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 applied 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 massage session and is often used in a combination with mainstream medicine, chiropractic care, and alternative medicine.
The Method NMT also considers the factors that can be associated with your complaints. If a client were presenting with shoulder pain, then the protocol for primary examination would be the" upper extremity protocol". Additionally, the muscles that cross the shoulder 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 well-being, joint pathology, nutritional components, allergies, and other elements that may present as myofascial pain. The majority of factors that result in pain and dysfunction are easily grouped into three categories, psychosocial, biomechanical, and biochemical factors. 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 me to explore muscle tissue in detail. In some cases, I may use my 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. I can 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.
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.
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