Neuromuscular Therapy is a specialized form of manual therapy that works with the nervous system to re-establish a healthy tone in the muscles. Specific tender sites, called “trigger points” are caused when muscles become weak and inhibited.
At the core of the trigger is a muscle spindle (a sensory & motor neuron) that is in trouble for some reason—generally due to being pulled taut and over-stretch. “Visualize a spindle like a strand of yarn in a knitted sweater…a metabolic crisis takes place, which increases the temperature locally, shortens a minute part of the muscle-like a snag in the sweater-and reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the trigger point.” (Travell & Simmons, 1983) The anaerobic nature of this affected area results in further tightening of the muscle spindle and the surrounding muscle tissue. This results in a continued vicious cycle of spasm.
The Neuromuscular therapist must work under the radar of the nervous system to increase circulation to the localized ischemic (oxygen deprived) area as well as using static specific pressure to reset the tone of the muscle spindle. In this circumstance, it is imperative for the therapist and client to have clear communication. To much pressure from the therapist can result in more concentrated and prolonged spasm in the trigger point.