Injury and overuse can cause strained muscles,resulting in muscles and joints becoming restricted; i.e., there is limited or decreased freedom/range of motion, which you may experience as discomfort or pain when you move a certain way. This can lead to fibrosis (thickening or scarring of connective tissue), resulting in further restriction in motion. Muscle energy assists in restoring muscle function, as well as improves vascular and lymphatic flow that was restricted by strained muscles.
Muscle energy is illustrated in the following two treatment approaches:
In post-isometric relaxation, Christine holds a muscle in a precisely controlled position while you gently contract and push against a specific pressure Christine applies, and then you release the pressure. With this technique, the increased tension on the muscle tendon leads to increased relaxation after that muscle is released.
Another approach uses the reciprocal inhibition reflex: when you contract a muscle, a mechanism in your nervous system automatically relaxes the antagonist muscle, which is the muscle responsible for the opposite movement of the original muscle contraction. So for example, if your triceps on the back of your arm are strained, Christine holds the triceps in a precisely controlled position while you gently contract your biceps (on the front of your arm) and push against a specific pressure Christine applies, and then you release the pressure, leading your triceps to naturally relax.
Explore other osteopathic techniques: