Motor Control is the purpose of initiating, directing, and grading purposeful voluntary movement. While manual therapy may be effective at helping patients with pain relief and regain range of motion, the activation and contraction pattern of the muscle remains the same! Motor control exercises are designed to help patients move with adequate muscle activation as well as improved contraction pattern. The end results? Long term pain-relief with significantly lesser pain episodes!
Proper activation of the muscles are needed for meaningful contraction of the muscle. In patients with neck pain, head movements are associated with a significant increase activation of the superficial neck muscles. These faulty contraction patterns causes muscle atrophy, weakness and reduced activation of the deep neck flexor muscles (think of them as the “core” muscles of the neck). As a result, patient never experience long-term pain relief.
The technique aims to retrain muscle and nerves to fire in a biomechanically efficient way to encourage better movement and posture.
Frequently Asked Questions
The faulty muscle contraction of the weaker superficial neck muscles causes excessive muscle fatigue and consequently cause pain.
This is where motor control comes into play. In motor control, we train patients to specifically contract or relax certain muscle groups. In doing so, we are able to restore healthy muscle activation. Healthy muscle activation reduces redundant contraction of other muscles groups and increases your function and performance.
A modification of motor control also optimises tissue loading. This modification is achieved through specific exercises to target the individual-specific features of your presentation and symptom. This requires consideration of neuromuscular and function changes. It may sound like a big challenge but don’t worry! This is what we are here for. The end result of the program is gain in muscle strength and endurance, resistance to fatigue and increase capacity for load. All these comes together to give you long-term pain free outcome.