6 Benefits of Neurokinetic Therapy: Revolutionary Rehabilitation for Injuries and Chronic Pain
The benefits of Neurokinetic Therapy (often called NKT) is a type of natural therapeutic system that aims to correct learned movements and muscle functions within the body that can contribute to poor posture, joint tenderness, and muscle pain.
Regarded as a “bodywork modality” of healing, similar to massage therapy or chiropractic adjustments, for example, NKT is often used in rehabilitation settings to treat injuries and chronic pain.
The NeuroKinetic Therapy® Corrective Movement System was first created by a man named David Weinstock in the mid-1980s.
He created this unique system of precise muscle testing and adjustment to help correct muscle and movement memories that were stored in the region of the brain that is responsible for learned motor control.
NKT practitioners now work with clients around the world to help reduce problems like common running injuries and carpel tunnel syndrome, which are often made worse by dysfunctional muscle compensations.
What other types of bodily compensation could eventually cause us pain? These include muscle compensation triggered by trauma, improper exercise, or compensation when walking or lifting to reduce fatigue.
NKT practitioners first identify where their clients’ muscles are behaving abnormally, and then help them restore balance and function through failure and repetition.
Research regarding the efficacy and applications of NKT is still in its early stages. The ‘interconnectedness of the body and the relationship between the different nervous/muscular / tissue systems have become the focus of a great deal of emerging research.
We can expect to see much more formal research conducted in the years to come regarding the use of holistic bodywork modalities.
The main goal of NKT is to reduce pain and tension in overworked muscles, which become damaged and fatigued due to learned compensation patterns.
Soft tissue manipulations can help stretch painful or tight areas and even correct posture, but in a short period, the memories stored in the MCC can cause stiffness and pain to return when the “strong muscle” continues to compensate. in excess to the weakest.
Other treatments, such as deep tissue massage and myofascial release, can help reduce muscle tension by improving blood flow, removing scar adhesions, and reducing stress.
But essentially, the tension is likely to return if therapy does not correct the underlying causes of the tight muscles.
The benefits of neurokinetic therapy are often used to help treat patients recovering from accidents, trauma or impact, and sports injuries.
This can include neck strains, whiplash, concussions, and spinal problems that cause back pain.
Due to offsets/overuse, accidents are often related to headaches/migraines, bulging discs, nerve damage, numbness, and trouble sleeping.
The benefits of Neurokinetic Therapy for those recovering from injuries include:
• Long-lasting pain relief, improved muscle relaxation, and reduced tension
• Protection against future pain that returns due to old injuries
• Reduction of swelling, spasms, and tenderness
• Return of normal range of motion, functionality, and strength
One study found that runners often experience reduced functional range of motion and frequent injuries due to offsets.
Offsets can cause greater impact and greater load/pressure on certain muscles and joints within the legs, hips, and feet.
Compensatory behaviors affect bone and soft tissue structures that can cause athletes to experience conditions such as heel spurs, arthritic pain, mechanical hip pain, plantar fasciitis, and other compensatory disabilities or disorders.
The benefits of Neurokinetic Therapy that apply to athletes include:
• Improved balance, posture, and coordination
• Spasm reduction
• Greater range of motion, strength, and endurance
• Faster muscle recovery with less fatigue or sensitivity
A common overuse/compensation injury seen in some athletes, including soccer players, was recently the focus of a study.
They tested how chronic adductor injury caused abnormal muscle activation in the athletes’ hips.
The research found that the gluteus medius to adductor longus activation ratio was significantly reduced in soccer players with groin pain compared to those without injury.
Athletes with groin pain showed 20-40 percent less movement due to decreased abductor muscle activation.
Other research has shown that similar adductor stresses are common among athletes who repeatedly perform “push” movements and twists with the hips, thereby compensating with other muscles, including those involved in soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis, figure skating. , baseball and martial arts.
Research shows that people who have experienced back or neck pain in the past have a 3-6 times greater risk of re-experiencing / suffering pain than those who have no history.
People with arthritic pain, athletes, people who have had accidents, and others who have experienced persistent stiffness in the neck or lumbar spine often develop compensations that help them move and recover.
However, it has been found that decreased range of motion of the lumbar spine can contribute to ongoing poor conditioning, excessive load on the spine, incorrect repetitive movements, and muscle tension in the neck.
Muscle strains are believed to be the most common causes of neck and back pain, especially in athletes.
Limited pelvic mobility can put stress on the lower back, while limited hip internal rotation is associated with symptomatic lumbar spine pain.
Research shows that back pain due to offsets is common in twisting and hyperextension sports, such as gymnastics, diving, and soccer.
Pain in the shoulder, upper back, and neck can also be triggered by overuse and impact, and then persist due to offsets.
The benefits of Neurokinetic Therapy are now used to help treat pain associated with muscle abnormalities and tension in the shoulders, upper back, jaw, and neck. These include:
• Frozen shoulder
• Headaches and migraines
• Rotator cuff pain or injury
• Other overuse and overuse injuries of the shoulder
The shoulders are very susceptible to wear and tear caused by overuse and repetitive stress. Research shows that “shock syndromes” in the shoulders (overuse) are mainly caused by instability of the glenohumeral joint, often due to repetitive movements that change static and dynamic muscle stabilizers.
Some shoulder injuries are linked to dysfunction of the triceps and lats, two powerful humeral extensors. When they are working too hard, they can limit flexion in the humerus.
NKT treatments can reduce stresses from overuse and help correct poor postural/poor biomechanics applied while playing tennis, golf, computer work, weight lifting, etc.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is characterized by numbness in the palm and fingers, usually along with grip weakness.
