Neuromuscular treatment is a very general term that encompasses the treatment for a large number of alignments, disorders and diseases with different presentations.
You might have heard the terms, ‘neuromuscular conditions’, ‘muscle disease’, ‘myopathy’, ‘and ‘neuromuscular disorders’ all describe a large group of conditions.
These disorders often affect your muscles, like those of your arms, legs, heart and lungs, or it affects the nerves which control these muscles. Your neuromuscular controls are important for controlling voluntary movements and maintain postural control.
Neuromuscular disorders are often genetically inherited conditions that affect some part of your neuromuscular system.
These disorders tend to be progressive in nature, and might result in muscle weakness and fatigue.
Some neuromuscular disorders are seen at birth, some become prominent in childhood, and others have an adult onset. There could be many causes of the disorder.
The disease may be genetically passed down or occur due to a genetic mutation, or may have occurred due to an abnormal immune response, inflammation, toxins, poisoning or tumors.
Some neuromuscular disorders simply have no known cause.
Moreover, the symptoms of neuromuscular diseases could include painful abnormal sensation, numbness, painful muscle weakness, muscle pain or twitching.
Classifications of Neuromuscular Disorders
Most of these neuromuscular disorders can be classified into some major categories.
Most common categories include:
- peripheral motor neuron diseases – affects the muscle-controlling nerve cells of the arms, legs, face and neck.
- muscular dystrophies – The disorder affects the structure of the muscle cells.
- motor neuron diseases – affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord.
- neuromuscular junction diseases – affects the area where nerves and muscles meet.
- myopathies – results due to dysfunction of muscle fibre. It affects muscles controlling
- voluntary movements – wherein there could be inflammation of muscles or related tissues.
- metabolic diseases of the muscle – involves issues in your metabolism that produce energy in muscle cells.
However, from the above list – the major diseases which affect the neuromuscular system have been classified primarily into four main groups:
1. Motor Neuron Diseases
For some unknown or genetic reasons, your lower and upper motor neurons gradually die.
Some of the commonly known genetic motor neuron diseases include infantile progressive spinal muscular atrophy or SMA1, intermediate spinal muscular atrophy or SMA2, juvenile spinal muscular atrophy or SMA3 and last not the least adult spinal muscular atrophy.
However, the most common form of motor neuron disease, is called motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
This disorder doesn’t usually pass on in inheritance and its cause remains unknown.
This disorder affects your peripheral nervous system i.e. the nerves that lie outside your central nervous system. other than those within the spinal cord).
The peripheral nervous system is primarily responsible for connecting the central nervous system to your organs, limbs, and skin.
Genetic diseases like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the hormonal disorder diabetes, and autoimmune diseases are few of the disorders that affect your peripheral nerves.
3. Neuromuscular Junction Disorders
This disorder blocks the transmission of the signal to move a muscle.
It usually blocks it and the nerve impulse does not move between your nerve and your muscle.
Furthermore, the most common of these diseases is Myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease, is a common disorder wherein the immune system produces antibodies that attach themselves to the neuromuscular junction thus preventing the transmission of the nerve impulse to your muscle.
4. Myopathies Including Muscular Dystrophies
This type of muscular dystrophy or muscle wastage generally result from various genetic mutations that prevent the repair of your muscle tissue.
Moreover, some of the other disorders include Becker muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, congenital muscular dystrophy, and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy.
Symptoms of Neuromuscular Disorders
Some of the common symptoms of muscle disease include muscular rigidity, weakness, loss of muscular control, numbness, loss of sensation, twitching, tingling, spasms, muscle pain and a specific kind of limb pain.
Few other symptoms also include loss of balance and motor control. You might also have difficulties in breathing and swallowing.
To learn more about neuromuscular disorders, don’t forget to check our blog post covering Neuromuscular Disorder: Treatment, Therapy, and Benefits (Ultimate Guide).
Treating Neuromuscular Disorders
Today there is no cure for most neuromuscular disorders. However, researches prove on genetic therapies and new medications in hopes of finding a cure.
Treatment of such patients varies widely, according to the individual disorder, and some conditions are easy to treat than others complex conditions.
Some of the common treatments include delaying disease progression, treating symptoms, and enhancing the quality of life for such patients.
This usually involve physical therapy, medications, occupational therapy and, in some cases, surgery.
You will have regular assessments between 6 to 12 months, depending on the severity of your condition.
The physiotherapy protocol will record whether any deterioration or improvement has occurred over the period.
If you are serious, home adaptations should be put in place in case you begin to lose function or become non-ambulant.
Moreover, independence among these kinds of patients should be the main priority. Close monitoring as well as careful assessment is important.
Neuromuscular Treatment Interventions
Some common interventions for neuromuscular treatment include:
1. Drug therapy – Immunosuppressive drugs are used to treat certain nerve and muscle diseases and diseases of your nerve-muscle junctions. Immunosuppressive agents are a kind of drug that helps to suppress your immune system and reduce your risk of rejection of foreign bodies. Different types of immunosuppressive drugs have different mechanisms of action. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants also help to treat the pain of neuropathy.
2. Referrals to appropriate specialists – If you have neuromuscular disorders, you may receive referrals to surgeons for neurological surgery, orthopaedic surgery, thoracic surgery, or other types of surgery. You might also be referred to physical, speech or rehabilitation specialists; pulmonary medicine specialists; physiatrists; or ophthalmologists in order to enhance and restore your functional ability and quality of life in the long run.
3. Patient and family education and counselling – Under this treatment, you might have to undergo individual and family counselling sessions. In addition, treatment may include referral to genetic counsellors or appropriate support groups. Furthermore, you may also have to visit various other specialists, such as physical therapists and nutritionists, you will evaluate your various needs.
What is Neuromuscular Treatment/Therapy Massage?
Neuromuscular therapy is a highly-specialized form of manual therapy that treats pain and dysfunction by treating trigger points and muscle adhesions.
In a layman’s term neuromuscular therapy is a recognized form of soft tissue manipulation that effectively corrects underlying causes of chronic pain involving the nervous and muscular systems.
This form of massage therapy addresses your trigger points, circulation, postural issues, nerve compression, and biomechanical problems that result from repetitive movement injuries.
We also call neuromuscular therapy as trigger point myotherapy.
Furthermore, in many countries, form of massage therapy is very popular as it is effective in the treatment for back pain resulting from soft tissue injury.
The therapy sessions utilize precise treatment protocols to correct your muscles in an effective and efficient manner.
It also involves treating the muscular areas of pain, and the adjoining muscles. Pressure used during the treatment is based on your pain threshold.
This treatment is rarely full-body; and mostly focus on the primary and secondary areas of your body that are causing the pain and limiting range of motion.
The therapist providing these programs get proper trainings and their training involves learning about:
- every trigger point in each muscle
- their common referral zones
- biomechanical aspects of trigger point formation
They are a truly certified muscular expert.
Neuromuscular therapy helps when you have a specific condition or have an injury in a particular tissue that needs a correction and treatment immediately.
The therapy model is such that it tries to achieve long-lasting pain relief and improved mobility.
Neuromuscular Therapy is more of a treatment necessary for pain treatment.
Moreover, it is not as a treatment for sore muscle.
Neuromuscular Massage Treatment/Therapy Technique
This massage therapy consists of applying alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm.
Muscle spasms in your body can range from a minor stiffness and discomfort to a severe, sharp pain and muscle tightening.
Moreover, this prevents you from carrying out your normal movements.
The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, elbow, or knuckles. Once the specialist applies pressure to a muscle spasm, it varies from ten to thirty seconds.