Muscle reactivation, or simply muscle activation, is a clinical procedure specifically designed to correct a muscle that cannot engage. Sometimes muscles will shut down, refusing to respond to the brain’s commands to contract, almost like a home’s circuit breaker, which if a fuse is blown cannot provide power to the house.
As we discuss muscle reactivation, we do not mean engaging a muscle or set of muscles to perform a certain activity. This is not the same terminology a personal trainer uses when she says “activate your core.” We are referring to a process that identifies neuromuscular disconnects that prohibit muscle activation on the most basic level and mends those disconnects for renewed muscle performance.
Why is Muscle Reactivation Necessary?
If the brain cannot communicate with a muscle and make it contract, that muscle is considered inactivated. Muscles take a lot of stress, sometimes more than we ever know, and when it becomes too much for them, they can revert to a protective splinting or spasms state instead of performing normally in order to protect the muscles from damage. This is more common in conditions of prolonged stress.
When a muscle is deactivated, no amount of exercise will strengthen it because the muscle has closed itself off in order to protect itself. The problem is that muscles, if not exercised, atrophy, and the other muscles around them must pick up the slack, causing misalignment.
What Causes Muscles to Deactivate?
Muscles can “switch off” if the demand placed on them is too intense. This can occur through overtraining or under use, such as extended periods of sitting. Stress is another contributing factor to muscle inhibition, as is physical trauma. It is commonly associated with recovery periods after surgery or injury or during the rapid changes of puberty.
The Dangers of Muscle Deactivation
Other weaknesses and misalignments can follow muscle shutdown as other muscles and joints try to compensate for the loss. These symptoms can present themselves immediately or manifest over an extended period of time. The most insidious examples don’t produce noticeable pain for years, so the body has plenty of time to grow acclimated to incorrect posturing. Such prolonged compensation has a domino effect and can lead to even more muscle shutdown.
How Does Muscle Reactivation Work?
Muscle reactivation works under the principles of pinpointing and reactivating muscles that have shut down so they perform normally again. The process necessitates an examination to discover which muscles have been inhibited. During this test, each of the body’s 600 muscle divisions are examined to assess their communication with the brain. Despite the years’-worth of damages that can lead to treating muscle shutdown, the process of muscle reactivation can take only 10-15 minutes per muscle. This is a conservative estimate if the body’s compensatory mechanisms have inhibited a significant number of muscles.
At Utah Sports and Wellness, we utilize the AMIT method to facilitate muscle reactivation. Treatment results in lessening of tension and pain and a restoration of muscle mobility. The key to recovery is to focus on positive goals rather than negative ones (i.e. returning to optimized performance levels and the ability to do what you love rather than just getting rid of pain). Our goal is to correct the issue permanently, not just minimize pain.
Full Recovery with AMIT
The Advanced Muscle Integration Technique was developed by Dr. Alan G. Beardall as he gathered understanding of the human muscular system through an impressive career and his extensive work with the Utah Jazz. His research into chronic injury led to the development of a process that restores neuromuscular communication rapidly, allowing patients to get back to doing what they love.
AMIT is an extremely effective measure to use to determine if your body is working the way it is meant to. Not only does the test take only about 15 minutes; once we find an inactive muscle, it generally only takes 5-10 minutes to reactivate it, making it one of the most immediate healing mechanisms. Patients feel their muscle inflammation reduced, tension decreased, and healing commence.
Muscle reactivation should be addressed as soon as a problem is identified in order to begin the healing process as soon as possible. If you experience limited range of motion or muscle tension and pain that might be caused by muscle inhibition, consider scheduling a 15-minute AMIT-focused visit in which a member of our team can assess the integrity of pained areas. Reactivating inhibited muscles will significantly contribute to you living pain-free and improving your performance when doing the activities you love.