Muscle Energy Technique:
Spastic and hyper-tonic muscles often hold our joints in faulty alignment which creates a biomechanical and biochemical reaction in our soft tissue: muscles, fascia, ligaments and capsules. In order to change this, a direct technique called muscle energy can be used which allows the bodies’ own subtle neuromuscular properties to bring symmetry and proper mobility back to the joints. It treats the cause of the dysfunction not just the symptoms.
A simple explanation of this technique is: The bones are being held out of place by altered muscle tone and length. If you have ever gotten up in the morning with a kink in your neck or not been able to turn around to back up your car after playing a pick up game of basketball, you understand this concept. This is an example of hypomobility which restricts the motion at the joint. Let me say it again……….because of altered muscle tone and length. Muscle energy resets the muscle spindles and recalibrates them so the bone can return to its optimal position.
This technique allows for reduction of local edema, relaxation of hyper-tonic and spastic muscles, strengthens weak or inhibited muscles and stretches muscles, fascia, ligaments and capsules. The muscles that were so tight they were behaving more like bones, now get to return to the relaxed state they were meant to be in so that you can go about your activities without restriction.
How is muscle energy different from manipulation?
Muscle energy does not do harm or destabilize the joint because the therapist and patient work together to simultaneously contribute the force needed to make the mobilization happen. Manipulation often increases symptoms, promotes instability, and masks pain with the endorphins released from that ‘pop’ you hear afterwards. A manipulation is also completely passive leaving the patient without the proper neuromuscular feedback to hold the returning motion in the body.
Muscle energy modifies the length, resting tone, and excitability of a particular muscle spindle addressing the source of the pain.