Getting to the Root of Chronic Pain
When it comes to muscle working, chiropractors and other professionals typically focus on loosening or “releasing” muscles. The massage therapist or chiropractor will stretch, massage, or knead whichever muscles they identify as having a limited range of motion. This approach has its merits in relieving chronic pain and tightness but may not always offer a full resolution.
Muscle Activation Techniques approach the issue from the opposite direction. A limited range of motion is a secondary symptom of an imbalance elsewhere in the body. Because the muscular system is highly interconnected, one muscle’s dysfunction often offsets another muscle group as the body’s way to compensate and regain some form of balance. Dr. Knight and Dr. Wells will perform extensive muscle testing in order to identify which muscles are not working properly and which muscles are compensating for the dysfunction. Once we isolate the root of the issue, we begin the process of true recovery, enabling the tight muscles to loosen.
Imagine waking up one morning suddenly unable to bend over and pick up your shoes. When you try to bend, you experience tightness in your hamstrings and lower back, preventing you from completing the task. Recognizing that you have tight muscles, you stretch or get a massage, which provides some relief. The following morning, you find yourself, yet again, unable to bend enough to reach your shoes.
The stretching and massage helped to relieve your symptoms but did not correct the underlying issue. In this scenario, your hamstrings and lower back tighten, preventing you from reaching your shoes, most likely because if you were able to bend over, you may end up with a herniated disc on account of your other muscles being too weak to support your spine.
People often conclude that back pain will go away if the back muscles get stronger. In fact, many physical therapy modalities will focus on building strength in the tight muscles. Unfortunately, strengthening muscles that are already strong (as opposed to their weaker counterparts) may cause the weaker muscles to operate less frequently, contributing to further atrophy and ultimately exacerbating the issue.
AMIT sessions resemble personal training sessions, but instead of a full-body workout, we strengthen the weakest muscles. By doing this, we effectively reduce the likelihood and intensity of muscle compensation. In other words, we use muscle activation techniques to restore symmetry to the body, enabling muscle groups to work together without one overpowering the other. We prioritize freeing your body from “bad habits” it likely picked up during the period of asymmetry. Through repetition and ongoing correction, the muscle system begins to operate more and more effectively.