Sometimes those with severe CTS must have multiple surgeries on the same wrist, but surgery does not always correct the problem or pain.
Overuse of the hands/fingers is the main cause of CPS, and compensations/stress to the nerves in the neck, shoulder, and elbow are also believed to play a role in its development.
Forcing the finger flexors (muscles in the forearm and palm) can compress the median nerve in the hand, which is where NKT can be used.
By reducing offsets in nearby muscles, carpal tunnel relief is achieved because tension can be lifted off the hand or arm that is overused.
Neurokinetic therapy is considered very safe for most patients when performed by a trained professional, but be aware that many forms of movement therapy have not been as thoroughly investigated in conventional treatments.
People who show signs of being very ill (fever, dizziness, swelling, and large amounts of inflammation) in addition to being in pain should always see a doctor to rule out other causes, such as infections.
Movement therapies that use intense manipulation or stretching of the deeper layers of body tissue are not suitable for people who have recently had surgery or have been seriously injured.
If you have suffered a serious injury or have emotional or psychiatric disorders, consult a doctor before beginning to work with an alternative therapist or stop taking your medications.
NKT is based on observations that certain parts of the body compensate for other weaker parts of the body.
Essentially, muscles or tissues can weaken and “shut down” after an injury, while others are forced to work overtime and compensate for their deficiencies.
This concept is known as the “muscle compensation patterns” of the body. These patterns are seen in people who experience noticeable weakness and pain, but often also appear to some degree in those who are generally healthy and strong.
As a type of manipulative bodywork that is related to the Active Release Technique, NKT is based on a chiropractic technique called Applied Kinesiology, which uses touch and adjustments to help the body heal itself.
Before using any Applied Kinesiology technique, a professional must first test his client’s reaction to a type of movement, posture, pressure, or substance to see how they react, to observe their weaknesses.
Weinstock discovered that muscle compensation patterns are stored in a part of the brain responsible for muscle and movement memories, called the cerebellum.
Muscle tests may be used to help reveal incorrect movements stored in the cerebellum that are contributing to pain or postural abnormalities.
• The cerebellum is sometimes thought of as “the body’s control center for all motor skills” (in NKT, it is often called the Motor Control Center, or MCC).
It plays a crucial role in helping us become fully functioning adults who can perform many movements automatically (such as grasping, walking, bending, or pulling things towards our bodies) without much thought.
• The cerebellum is connected to all muscles through the somatic nervous system, which is a series of nerve channels that carry chemical messages through your body related to your senses, location in space, and movements.
• Although the memories stored in the cerebellum allow us to do many tasks subconsciously and automatically, we must still learn these behaviors and movements through trial and error.
Babies and children slowly develop muscle memories as they grow, and the cerebellum (along with other parts of their brain) stores these memories like a computer so that we can eventually perform them on “automatic pilot.”
• Motion memories are normally extremely helpful and beneficial but can become problematic after injury or overuse.
When a muscle is overused or stretched, the body adapts by creating muscle offsets.
These offsets are stored in the Motor Control Center and can be difficult to break without precise interventions.
• Movement patterns can be faulty or dysfunctional, causing pain due to imbalance, overuse, or overload of tissues. Pain itself is not always at the site of dysfunction, it is simply the result of faulty compensations.
• The goal of NKT, therefore, is to repeat the corrected muscle movements.
An NKT practitioner is similar to a physical therapist in that he helps patients to practice movements over and over with proper form.
Finally, these corrected movements replace the incorrect muscle offsets and are stored in the MCC for future use.
Neurokinetic Therapy is beneficial for both young and old, sedentary and very active. It is commonly performed on athletes, dancers, those recovering from accidents, and orthopedic patients.
Some of the conditions that NKT can be used to help correct and heal include:
• Injuries caused by trauma or impact (such as car accidents)
• Lumbar pain
• Neck and jaw pain (including whiplash and TMJ)
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Injuries including strains, tears, and pulls (to the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, wrists, etc.)
• Plantar fasciitis
• Bursitis and tendonitis
• Pain caused by improper form and compensations developed during athletics/exercise
NeuroKinetic Therapy practitioners begin a series of sessions with clients by first testing their muscles.
They look to see if the client’s anterior muscles are weak and thus causing offsets in other muscles. This is the case for many painful conditions and injuries.
To learn how to correct the underlying muscle functions that contribute to these conditions, a “localized muscle test” should be performed.
• Manual muscle testing (also called therapy localization) is done to assess the strength of a muscle.
The NeuroKinetic Therapy test is performed on a very specific protocol to identify which part of the body is contributing to pain or injury.
Muscle ratio is often a problem, as when one muscle is inhibited, the opposite/corresponding muscle works too hard.
• The tests are often more difficult than it sounds because a strong muscle could be compensating for a weak muscle and therefore a weak/damaged muscle could still appear ‘strong’.
In NKT, the suspected weak muscle is tested first and then the suspected strong muscle is tested second.
• The goal is to find the precise and localized place where compensation occurs to release the tight muscle, reestablish the weak muscle, and reprogram the relationship between the two within the MCC.
• Neurokinetic Therapy is a body healing system based on the correction of muscle compensations that develop when certain weak muscles are inhibited, forcing other muscles to work excessively.
• NKT first tests for an abnormal compensation pattern that can contribute to pain or stiffness then uses specific repetitive movements to re-teach the body how to perform movements correctly and store them in memory.
• The benefits of NKT include: reduction of headaches, neck or back pain, decreased symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment of trauma or injury, and helps reduce shoulder, wrist, knee, and elbow injuries
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