If you want to be fit and strong, you need to exercise – but if you want to prevent injury, exercise and stretching may not be enough.
A healthy body, one that is NOT prone to injury needs a proper coordination of nerves and muscles.
Muscle inhibition is a completely normal process – we wouldn’t be able to move without it – but it can be abnormal, and silently cause years of injury and suffering.
Inhibition (toning down) and facilitation (activating) are how our nervous system controls our muscles. Every time a muscle contracts, spinal neurons that control the muscle are firing more often – the muscle is said to be facilitated. At the same time, those same neurons are inhibiting the neurons that control the opposite muscles which means they are still contracting, just less so – those muscles are inhibited.
Controlling facilitation and inhibition to every muscle fibre in your body is one of the most important functions of your nervous system since it allows you to move without having to think about every part of your body all of the time.
While you are concentrating on your tennis stroke or picking up the shopping, are you thinking about your ankle or neck muscles? Probably not – but every single muscle in your body will be contracting to a greater or lesser degree while you are concentrating on whatever you are doing. The muscles that have to work to prevent an ankle sprain will fire at exactly the right time and in the right amount without you ever thinking about them. Likewise, the muscles of your back and neck will hold your vertebrae in the right way to stop your damage to your ligaments, facets and discs.
There are many Olympic and elite athletes who dedicate their lives to quality exercise, yet they still get injured. If exercise really prevented injury then these athletes would be the most uninjured. Likewise, it’s not what they do that predicts an injury, it’s whether their muscles were inhibited when they needed to be facilitated. What they lack is normal control over their muscles, especially those muscles they are not consciously thinking about at the time.
The automatic and normal contraction of muscles we aren’t thinking about are controlled by REFLEXES. The same thing your doctor tests when he or she taps you on the kneecap with the rubber hammer actually operates CONSTANTLY in every muscle to keep you safe from injury.
Reflexes allow your muscles to automatically contract against external forces, preventing injury to your joints and ligaments.
Making sure your reflexes are working properly is the key to preventing injuries, ensuring ideal performance and staying free of injury. Fortunately, there are much better ways of testing for reflexes than tapping a tendon with a reflex hammer but most health professionals just don’t know how to do this effectively.
Simon King, a musculoskeletal therapist with 30 years experience has perfected a system of examination that tests all your muscle reflexes, quickly and efficiently. By testing every muscle’s ability to resist a variety of external forces, he can identify any abnormal muscle inhibition and find its cause.
Fixing abnormal muscle inhibition leaves patients much more robust, able to tackle challenges without fear of injury or poor performance.
Simon King is available by appointment only on 01442 800400.