I have often been asked, “What caused my pain? Did the tight muscle pull the joint out of place, or did the joint being out of place cause the muscle to become tight?” And the simple answer is YES. Nearly all of the joints in our bodies have muscle groups that cross those joints. In fact, they share a very “chicken and the egg” relationship. It is nearly impossible to tell which came first, or which one started the pain. I usually reply to this type of question “I don’t know what caused the pain, but I do know how to fix it.” By combining myotherapy with chiropractic care we can affect both the joint and the muscle at the same time.
For example, in an automobile collision ligaments and joint capsules can be torn or otherwise damaged, while at the same time muscles and tendons that cross that same joint can likewise be torn or damaged. It would be ineffective to treat only the joint damage or only the muscle damage.
For neck and headache issues we can even do the adjustments before getting off of the myotherapy table. This technique does not give the dozens of muscles in your neck the chance to tighten or react to a painful joint before an adjustment. I can also use much less force to accomplish the same adjustment because I do not have to compete with tight musculature.
There is another phenomenon that suggests why we should combine chiropractic adjustments with myotherapy, and that is what we call muscle memory. Whenever there is pain in the body (like from a restricted or injured joint), the natural reaction of the body is to tighten the muscles around the pain in a process called “splinting.” If that splinting is allowed to stay, even for periods as short as 24 hours, the muscle starts gearing up for staying in that position for “the long haul.” This can cause chronically tight muscles or muscle memory. Even if we were to adjust the damaged joint and restore proper joint motion, this muscle memory will often pull the joint back to it’s previous position, because that is where the muscles are “used” to being. If we first lengthen and relax the muscles they are less likely to return to their previous position after the adjustment, and therefore more likely to allow proper joint mobility.