Muscle Energy Technique - Brisbane MSK Clinic
What is Muscle Energy Technique?
Muscle Energy Techniques are a manual therapy that aims to assess and treat restricted mobility and myofascial pain using muscle power to create a release and stretch. Muscle Energy Techniques are just one of many treatment methods available at the Brisbane MSK Therapy Chronic Pain Clinic in (Morningside). Muscle Energy Technique - MET, originates from Osteopathic medicine, is another form of myofascial release technique, of which there are many variants, known more generally as Myofascial Release Therapy. However, each type of fascial release technique works slightly differently, and practitioners need to know when it is or is not appropriate to use any given method. Myofascial techniques work with muscles and connective tissues, collectively known as myofascia. It is possible to make aliments far worse or even create new symptoms if one applies the wrong treatment method in any given circumstance. For example, the use of muscle energy techniques (MET) could create painful muscle spasms in some cases. Hence, therapists need to have a detailed understanding of which method to use with any given patient presentation.
Two such versions of Muscle Energy Techniques - MET are:-
Muscle Energy Technique is just one of the many treatment methods available at TotalMSK.
How does Muscle Energy Techniques work?
Muscle Energy Techniques - METs work by utilising principles of anatomy, physiology and movement to in effect use the energy of muscles and specific methods to create a type of myofascial release MFR. To explain the principles of Post Isometric Relaxation and Reciprocal Inhibition, one needs to understand a little about the muscle anatomy, physiology and human movement. One, therefore, needs to understand the stretch reflex and the role of muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organs. Muscles spindles are sensitive to changes in length (stretch) and how rapidly such changes occur. Golgi tendon organs are sensitive to prolonged changes in tissue tension. When tissues are stretched the spindles within the muscle transmit increased nerve impulses to the posterior horn cell within the spinal cord. The increased nerve transmissions then result in increased nerve impulses to the anterior horn cell, which in turn results in a protective contraction of the stretched tissues. Within split seconds, the Golgi tendon organs within the stretched tissues detect a prolonged change in tissue tension and to avoid tissue damage the Golgi tendon organs transmit increased nerve impulses to the posterior horn cells. These increased nerve impulses produce an inhibitory effect on the anterior horn cell, which relaxes the tissues under tension. Once muscles tissues have become relaxed, it is possible to stretch them. If these processes did not happen, then we would be incapable of movement. In essence, movement works by muscles and tissues, applying contractile forces to bones and joint structures. The only way to achieve movement is by alternating muscles contractions. For example, to bend or flex the knee, the hamstrings will contract, and the quadriceps will relax. The exact opposite is true for extending or straightening the leg; however, movement is far more complicated than this. These principles of movement can be used by a suitably qualified and experienced therapist to treat dysfunctional tissues with Muscle Energy Technique - MET.
How does Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) work?
As was discussed earlier, the principles underpinning Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) relate to the effect that the Golgi tendon organ has on a sustained muscle stretch. How this (MET) technique is employed will depend on many factors, including whether the condition is acute or chronic and if the subject has recent tissue trauma. Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) can produce excellent results when applied correctly by a qualified practitioner and in the right circumstances. The method is particularly suitable for performing treatment on a fully clothed person. The technique is not a form of massage, so direct skin contact is unnecessary. Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) generally involves stretching tissues to a specific point of “bind”. The patient then applies a muscle contraction to the tissues under treatment with varying degrees of strength and duration. For example, treating the hamstrings involves passively stretching them to the tissue bind point. The patient then contracts the hamstrings for the duration and force required by the therapist. The patient then relaxes the tissues, and the therapist can stretch the tissues to a new tissue bind point. The process then repeats until no further improvement occurs. The method requires a different approach when treating patients experiencing chronic or persistent pain, typically where pain has been present for over three months. The article on Chronic Pain looks in more detail at possible causes and Persistent Pain Treatment options at the Brisbane clinic.
How does Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) work
The principles of Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) were outlined earlier and work on the effect that muscle spindles have on opposing or antagonist's muscles. Again, a suitably qualified therapist will know when to use Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) form of (MET) technique with a patient over Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR). As with PIR, the method can be employed to significant effect, provided the patient has no treatment contraindications. Again, Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) is particularly suitable when treating a fully clothed person, as direct skin contact is not necessary. In the case of Reciprocal Inhibition, the therapist will take the target muscles to the tissue bind point, though this may not always be the case. The patient then contracts the antagonist muscles isometrically. For example, when stretching the hamstrings, tissues are passively taken to the tissue bind point by the therapist. The patient then contracts the quadriceps (antagonist muscle group) with the force and duration required by the therapist. After relaxing the tissues, the therapist can stretch the hamstrings to the new bind point. A therapist can then repeat the technique until there is no further improvement.
Myofascial Pain Relief - Treatment and Techniques
Massage and Myotherapy Registrations
Terry brings over 16 years of experience treating in the MSK Therapy field back to Brisbane from the UK. He is highly qualified with relevant education and training spanning from Certificate level through to higher education and a Masters. His training and experience cover many assessment methods, treatment types and soft tissue therapy (STT) skills. Besides the sixteen years of clinical experience, Terry has a further eight years of experience training and working at the highest physical performance levels within the elite British forces environment. He has a personal experience with a range of running injuries and a vast amount of professional treatment experience. He is still an avid distance runner to this day. Such knowledge has proved highly valuable in the treatment of elite-level athletes and members of the public. His ongoing sporting activities, experiences and interests have naturally led to him specialising in human performance and treating trauma and myofascial pain. He also taught as a senior course coach on the first myotherapy course in Brisbane. His skills are now available at the Morningside clinic, where he works as a Myotherapist.