Neuromuscular Sports Therapy: What it is. How to Utilize it. The Basics
What is Neuromuscular Sports Therapy and why would anyone want to use something that hard to say? Well, the best way to look at any modality is: Does it affect my organs, my structure (bones) or my tissues such as muscles and nerves. Then the next step is which area of focus will the chosen therapy affect the most.
For affects on the organs two of the most prominently chosen forms of care are load bearing movements in a workout and your medical doctor. For affects on the structure, once again, a great workout, a chiropractor or an orthopedist. The third focus, tissues, are challenged to adapt by a great workout and a practitioner knowledgeable in manipulation of soft tissue. Muscle and fascia. The two great connections in these three areas of your physiology are a great workout and your nervous system.
Challenging your bodies capabilities for adaptation through a workout stimulates changes in your bodies channels of communication. Both bio-chemically and bioelectrically. Whether you workout hard or workout easy it is perceived as stress on the body and the body will adapt to accommodate the current load of “stress” it perceives.
Lets look briefly at what a workout is, how your body perceives it and how it chooses to adapt. I have always utilized the word “Sport” in the description of my treatments as that is the primary focus for my business interests. I work with people who have a focus on challenging their bodies through athletic activity. Their chosen interest: be it CrossFit, Marathon, Triathlon, Swimming, Diving, Tennis, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Dance etc. constantly keeps their physiology at enhanced levels. They challenge their bodies. I help alleviate imbalances through soft tissue therapy.
Now, lets flip it around to an individual who, for whatever lifetime reasons, does not work out, at all, other than daily activities to survive. Some people train to accept and work with greater and greater loads of weights. That is one end of the spectrum of adaptation. The other end is the individual who has to train their body to become largely immobilized for long periods of time. Sitting for periods of 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours or more. Both arenas cause the body to alter its metabolism, its overall balance of muscle tension and the utilization of hydration and nutrition. The brain only perceives the “state” of the tissue and adapts accordingly.
Where does neuromuscular sports therapy fall in to place for the entire spectrum of physiologic adaptation? Simply, throughout the entire range. It does not matter if your muscles are overly challenged from the stresses of load bearing work or the need to immobilize for great lengths of time or anywhere in between. I strained a muscle using 145 lbs in a workout is not perceived any differently by your brain than a strained muscle from immobilized posture or “ I was in an accident and my muscles have never been the same since.”
Therapeutic manipulation of muscle takes advantage of the properties of the muscle itself. Muscle can only do one thing. It can only contract or “not contract”. When the brain, through the nervous system, perceives stress it generally requires muscle to “protect itself” and the muscle responds in kind and contracts. If a great enough load isput on the muscle it will alter it’s base line tone and developed enhanced tension. This is the body and brain working together to keep your structure in alignment so that you can walk in a straight line. Keep your eyes level and square. And, generally function to survive to your greatest advantage every day. When the baseline muscle tone is altered that is when muscle pain is perceived. The constant contraction, from the normal state of the tissue, begins to cause changes in the flow of blood supplied to the muscle. The capillary bed is squeezed by the tissue. Normal levels of oxygen, nutrition and water are no longer available to the tissue. This makes the muscle send out a pain signal to the brain and the nervous signal back to the tissue requires it to protect itself. The only way a muscle can protect itself is to contract. Increasing the amount of contraction, over time, causes a greater decrease in the flow of blood and the negative cycle of pain continues. Not a great protective cycle of the body. Yet, it believes it is protecting itself so it will continue until? Until the tissue itself is stimulated to not contract and the cycle of pain communication is interrupted. This is where therapeutic manipulation can assist tremendously.
By taking advantage of the way your body communicates bio-mechanically, bioelectrically and bio-chemically neuromuscular therapy effects the positive cycles of communication through the alleviation of restricted tissue and enhancing the circulation of blood. My particular techniques have been developed over 10 years of practice. And yes, for the jokers reading this article, I am still practicing. If I ever get to be professional let me know. I employ treatments to focused areas of pain and restriction. These points are commonly called pain points and trigger points. However, a key to enhancing the bodies properties is to not only addressing the focused points but the entire muscle or group of muscles affected by the restrictions of the traumatized tissue. Relief of the structure; be it cervical, shoulder, lumbar or hip is the philosophy I employ with my techniques. I find that the balancing of a structure provides the greatest amount of affect in letting the body begins its own process of re-balancing the tension of the muscles.
Now for the perfect balance after a soft-tissue treatment. What? There’s more? Yes, there is. All of the responses elicited by a good soft-tissue treatment help hit the re-set button for muscle. Adhesion is alleviated, tension is relieved and trigger points have been nullified. Circulation is now enhanced. All good stuff! However, it is never one thing but finding the “tools” that work best for you to keep your body in a better state of preparedness to adapt to any given environment. The amplified circulation restored to your tissues is just that amplified. It will now have an opportunity to return to normal.
However, another term for amplified, or shall we say enhanced, circulation is “Inflammation” . It is caused with good intent but when the primary effects of the treatment wear off the remaining blood and intracellular fluid are now inflammation.
The best and most effective treatment to enhance the healing process at this point is the wonder of Cryotherapy! Cold has been used for millenia. From a cold towel compress and hopping into an ice cold mountain stream, the Swiss, Norwegians and Swede’s using a hot sauna and then a naked roll in the snow to the modern day Polar Bear clubs that jump into frozen lakes. Can you say “Ouch!!” I can cause I am a guy.
In our world of advancement and adaptation we now have one of the best systems known in history for gaining all the flushing and healing advantages of cold. It is the overall application of cold by means of Cryotherapy. The ability to control the flow of cold surrounding the body by means of nitrogen gas has never been rivaled. The benefits of systemic flushing, cleansing and cell restoration are far reaching by using the Cryo approach. This is where a therapeutically controlled environment, as is The IceBox, can provide yet another safe, effective total means to assisting your body in recovering your genetically programmed ability to keep your body in the best functional shape possible!
The human body is a fascinating cavalcade of tissues and organs with a truly infinite array of responses. Take that one thought further and please realize that these responses are generalized among human beings. However, each individuals perceptions and physiological responses are unique to the individual themselves. We are each normal in a very customized way and each individual needs to have their treatments customized to their needs.
I hope some of these thoughts have been helpful. If you have questions or are in need of a consultation please feel free to contact me. My business is HCVI Consultations. I am Brian Fox. I can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-808-4915. Many thanks for your interest!