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Posted on 12-22-2010
What would you consider to be a standard of health? Flexibility. Musculoskeletal, chemical and emotional flexibility. You're born loose and you die stiff. Loss of motion in between is a loss of vitality, and loss of function. Maybe just at microtraumatic/microscopic level most of the time, but it adds up to a point where either you injure yourself pushing your newly restricted limits of joint and tissue tensile strength, or you find you just can't do which he used to do and you don't know where it went.
The key to understanding the technique I use,called Neuromuscular Reeducation, is knowing about adhesions. When an area is injured, whether it's muscle, connective tissue, fascia, tendon or some combination of these elements (as most injuries are) the body handles this inflammatory response of the tissues to trauma, the only way it knows how, through hyperplasia of the affected tissue followed by a fibrous healing, the laying down of a less elastic, second grade, poorly vascularized scar tissue to protect the involved areas. Adhesions form wherever damage and inflammation have occurred. They limit both strength and range of motion. It can be thought of as a K mart grade of connective tissue. This response occurs whether you take anti-inflammatory medication or not.
Every muscle in the body is surrounded by a smooth facial sheath, (connective tissue) every muscular fascicule and fibril are surrounded by fascia that can exert pressures of over 2000 pounds per square inch. Neuromuscular Reeducation is a hands on approach to the evaluation, and structural and functional treatment of the human body and its injuries. Every time we experience a trauma, undergo an inflammatory process or even suffer from poor posture, the body adapts, restricting the fascial layers as well as the range of motion of the involved joints.
There may be an overall range of free movement, but at a joint or segmental level, irregular biomechanics are being set up by the restrictions. They frequently act like layers of onion; as one set of adhesions is removed, we slowly begin to lose our physiological adaptive capacity. We further lose our flexibility and spontaneity of motion, which sets us up for trauma, pain or restriction of motion.
These adhesions pull us out of a three-dimensional orientation with gravity. As a muscle tendon begins to stretch and encounters an adhesion, the muscle contracts to prevent any further stretching and to protect the area involved. The result is that the muscles involved are not as strong and the range of motion is limited in the involved joint. Adhesions can affect areas that are quite small, sometimes just a few muscle fibers, and other times there can be a number of areas like that scattered throughout a muscle group. If adhesions prevent a muscle from reaching proper extension, the increased stress on the tendons can contribute to tendinitis.
Feeling the adhesion is only part of the battle with patients. Each person has a subtle, complex and unconscious perception of his or her body. When you have pain and limitation of motion due to an injury, you adapt your body image to fit that limitation. This unconscious mental adaptation often persist long after the injury has been resolved. Patients may often limp for weeks or months after a hip or leg problem has been eliminated, so an important part of the treatment is in making the patient's aware so that they can adapt their new behavior to the new physical reality.
At Jennings Chiropractic Neurology Clinic we have a greater understanding of the nervous system and how these compensatory mechanisms are controlled. Useful tools include spinal and extremity manipulations, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical rehab, and brain based exercises.
An example of these scar tissue is to consider a tough piece of meat. Typically one needs to pound the meat or tenderize it, to break down the adhesions. Even then the meat is very tough to chew and mostly used in a stew. This is in comparison to a piece of veal which is nice and tender and absent any scar tissue. One of the best parts of this technique is that active people get better faster. It is really a long-term project with the exception of major tears and other injuries people.
I was first introduced to this technique in 2005 shortly after relocating to the Bay Area of California. I called on a fellow Chiropractic Neurologist to give me a tuneup spinal adjustment. He introduced me to Neuromuscular Reeducation and I underwent several treatment sessions for my old rugby and football injuries. I had never let any injuries or restrictions prevent me from doing any activities that I wanted to do. However I could see in a short period of time that I was definitely looser. I signed up for the weekend course where participants worked hands-on each other. At the end of this weekend chronic nagging lower back discomfort that I had experienced for probably 20 years was gone. My flexibility was improved, my legs looser, I ran faster and was able to lift more weights as when I was much younger.
I am currently involved with a lot of running and continue to lift weights. I can feel when my knees start to act up that I need to do more work on my thigh muscles, a.k.a. quadriceps. I have incorporated this technique into my chiropractic neurology practice and fine that patients get better much faster. I've yet to meet a person that did not have improved range of motion and decreased pain perception in only one treatment.
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