Neuromuscular re-education is a technique used by hand therapists to restore normal body movement patterns.
Your nerves and muscles work together to produce movement. Nerves send signals between your muscles and your brain about where, when and how fast to move. Over time, muscle movement patterns are learned and stored in your memory.
When nerves or muscles experience damage or injury resulting from trauma and various medical and neurological conditions, muscle movement patterns can be negatively affected. Neuromuscular re-education is one method used by hand therapists to facilitate the return of normal movement in patients with neuromuscular impairments.
Neuromuscular re-education consists of:
- Manual techniques (i.e., PNF-proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)
- Activities for balance and core control
- Therapeutic exercises that are designed to re-develop normal controlled movement patterns.
To eliminate many of the symptoms that a patient presents with during their treatment time, it is critical to re-establish normal kinesthetic sense and proprioception of the Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar spine, and Appendicular skeleton. When these neurological characteristics are not functioning properly, a patient cannot maintain proper posture and many of the muscles of the involved area do not function properly. Pain, inflammation, and swelling due to surgery or injury can lead to loss of neuromuscular control and abnormal movement.
Many of our patients have general tenderness and decreased motion of a joint(s). A joint needs to have full motion to be fully functional. If the joint does have full range of motion, weakness and functional limitations will develop over time. This time period is different for every patient, normally several weeks to months when the symptoms are not treated properly. Any loss of motion and strength needs to be addressed to eliminate the patient’s symptoms and correct the underlying problem. However, re-education of the nervous system must occur prior to developing enough strength and motion to regain full function. Without the neuromuscular re-education process, “normal” movement patterns are unlikely to be re-established.
Neuromuscular re-education plays a major role in the rehabilitation of our patients. Using the proper techniques, activities and exercises on an injured body part will prevent acute injury from developing into a chronic problem.
At Hand in Hand Rehabilitation, we look at the patient as a whole and address all aspects of the dysfunction to help the patient achieve her or his maximal rehabilitation potential, and to be the best they can be in performing all of their functional activities.