What is Neuromuscular Reeducation?
Neuromuscular reeducation is a hands-on technique designed to evaluate muscular imbalances and provide functional treatment for soft-tissue injuries. Every muscle in the body is surrounded by a smooth fascial sheath which is like a strong bag of thin tissue that holds the muscle, every muscular fiber is also surrounded by fascia. When an area is injured, whether its muscle, connective tissue, fascia, tendon or some combination of these elements, the body handles this injury through a process called inflammation. Inflammation leads to hyperplasia (an increase in the number of cells found in a tissue) of the affected area followed by a fibrous healing, the laying down of a less elastic, second grade, poorly vascularized scar tissue to protect the involved areas. This less elastic tissue forms adhesions, while beneficial at maintaining muscle structure decreases muscle function since it is not as elastic as the original tissue. Adhesions occur wherever damage and inflammation have occurred. Adhesions limit both strength and range of motion for the patient.
Once there is fibrous healing these adhesions pull the muscle causing it to become tight. As a muscle tendon begins to stretch and encounters an adhesion, the muscle contracts to prevent further stretching and protect the area involved. Contraction can also put pressure on nerve endings resulting in deep muscle pain. The muscles involved in this process are not as strong and the range of motion is limited in the involved joint. Adhesions can affect areas that are quite small, sometimes just a few muscle fibers, and other times there can be a number of areas scattered throughout a muscle group.
Neuromuscular reeducation seeks to break apart scar tissue and facilitate proper detoxification through a series of hands on therapies. Dr. Lee can also utilize acupuncture in conjunction with the neuromuscular reeducation-release technique to help restore muscle function to the fullest extent.
Removing the adhesion is only one part of the treatment since every person has a subtle, complex and unconscious perception of their own body. When there is limitation of motion from an injury the body adapts to the limitation by changing its posture to compensate. The reeducation component of treatment seeks to bring the body back into balance, prevent further injury and return the patient back to their normal range of motion.
What to Expect
Neuromuscular reeducation works on the involved joints and their interconnecting fascias by stimulating proper range of motion and breaking apart adhesions of scar tissue. Many people find that neuromuscular reeducation feels like a massage where the joint is in motion. Sometimes bruising of the muscle can occur due to the breaking of adhesions and there may be some discomfort after the first visit. Patients often experience reduced pain and increased range of motion after the second or third visit. Neuromuscular reeducation is often performed on a weekly basis with the patient stretching in between visits. Proper diet and lifestyle modifications are also made to maximize treatment and ensure that the muscles are healing properly.