The connection between our brain and our muscles is what makes it possible for us to move through the world and perform our everyday activities.
But whether you’ve been in an accident, experienced a stroke, or simply have poor everyday posture, sometimes those connections can misfire, leading to pain and discomfort.
One such technique is neuromuscular reeducation, a process by which you can improve balance, posture, coordination, and kinesthetic sense.
Let’s talk more about it.
What Is Neuromuscular Reeducation?
How your muscles and body move – the speed, the frequency, the coordination, and so on – are controlled by your brain. Your brain sends lightning-fast signals to every part of your body to tell them what to do and how to do it, and with repetition, the patterns of those signals are learned and stored.
But sometimes, those signals get tangled up or interrupted, and that familiar muscle memory can be lost or confused.
Neuromuscular dysfunction can be caused by stroke, brain injury, a neurological disorder, or a musculoskeletal injury. These kinds of problems don’t even have to be sudden or acute – they may come from long-held habits or repetitive strains that, over time, create physical problems.
Aside from the physical pain and mobility challenges, neuromuscular dysfunction can be mentally taxing and emotionally frustrating. You might find it difficult to do things that used to be easy, or perhaps ordinary tasks now seem daunting or stressful.
This is where a physical therapist can help you through neuromuscular reeducation.
How Can Neuromuscular Reeducation Help?
If you’re experiencing pain or injury, your body may try moving in different ways in order to avoid discomfort.
Or perhaps your day to day activities are creating poor physical habits, so that when you try to move a different way, you experience stiffness or pain.
The muscle memory that you developed over years and years can be reconstructed, with the help of neuromuscular reeducation.
You and your physical therapist may work on balance, posture, coordination, and proprioception to retrain the brain and nervous system to communicate better.
Your physical therapist may use a combination of manual techniques, exercises, and activities in order to help retrain your brain and body to communicate and get back in sync.
Neuromuscular issues can affect seniors, making some think of it as a physical therapy treatment discipline for seniors. However, people of all ages can be affected by neuromuscular issues.
Physical imbalances can be caused by the body finding a “new normal” after an injury, whether it’s from sports, a stroke, or a brain injury.
Your body naturally wants to use the affected side less, but that puts more strain on the uninjured side as your body tries to compensate.
Physical therapists train and strengthen your balance system by targeting the inputs and outputs of your vision, vestibular, and somatosensory systems.
From there, your physical therapist will address your specific challenges and design treatment plans based around your particular needs.
This may include vestibular therapy, physical therapy for stroke patients , and a number of other approaches.
Coordination comes from your brain being able to assess your environment and successfully move the appropriate limbs at the appropriate time.
Sports and exercise are obvious situations where coordination is important, which is why physical therapy treatment for running injuries and sports injury prevention is so popular. But there are more mundane activities that require coordination between your brain and body as well.
Daily activities like walking, talking, eating, and writing all depend on your brain’s ability to coordinate muscle movement.
You might be clumsy or accident-prone by nature, or you may lose coordination due to trauma or injury.
In physical therapy, you will work on activities to train your brain and body to work together smoothly, improving function and coordination.
Having good posture is important for keeping your muscles and joints strong and flexible. Over time it can also cause chronic pain issues, which causes many to seek out physical therapy treatments for pain management
A familiar cause of poor posture is an inefficient office setup, perhaps an uncomfortable chair or a computer that’s not at the right height for your body.
You may also experience poor posture due to spinal or pelvic abnormalities, or poor signaling from the brain to the muscles.
Neuromuscular reeducation techniques for posture include joint mobilizations, trunk retraining techniques, muscle strengthening exercises, and corrective taping,
These efforts facilitate feedback to your brain and nervous system for better postural alignment and reduction of pain.
Proprioception refers to the feedback loop between your brain and body that brings in information about where you are in space and determines what kind of movements need to happen when.
It’s connected to your kinesthetic sense, which is your ability to do something without having to think about it.
For example, your brain uses the information it takes in from your skin, joints, and muscles to determine how to move in order to keep your balance while walking.
As the information changes, your brain adjusts the signals it’s sending to your body telling it how to move.
If you are having trouble with proprioception, your physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to train the sensory receptors in your joints.
These exercises help the brain learn to be more aware of the relationship between body and environment.
With this increased awareness, your brain can more efficiently determine what split-second signals to send to your body in order to make the correct movements.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Capitol Physical Therapy’s team of physical therapists are trained in neuromuscular reeducation techniques that can help you retrain your brain and muscles together.
Contact us today to make an appointment and start your journey to reduce pain and improve your neuromuscular function.