By Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, credited to aboutmodafinil.com
TREATMENT is not just releasing tight muscles and adjusting the joint. Actually, it is more about restoring COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOUR BRAIN AND PAINFUL BODY PART.
MANUAL THERAPY and EXERCISE PROGRAM can help reconnect your painful body to your brain. It can enhance transmitting NERVE CONDUCTION between peripheral body parts to the brain by stimulating RECEPTORS in your joint and muscles.
Once joint and muscle receptors are awakened by proper stimulation, brain will restore movement map quickly by pulling it out of the previous memory as well as learning from the manual, tactile, verbal cuing guidance and exercise program in the treatment session.
By user:Looie496 created file, US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging created original [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Here is some additional information about benefit of exercise for developing network in the brain. The recent research has shown that exercise triggers the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which helps support the growth of existing brain cells and the development of new ones. BDNF protects neurons from injury and facilitates learning and synaptic plasticity."
Where does pain come from? Why does it keep coming back?
There are lots of external stress on our body such as poor posture, taumatic injuries, physical or psychological stress from activities.
GRAVITY itself is a big stress on our body. If our body doesn't cope with those stress well, accumulated scar tissues, irritated muscles, and poor joint alignment will cause increased pain.
When brain interprets "Something is wrong or dangeous", it increases pain intensity even though it is not objectively strong stress.
In addition to the increased pain level, brain will turn the switch off on the joint and muscles resulting in limited range of motion to prevent further damage.
If this immobile stage lasts longer, the receptors in the jont and muscle become being inactive. Furthermore, due to lack of signaling each other, the connection between your brain and the peripheral body part gets weaker and body loses its ability of movement control.
Then, how can manual therapy work in this process?
MANUAL THERAPY HAS A POWER to break this pattern by INSTANT PAIN RELIEF. If you have a pain, movement is limited since joint and muscle function decreased by brain. Manual therapy is the number one tool with regards to PAIN CONTROL.
There are numerous techniques to correct joint alignment and abnormal muscle condition. Mild condition can be improved by guided stretching and exercise program. Mod to severe condition can be healed significantly faster with manual stimulation such as scar tissue release, myofascial release or joint adjustment.
If you optimize your muscle and joint aligntment as much as your brain think it is okay to turn the switch on, your joint will regain range of motion and pain intensity will drop down soon. This work can be done by stimulating the peripheral structures and/or associated spine levels to change interpretation of brain.
During the treatment, PAIN WILL GUIDE the practitioner by decreasing pain intensity when the joint alignment is in the better position. This is the key to success in manual therapy especially in joint treatment.
How to use exercise program in rehab?
Stretching and strengthening are essential in recovering from the painful status. Injury did not happen in one day except some traumatic events. Even if you haven't realized how it occured, the tight muscles and joint stiffness must have built in your body for a long time.
In the beginning of the treatment, manual therapy decreases your pain and activates your muscle and joint function. Your movement will become much soother. This is the time to restore flexibility and strength of your body.
It is recommended to use combination exercise program with core exercise, general strengthening and stretching exercises. If you strengthening one side muscle group, the opposite side muscle group (Antagonist) has automatic relaxation effect. Additionally, once you build up good core muscles, it is much easier to stretch surrounding muscles due to neurological inhibition effect.
If there is any pain while doing exercise, always make sure to eliminate pain with proper manual therapy techniques or decreased exercise intensity. Otherwise, there will be much less exercise effect.