Saturday, March 1, 2008

What is A Neuromuscular Massage?

Neuromuscular massage is applied to a specific point in the body. It is usually used in order to relieve tension and pain in the patient. Results are accomplished by focusing on one muscle group, so that the massage therapist can find the tension point and relieve stress in your body. This in turn will reduce pain.

This type of therapy is applied to individual muscles, and is a form of deep tissue massage. It is often used after trauma to muscles and soft tissue. It helps to release pressure on the nerves, which can be caused by injury. This massage therapy will also increase the blood flow, which further reduces pain.

Neuromuscular massage works on intense knots of tense muscle that are radiating pain to other parts of the body. The massage releases these trigger points and eases the pain in various parts of the body. This type of massage therapy is often very helpful for lower back pain, especially when it is caused by muscle strain.

There are 5 elements that cause pain. Neuromuscular massage addresses the following:

Ischemia: when blood is not flowing to soft tissues, they become very sensitive to the touch

Trigger Points: when muscles become irritated and pain starts radiating out to other parts of the body.

Nerve Compression or Entrapment: There is pressure on the nerve caused by soft tissue, bone or cartilage.

Postural Distortion: the muscles get imbalanced, and are not moving correctly

Biomechanical Dysfunction: the entire musculoskeletal system gets off balance due to improper use of the muscles.

Techniques used in neuromuscular massage:

The therapist will give alternating levels of pressure on the area where the patient is experiencing muscle spasm. The fingers, knuckles and elbow are usually used. The pressure should only be done for ten to thirty seconds.

When muscle is in spasm, (tightened in a knot) it will be very painful to the touch. This is primarily caused by lack of blood flow. This sets off a chain of events; due to lack of blood flow the muscles are not receiving enough oxygen. Lactic acid is produced due to oxygen deficiency. The lactic acid will cause pain in the muscle after activity.

When the muscle is relaxed by massage therapy, the lactic acid will be released, and the blood and oxygen start to flow to the muscle. This in turn will give relief to the patient. At first, the pressure of the massage will be a little painful, but as the treatment continues, the symptoms will be relieved. It is important to drink adequate amounts of water to aid this process.

After about 24-36 hours, the pain and soreness should subside. The patient should experience relief for at least 7-14 days, as the muscles should remain relaxed for that period. This is a very useful form of massage therapy and can be used for athletes or anyone suffering from the after affects of trauma or muscle strain.

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