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Muscle Imbalance

Combinations of muscle weakness and tightness cause musculoskeletal pain. The most difficult part of treatments are to the muscles that become inhibited, (restrained, blocked, or suppressed) because this requires patients to perform exercise at home on there own. Muscle inhibition is common in the neck, low back, and extremities.

Inhibition refers to the inability of a muscle to contract fully on demand. This inhibition is a neurological response and manifests particularly at the extreme ranges of motion – when the muscle is contracted fully. A muscle may have strength at the mid-range, but be very weak when moved into a shortened position; this creates instability at the joint. When the body senses instability, other muscles tighten up as a form of protection. To improve these muscle and joint imbalances I expect my clients to perform the exercises that I prescribe as part of my treatments.

Inhibitied muscles usually generate hypertonicity/tight muscles in adjacent regions of the body (low back & hip, neck & shoulders)). In other words, the relationship between weak and tight muscles is reciprocal. Inhibition is frequently found in muscles resulting from injury, inflammation or pain and that inhibition or weakness leads to reciprocal facilitation of its antagonist(s) muscles.

When a muscle has been over-stressed or over-worked, the result is altered feedback from the nervous system. This causes a reduced capability for the muscle to contract, from the instability through full physiological range. The end result is an inability for the muscles to properly stabilize joints. This is a major point that I want you to understand. I teach you stability (strength) exercises to train the weakened muscles to hold the joints in place again.

Again, please understand, hypertonicity in a muscle leads to blockage(s) or weaknesses in other muscles close by. Inhibited (weak) muscles are capable of spontaneous strengthening when the inhibitory reflex is identified and remedied (most commonly through joint or soft-tissue manipulation).

Muscle hypertonicity/tightness/spasm generates inhibition in surrounding regions of the body, and so spasm is treated first using the Deep Muscle Stimulator, warm laser, manipulation and deep soft tissue massage therapy.

The inhibited (weak) muscles are treated with exercise, rocker boards, wobble boards, and other tools. I prefer to teach clients bodyweight exercises, resistance band exercises, stability ball maneuvers and kettlebell training.

I pay a lot of attention to posture because the postural muscles tend to be short, tight and usually hypertonic. This is why some times I will teach you to stretch, and other times I will teach you to strengthen your muscles.

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