Neuromuscular Release

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is an approach to soft tissue manual therapy in which quasi-static pressure is applied to the soft tissue to stimulate the skeletal striated muscle.



Neuromuscular therapy is also called trigger point myotherapy. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury (such as a muscle strain).



Neuromuscular therapy has a holistic approach towards healing in that emphasis is laid on stimulating the body to heal itself. Once this healing has begun, neuromuscular therapy techniques are used to stimulate soft-tissue repair in the affected areas. During a typical session of neuromuscular therapy, the therapist will first examine the patient and his or her medical history in an attempt to accurately gauge all the factors that are creating and prolonging the pain. Once the problem areas have been identified, alternating levels of concentrated pressure are applied on the areas of muscle spasm with the fingers, knuckles or elbow.

Neuromuscular Release (trigger point therapy) is less gentle and can sometimes be uncomfortable. The therapist applies firm pressure to knots or tight, tense muscles that have been overused or injured, continuing until the muscles relax.

Applying constant pressure to an acute, tense muscle sends a signal to the entrapped nerve to release, therefore allowing the entire area to relax and soften.

Neuromuscular release restores much-needed blood and oxygen to the muscle and the affected area, allowing the muscle to function with less pain.

Neuromuscular therapy works by addressing the following six factors which can increase pain in the body.



  1. Trigger Points
    Trigger points are highly irritable points in the nervous system that show up as knots in the muscles.
  2. Nerve Entrapment/Compression
    When a nerve gets pressed constantly between the surrounding structures, it can lead to chronic pain.
  3. Postural Distortions
    Result in the underdevelopment of the supporting muscles and thereby lead to their weakening. The result is overused reactive muscles which become fatigued and sore.
  4. Nutrition
    Lack of adequate nutrition to the cells leads to an overall weakening of the entire system. Movement of the tissues brings about stimulation of the lymphatic system improves immune function.
  5. Ischemia
    In a condition such as Ischemia, the cells and tissues get a reduced blood supply and as a result are under-nourished. Lack of blood and oxygen leads to numbness and deferred pain.
  6. Stress
    Stress plays havoc with the functioning of the nervous and musculoskeletal system. Relieving the chronic tension helps reduce nerve stimulation and allows the body to wind down and relax.

Neuromuscular Therapy is used to as with treating and healing of:



  • Chronic Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Rotator Cuff Dysfunction
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Migraines
  • Aids in Healing Process for Injured Tissue
  • Assists Blood and Lymphatic Flow
  • Restores Postural Alignment
  • Increased Flexibility to the Tissues


Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is an approach to soft tissue manual therapy in which quasi-static pressure is applied to the soft tissue to stimulate the skeletal striated muscle.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Through applied knowledge of trigger points, neuromuscular therapy addresses postural distortion (poor posture), biomechanical dysfunction, nerve compression syndrome, and ischemia.

In NMT, one must apply manual pressure perpendicular to the skin surface if the muscle is to be stimulated.[1]

Myokinesthetic System Myo = muscle, Kinesthetic = movement. Myokinesthetic therapy is a soft tissue treatment option that focuses on muscle, soft tissue, and nerves. The goal of the Myokinesthetic System is to identify and address the cause of the problem within the nervous system.

Through a postural assessment, the nerve root that is causing the problem is identified. By stimulating all of the muscles associated with a particular nerve root, the nervous system learns to send the proper signal to the muscles allowing them to respond and function properly – with a full range of motion and without tension and pain.

Restoring a full range of motion to a muscle ensures proper functioning thereby maximizing the training process and optimizing performance.

The Myokinesthetic System can:

-Alleviate (and even eliminate) pain

-Restore range of motion

-Improve posture[2][3]


Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) is a precise, thorough examination and treatment of the body’s soft tissues using regionally oriented protocols that are taught in a step-by-step process. These time-tested, hands-on techniques are built upon a science-based foundation and guided by clinical evidence.

In addition, NMT considers perpetuating factors that may be associated with the client’s complaints. For example, when a client presents with shoulder pain, the upper extremity protocol will be used as the primary examination. In addition to the muscles directly crossing the shoulder joint, muscles that attach the shoulder girdle to the torso would be included along with steps to help ensure mobility of the scapula. Dysfunctions of the arm, forearm, and hand often produce compensation patterns in shoulder movement, so examination of those regions should be included. Since innervation to the shoulder exits the spine at the cervical region, mobility and muscles of the neck will be considered; compression or entrapment of the nerves serving the shoulder should be ruled out.

Perpetuating factors can also include shoulder joint pathologies, postural positioning, habits of use, nutritional components, emotional well-being, allergies, neuro excitants, neurotoxins, and other core elements that can masquerade as myofascial pain and dysfunction. Due to the diverse nature of perpetuating factors, astute NMT practitioners build a broad network of healthcare providers for referral of those clients whose symptoms suggest “red flag” warnings or underlying pathologies.

Most factors that cause pain and dysfunction can be easily grouped under three general headings of biomechanical, biochemical, and psychosocial factors, with the interface between these being profoundly related. Most practitioners apply strategies from only one of these categories, often resulting in improvement that plateaus before full recovery. However, a synergistic effect – often with significant relief – is obtained when all three categories are addressed.  This may require a multidisciplinary approach.

NMT assessments and examinations primarily address

  • ischemia (tight tissue with reduced blood flow)
  • myofascial trigger points (hypersensitive points within muscles that give rise to referred phenomena, including pain)
  • neural entrapment (pressure on nerves by muscles and other soft tissues), and nerve compression (pressure on nerves by osseous and other bonelike tissues, such as cartilage or discs).
  • postural assessment (assessment of the position of the body as a whole)
  • and dysfunctional gait patterns (manner of movement when walking)
  • with constant consideration for many other perpetuating factors, such as hydration, nutrition, breathing patterns, and psychologic stress.

NMT is highly effective for clients who present with chronic pain and is often successful in reducing or eliminating even longstanding painful conditions. Some of the techniques can also be applied to acute injuries and for post-surgical care; many help to improve performance in sport or dance and to prevent injuries due to these activities.

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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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