Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) in Morningside (Brisbane)

Myofascial Release therapy | Neuromuscular Therapy Brisbane

What is Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)

Neuromuscular Therapist in Brisbane

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a manual therapy technique with origins in Osteopathic medicine. NMT is a form of myofascial release (MFR) that identifies and treats myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) and pain. The terms Trigger Point Therapy (TPT) and Neuromuscular Technique (NMT) are often used to describe similar techniques. These methods all have a lot in common with the ancient Chinese art of Acupressure. Techniques have evolved, leading to variations in name and how one performs them.

Trigger points within tissues often create pain and restrict mobility. The body tries to avoid pain by adapting how one moves, which is helpful in the short term (see the article on tissue adaption). Adaptions mean that we move differently to normal, which can lead to further changes. The human body is good at masking or hiding issues, and it may take months or years for some people to notice that there is a problem. There will likely be months or years of soft tissue adaptions and learned movement patterns in chronic pain cases (see the article on Chronic Pain for further details on aspects of such conditions and treatment). This situation can arise due to a lack of treatment or an ineffective recovery plan.


Neuromuscular technique (NMT) and Palpation

Effective treatment with NMT relies on the therapist's ability to palpate. Most forms of manual therapy require a refined sense of touch or palpation skills. Such skills take years to develop, and even though many massage therapy courses teach NMT, they do not teach palpation. Without such skills, one would be assessing by guesswork and then treating based on a guess at best. Finding Myofascial Trigger Points or Trigger Points (TrPs), for short, is not just about finding areas of pain. Equally, treating TrPs is not just about finding a painful point and pressing it until some form of relief occurs. Poor palpation and technique application skills result in an unpleasant consumer experience. Furthermore, there can be a tendency to require additional treatment(s). Equally, applying any soft tissue therapy in the wrong situation can worsen symptoms. Terry at TotalMSK was fortunate enough to learn in-depth palpation skills during his six years of training at the McTimoney College of Chiropractic in the UK. Over the 15 years, he has been working in the soft tissue therapy field, these skills have evolved.


NMT and Myofascial Release (MFR)

Although NMT is a form of myofascial release (MFR), it works very specifically. MFR methods work in different ways, either directly or indirectly, with TrPs. Although one applies NMT to specific points, many other MFR techniques may cover a wide area of tissues. The petrissage sports massage technique "stripping" is a worthy example of the MFR method for treating larger areas. Other methods might include Active Release Technique (ART) ®, which has similarities to "stripping". Even Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) and works better on larger muscles and tissues. How one uses techniques depends on knowledge and experience. It is not a case of one approach being better than another, just knowing how to achieve the consumer's goals best. As one might expect, effective use of NMT depends on several factors, which can vary between therapists:-

  • Palpation skills
  • Overall assessment ability
  • Clinical knowledge
  • Overall experience
  • Technique use and application

Can you do neuromuscular therapy on yourself?

The short answer is yes, though there are limitations and considerations. Although the internet and social media can be excellent sources of learning, sadly, not all of that information is good. Anyone can post videos and content online with little or no understanding of anatomy or technique. Some of these videos demonstrate people using techniques in areas that are not safe to do so.

It is essential to understand that manual therapists have training in various areas or disciplines. The level and depth of training depend on the qualification. Besides the practical use of various techniques, there are also contraindications to the treatment methods. These relate to using a specific method or when it is safe to use it. Some conditions may mean that using a technique is unwise or even dangerous. In other cases, it may only be safe to use a method to treat some areas or at certain times. Equally, a diagnostic process involves a combination of knowledge and testing. Some manual therapists can legally diagnose, though many cannot provide a diagnosis. Knowing what one is treating is vital, and self-diagnosis via the internet often ends badly. These factors can impact the results of attempting self-treatment and need considering.

It is possible to self-treat with NMT or Trigger Point Therapy (TPT). It is pretty easy to worsen symptoms by misusing a method or in the wrong situation. Equally, tissue tension changes when self-applying most methods, angles are different, and it can be difficult to control pressure levels. Even with Terry's knowledge, he can treat some areas and not others. The article on self TPT using a massage ball offers some hints and the limitations of this method.


NMT and Trigger point Dry Needling (DN)

Dry Needling Upper Trapezius Brisbane

There may well be similarities in how NMT and Trigger Point Dry Needling (DN) work. Both methods work with MTrPs and involve finding these and then applying a form of pressure. DN is more invasive, as the method uses a filament needle to pierce the skin (not that one always feels this). The actual tissue release for both methods feels similar, almost a melting sensation. Again, what one feels may vary between therapists and based on the factors covered earlier. Currently, there are good theories on how both methods work, but nothing concrete. One can use both techniques very precisely with the right level of anatomy knowledge and palpation skills.

Terry has developed a special interest in trauma-related conditions, which can create a vast amount of change. He has found that using precise treatment methods and other STT skills can make a real difference even in chronic cases. Depending on the type of trauma involved, treatment may even be viable in the acute phase of injury.


Massage and Myotherapy Registrations

Terry brings over 15 years of experience working in the MSK field back to Australia from the UK. His training covers a wide variety of treatment methods and soft tissue therapy (STT) skills. Terry's main area of interest lies in trauma and myofascial pain relief. He also taught as a senior course coach on one of the first myotherapy courses in Brisbane and is highly qualified. His skills are now available at the Morningside clinic, where he works as a Myotherapist.