Some people say that in life, timing is everything. This is especially true when it comes to our muscular system.
Our muscles are designed to work in specific patterns of contraction and relaxation. We refer to this as neuromuscular firing. It refers to the loop of nerve firing-muscle contraction-nerve firing. Many so-called "weak" or "tight" muscles are not actually weak or tight at all—it’s a reflection of the underlying neuromuscular reflexes.
For example, you may have very tight hamstring muscles. Yet all the stretching in the world isn’t helping to stretch them out. Or you may have weak rotator cuff muscles, yet your weight training program isn’t making them stronger.
If your muscle firing patterns are disrupted, it can cause certain muscles to be overactive, or tight, as they try to compensate for the “weak” or underactive muscles. This can cause chronic pain, or prevent you from fully recovering from your injury. In fact, sometimes, traditional physical therapy and weight training programs only reinforce the underlying dysfunction. (This is one reason why traditional physical therapy fails.)
Neuromuscular retraining (NMR) is a very specific type of rehabilitation that seeks to identify and treat the underlying neuromuscular firing abnormalities. With NMR we look not just at how strong you are, but also the sequence in which your muscles are contracting. This critical piece of rehabilitation is often overlooked, or unknown by many physical therapists.
At Valley Sports Physicians, we are dedicated to providing you with the very best rehabilitation available. We spend a lot of time and money sending our therapists (and even our physicians!) to the special training courses and seminars to learn how to identify and treat neuromuscular firing abnormalities.
NMR therapy involves very subtle—but critically important—movement retraining exercises to teach and train your body to begin using its muscles more effectively and efficiently. But just as important as what your therapist does, is what you do at home—your therapy “homework.” Your therapist will show you specific NMR exercises. But if you don’t do your homework, therapy will fail.