Do you have pain? What is pain? What is the source of your pain? Pain has been described in several different ways. There is physical pain that we are all too familiar with. There is emotional pain, mental pain, and there is even phantom pain, which is pain of a part of the body that no longer exists. There are many different reasons that pain can exist. Some people will get pain in there stomach because they’ve just been scared, stressed or upset.
The pain I’d like to talk about is physical pain that exists within the muscular skeletal system and many times goes undiagnosed by the medical community even after much of the best examination and testing. We all know if a part of your body has been damaged or injured and that damage can be recognized by MRI’s, X-rays, Ultrasound or some other method, that is a good reason to have pain in your knee for instance. But what about when you’ve had pain in your shoulder, knee, hip, back, foot or lower leg and you’ve done all the testing and have seen all the doctors and no one can come up with a reason for your pain or resolve it?
The above mentioned are probably the majority of people who come to me, as a last resort after exhausting all other possibilities. There are many many times I see people who have had either acute or chronic pain and have completely exhausted themselves trying to solve and figure out why it exists. *(Disclaimer) (I am not a doctor or medical practitioner of any sort; I am not offering medical advice, diagnosing or treating any medical conditions. I am simply a personal trainer with an engineering background who has been highly trained in the human nuero-muscular system, and the bio-mechanics of muscular-skeletal system.) But I digress! I have been trained to recognize muscular weaknesses that are present because of a lack of full capability to communicate with the brain or the brain to communicate with the muscle, or a nuero-muscular deficit. This condition can be present for many different reasons. It can be caused by a traumatic incident such as a fall or auto accident. It can be caused by many years of bad posture or lack of use of some musculature. It can even be caused by overuse. Overuse is the cause I see most often because I see many endurance athletes, golfers, weight lifters, and the like.
What happens in the people I’ve described above is they have had a muscle/s stop working the way it originally did which then causes a muscular imbalance across the joint it affects. If a muscle/s whose job it is to properly control a joint lose their ability to do so then that joint will then begin to function improperly or in an unbalanced manner. Imagine one of the front tires/wheel of your car being jarred off to one side after hitting a pot hole in the road. I know that’s hard to imagine in Houston! Not only will that make your car handle slightly different but it’s going to put stresses on the tire and all connective mechanisms that control it. Now you will still be able to drive your car and after a while may even get use to the way it handles differently but the tire is going to begin to wear much more rapidly and in a place that the tire wasn’t really meant to take so much stress. This is the same thing that happens to our joints when muscles have become inhibited across a joint that they are supposed to keep in alignment. So undue wear will begin at some point on that joint and begin to cause unexplained inflammation and wear. This could take days or it could take years and is highly dependent on the amount of use this joint gets. Then pain ensues and you begin to wonder why because nothing you can think of really happened!
Another reason I see people in pain from scenarios like that mentioned above is due to something called the law of reciprocal innervation. Which simply states that, when a muscle of the body is stimulated are contracted the apposing muscle or antagonist must relax. In our application (MAT) we see or find a muscle or muscles that have become weakened so in response an apposing muscle/s has become tight, chronically tight. If this tightness remains for a prolonged period of time that muscle and/or its attachment points will become painful. Typically this tightness is treated by massage, acupuncture, stretching, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers and a myriad of other techniques and treatments only to have the tight condition persist. With Muscle Activation Technique we have found that if the weakened muscle/s are returned to their proper neurological ability (strength) this corresponding tightness will begin to disappear and in many cases immediately.
If you’ll notice in the knee image to the left, the drawing is illustrating damage to the cartilage on the medial side (inside) of the knee. If the muscles on the lateral side (outside) of the knee had been injured at some point in time (let’s say from a bicycle crash) then these muscles would no longer be able to support the lateral side of the knee, correspondingly the muscles on the inside of the knee would likely tighten up to try to improve stability of the knee. While the medial musculature is left alone to try to stabilize the knee this also causes excess force on the contact surfaces of this portion of the knee which will begin to cause premature wear and damage as seen in the image.
While it would be nice to never have muscles become traumatized and neurologically weakened that is likely not possible for most people especially those who are really active. For those who have had trauma and weakness it would be best to locate the weakened muscles and correct them as soon as possible. The best case scenario in the real world would be to have all muscles checked periodically to make sure none have been weakened for a very long period of time hopefully preventing permanent damage to the joint. This is what Muscle Activation Technique can do for you !
Have any questions? Comments?