Clapham Osteopathy and Functional Movement

What is NeuroKinetic Therapy®?

neurokinetic therapy

NeuroKinetic Therapy® (‘NKT’) is an integral part of a therapy appointment at Backs Etc. It is an innovative technique which utilises manual muscle testing to assess dysfunctions in the coordination system of the brain that can result from injury,  postural stress or poor movement patterns. It cues the brain for new learning resulting in immediate correction of neuromuscular imbalances. NKT addresses pain at its source: the motor control centre of the brain.

Most Pain is Caused by Software Problems

Many manual therapists consider the body to be a simple mechanical system of joints, fascia and muscles, looking to release areas of tension and restriction that are often painful.  Using an analogy of a computer, we would liken this to dealing with the hardware.  However the majority of dysfunctions, and the resultant pain, are software issues stemming from the way the brain and nervous system are interpreting sensations and inputs.  It is now widely accepted that, in many cases, the experience of pain is due to the overall level of threat that the brain is experiencing, rather than an indication of tissue damage. Therefore the treatment needs to address the nervous system if it is to be effective.  As NKT works with the neural circuits, many changes and improvements can be seen instantly, although lasting change is only seen with repetition of the homework exercises and improvements in the underlying movement patterns.

My Personal Experience with NKT

For many years I suffered from low back pain and had very tight hamstrings.  I was told by a variety of therapists that my glutes weren’t functioning and that getting them engaged would resolve my back pain.  I, therefore, did endless glute exercises, which only seemed to make my hamstrings and low back even tighter.  An NKT assessment showed how my glutes had become ‘inhibited’ and disconnected from my brain, in fact ‘gluteal amnesia’ is an increasingly common occurrence in our sedentary society.  Thus my low back and hamstring muscles were substituting for my glutes, and all the exercises I had done just made these compensations work harder, continuing the cycle of pain.  With a short course of treatment and an easy home exercise protocol,  my glutes finally connected and began to activate.  Now on squatting or deadlifting, I feel it in my glutes, and the low back pain has disappeared.  This inspired me to undertake NKT training myself so that I could share these results with my patients.

How does NeuroKinetic Therapy® work?

Consider a classic sprained ankle, where someone has gone over on the outside of their foot. Initially, the ankle ligaments will be damaged and need extra support, so the brain increases drive to the muscles in this area in order that they tighten up and brace the outside of the ankle. This then causes a reduced neurological drive to other muscles in the area, which is a helpful behaviour whilst the tissues are healing.  However, often this altered pattern persists after the injury has healed, and as time goes on, the muscles that are being either overused or underused tend to become tight and painful.  As the ankle is not functioning normally, every step sends a message of ‘threat’ to the brain, which then tries to stabilise further up the body. These changes can spread all the way to the head or upper limbs, causing imbalances in the knee, thigh, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist or neck, depending on the specific person and their activities. If the same person has had, say, abdominal surgery or a shoulder injury, the patterns of dysfunction caused by these traumas are compounded with those from the sprained ankle, potentially creating ‘unexplained’ pain throughout the body.

The NKT protocol is designed to explore and unpeel these patterns of dysfunction, finding out exactly which muscles and ligaments are over-firing, under-firing, and where the problems started from.  By demonstrating a new improved pattern to the brain, and solidifying this with repetition, we are able to reprogram the motor patterns to restore proper muscle and joint function.

Some of the benefits of NKT:

  • Achieves faster, longer-lasting results than many methods
  • Eliminates enduring patterns of dysfunction from old injuries
  • Reduces the effects of repetitive stress injuries
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Quickly improves muscle coordination
  • Increases range of motion, energy, strength and stamina throughout the body
  • Helps prevents injury