neuromuscular therapy can improve the body’s function, relieve pain, and restore the body’s proper biomechanics. Most people don’t realize the toll these issues, especially pain can have on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Pain can be so limiting, affecting working and social lives, and even impacting someone’s ability to take part in the hobbies they hold dearly.

medical-massage-leg-vancouver-massage-centerWe often don’t take pain seriously enough, hoping it will simply pass if we wait long enough, even though it’s a health concern that affects around 100 million Americans today. And it doesn’t just affect the person dealing with the pain, it affects the people around them, too. The AMTA cites studies published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, suggesting that chronic pain has a huge cost to the economy, in lost productivity and health care expenditures; the approximate annual cost to the US is $600 billion.

That is one of the reasons Vancouver Massage Center likes to make and repeat the point – massage is NOT just a luxury, it truly is a medical technique and protocol that can greatly enhance and improve a person’s well-being, life in general and even that f the people around you.

While some pain may leave you feeling untouchable, a massage can be an instrumental tool in making a patient feel better. The body releases endorphins during massage- endorphins, which are amino acids, are essentially our body’s natural painkillers, and they also give us a feeling of wellbeing.

Deep tissue or sports massages concentrate on the deeper layers of muscle, which is excellent in relieving chronic pain. Deep tissue massage may involve the therapist using their knees and elbows, as well as fingers and palms. This works the muscles and the therapist will focus primarily on knotted areas.

Shiatsu massage is also an effective tool, in that the therapist will use their palms and fingers and apply pressure over the body’s meridians. This releases stagnation and illness to improve the flow of energy.

Not to mention that massage’s most healing element is, of course, the human touch. A lot of people dealing with chronic pain don’t have that connection, primarily the elderly. Those suffering from pain and illness need to feel comforted and cared for, and massage is the therapy to do just that.

According to The American Massage Therapy Association new research, shows that massage therapy can offer significant improvement for anxiety, and pain, as well as the quality of life those patients aiming to manage their pain.

Vancouver Massage Center urges you to come in for an evaluation and discussion of how massage might be able to help you overcome pain, stress and other overall “quality of life” deficiencies that you are currently experiencing.

Call us or email us to set up an appointment or, better yet, go ahead and book an appointment with one of our qualified massage therapy staff.

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