Facilitation and Inhibition of the Muscles
Posted: Jan 03, 2022
The neuromuscular system of the human body is extremely complicated and all of it works together in a way that we are a long way of fully comprehending. The system consists of the joints and muscles that are controlled by the environment and the central nervous system. When all of this works together, we have no problems and can move around without pain or discomfort. It is when something is out that we can start to have problems with movement that may result in symptoms that are uncomfortable or painful. Many different health professionals are concerned with and pay attention to these movement disorders or dysfunctions and use different strategies to deal with the problems that can arise.
A number of the approaches are to do with movement patterns, facilitation and inhibition of muscles or muscle groups and the role of fascia and the nerves in movement patterns. It is claimed by the proponents of different approaches that problems with anyone of these systems or the interaction of these systems can result in anything from a sore ankle to low back pain to headaches. In the more extreme cases some quacks will claim they can treat diabetes and cancers by dealing with these neuromuscular dysfunctions. A number of the approaches are based around the teaching of a guru, which is problematic as they always lack an objective scientific approach to them. Some use specific exercises to cure everything or other interventions that make some quite broad claims that on deeper analysis are certainly too good to be true.
There are also many issues with a scientific or objective understanding of these dysfunctions that lead to a lot of clinicians to come up with hypothetical theories as to what is going on. Some of them then sell courses to teach those in the know about their theories. Most lack a scientific basis. However, many are also proving to be clinically useful when you strip all the marketing and promotional hype away from them. This does prove a dilemma for evidence-based clinicians who want to practice clinically with the best scientific evidence. They too find some of the techniques useful and see the clinical results with some of them but struggle to come up with a coherent objective explanation for the approach to explain the mechanisms and results. They feel strongly against the "magical thinking" of the hype that is used to promote and sell courses to clinicians about some secret theory that on objective analysis against the available scientific evidence does not make sense. That does not mean that they are not getting useful clinical outcomes from using the approaches.
As there are so many different approaches that so many extraordinary claims get made for them and some of the proponents of the approaches contradict each other, then there is a need for objective scientific work to evaluate them to better guide clinicians. Those who promote the different approaches need to have a better understanding of the role of the scientific method in clinical practice.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.