What is a neuromuscular massage?

A neuromuscular massage is a form of treatment that falls under chiropractic neurology. It’s a special type of manual massage in which pressure and friction are used on tender points which are often the cause of ongoing muscular pain.

Tender points (also known as trigger points) are small parts of muscles under intense strain and pressure. They lack the necessary blood flow and nutrients to allow the muscles to relax. These parts of the body can be hypersensitive, causing weakness, fatigue, and pain. Often the discomfort will be directly on the tender point, but it can also lead to referral pain which can be felt in any part of your body.

In neuromuscular massage therapy, your chiropractor will alternate different levels of concentrated pressure on your tender points using their elbows, knuckles, and fingers. It feels like an intense deep-tissue massage and can provide instant relief for tired, tense muscles.

Neuromuscular massage vs. deep tissue massage

Although both types of massage may feel similar, they’re very different. Both focus on troublesome spots and are designed to eliminate back pain. But while deep tissue massage prioritizes stiff muscles, tissues, and tendons deep below your skin, neuromuscular massage works on hitting the nerve causing discomfort.

A deep tissue massage can be something you enjoy every few weeks to loosen up tight muscles and help you recover from minor sports or workplace injuries. A neuromuscular massage is more like a medical treatment and sessions need to continue until the cause of the pain has been determined and resolved.

What it treats

Chiropractic neurology is most often used to relieve back pain, but it can treat a number of other problems, too. Here are just some of the things that can be improved or even healed with neuromuscular massage therapy:

  • Sciatica
  • Jaw, knee, and hip pain
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ disorders)
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Calf cramps
  • Headaches
  • Iliotibial band friction syndrome
  • Tendonitis

There’s a lot of research currently going on to determine what else chiropractic neurology can treat. As this type of massage therapy focuses on tender points, it may also be a useful way of treating tense areas and strained muscles. 

Neuromuscular massage therapy benefits

The main advantage of neuromuscular massages is muscle pain relief. Excessive use can prevent the muscles from contracting properly and cause pain. Neuromuscular massage therapy targets these tense points and releases pain and discomfort.

One of the other benefits of chiropractic neurology is a boost in flexibility. When your muscles tense up, they restrict your movement. Contracted muscles also lack the necessary nutrient, oxygen, and blood flow to perform normally. By breaking up tense muscle areas, neuromuscular massage therapy encourages better nutrient, oxygen, and blood flow, increasing your flexibility.

Chiropractic neurology comes with many additional benefits, too, including:

  • More energy
  • Better blood circulation
  • Balanced nervous system
  • Balanced musculoskeletal system
  • Improvement in posture
  • Lower stress levels

Everyone is different and may react to neuromuscular massage therapy differently. The side effects you can expect depend on your initial problem and the way your body reacts to the treatment.

What to expect

A neuromuscular massage is similar to other kinds of chiropractic massages. You’ll enter the massage room with your chiropractor and they’ll get started by applying alternative levels of pressure directly onto the area causing your discomfort. When they make contact with the muscle spasm or pain point, your chiropractor will hold the pressure for 10-30 seconds before applying more or less pressure for the same period of time.

Alternating pressure is the basic technique used in chiropractic neurology. Your chiropractor will use different techniques and pressures depending on where your pain is located and its severity. 

Chiropractors spend years perfecting neurology treatments and it’s important you only ever receive this kind of massage from a professional. Never attempt to perform a neuromuscular massage on yourself or someone else.

Other common techniques include palpation, soft tissue massage, positional releases, and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching. Before the massage begins, your chiropractor will give you an evaluation and discuss what they plan to perform. You may experience some mild pain or soreness immediately after each session. This is normal and the discomfort should fade within 24 hours.

It’s important to remember that chiropractic neurology is an ongoing treatment. You can’t just book appointments every few months like for normal massages. You need to attend regular appointments to solve your problem in the long run. You may experience pain relief after the end of each visit, but if you don’t return to your chiropractor for another session, the pain will return. 

You don’t have to live with pain

If you suffer from intense muscle, joint, or back pain that just won’t go away, it’s worth considering neuromuscular massage therapy. Get started today and make your first appointment. Your chiropractor will be able to give you a thorough assessment and determine whether chiropractic neurology will be helpful for you.

You could be free from pain and enjoy increased flexibility as early as the end of your first appointment. If you continue to see your chiropractor regularly, you could even boost your quality of life and enjoy being pain-free in the long term.

About the author

Matt has been helping providers within the healthcare setting for over a decade. He realizes how best to solve a patient’s problem by understanding the individualism of each patient. Therefore knowing what their true needs are.  To focus on the patient and the “Why” they need their particular service that goes beyond the initial reason for them to seek treatment.

Matt has been with Veeva since 2018. He also has access to over 75 years of combined real-life hands-on experiences from the many doctors within the Veeva Chiropractic landscape.

Read more about Matt here >>