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Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11
Advanced Stretching: Using Neural Inhibition to Enhance the Stretch, Part 2
By Joseph E. Muscolino, DC
In part 1 of this series, we discussed contract relax (CR) stretching, which involves neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.Here, in Part 2 of this series, we will discuss agonist contract (AC) stretching, which also uses neural inhibition to augment the mechanical stretch of the target musculature.
Similar to CR stretching, AC stretching also relies upon a neurologic reflex. However, whereas the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) reflex is the proposed neural mechanism for CR stretching, reciprocal inhibition is the proposed neural mechanism for AC stretching. The mechanism of RI is that whenever a mover muscle contracts and shortens to create a joint action, the antagonist musculature (that is usually located on the other side of the joint) must lengthen to allow that motion to occur. RI reflex acts to facilitate the lengthening of the antagonists by inhibiting them from contracting. This inhibition causes a relaxation so that the antagonists more effectively lengthen. As with the GTO reflex, we can take advantage of this reflex to create a better stretch.
AC stretching is performed by creating a scenario in which the target muscle that will be reciprocally inhibited is the antagonist to the joint motion that is performed. The usual AC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The right lateral flexor (RLF) musculature of the neck are used as the example (Fig. 1):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to actively concentrically contract the left lateral flexion (LLF) musculature, moving the neck into LLF. By doing this, the target RLF musculature is the antagonist of the motion. Their stretch is begun and the RI reflex is triggered. The client usually exhales during the contraction (think "e" for exhale and "e" for exertion).
c. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF. The client usually completes the exhale during this step.
d. The client continues to relax as we passively bring the client back to the starting position. The client inhales during this step so she is ready for the next repetition.
Typically eight to 10 repetitions are performed, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition. Because a large number of repetitions are performed with AC stretching, each repetition is usually performed fairly quickly. An entire repetition takes approximately 3-5 seconds.
Comparing CR and AC Stretching
To more easily learn these techniques, it can be helpful to compare CR with AC stretching. With CR stretching, the target muscle group isometrically contracts against our resistance. (Note: Part 1 of this series, the target right lateral flexors isometrically contract.) With AC stretching, the target muscle group is turned into the antagonist of the joint motion. Note that in Figure 1a, the left lateral flexors concentrically contract (again the right lateral flexors are the target musculature). It can help to remember that with AC stretching, the client's contraction actually begins the stretch of the target musculature.
Contract Relax Agonist Contract Stretching:
CR and AC stretching can be combined to create contract relax agonist contract (CRAC) stretching. As its name implies, a CRAC stretching repetition is done by sequentially performing the CR and then the AC stretching techniques. The benefit of CRAC stretching is that it triggers both the GTO and the RI reflexes, therefore potentially creating a more powerful inhibition/relaxation of the target musculature. The usual CRAC stretching protocol steps are carried out as follows. The RLF musculature of the neck are again used as the example (Fig. 2):
a. Have the client begin in a neutral starting position.
b. Ask the client to gently isometrically contract the target RLF musculature against our resistance for approximately 5-8 seconds to trigger the GTO reflex. The client holds in the breath during this step. This is the CR portion of the stretch.
c. Then ask the client to concentrically contract the LLF musculature to move into LLF. This begins the stretch the RLF musculature and it triggers the RI reflex. The client exhales during the contraction. This is the AC portion of the stretch.
d. The client then relaxes and we further stretch the client into LLF.
e. We then passively bring the client back to the starting position as the client inhales. This completes one repetition.
Three to five repetitions are usually performed, each one beginning from the same neutral starting position, as is done with AC stretching. Typically, the client is asked to increase the force of contraction with each repetition, and we progressively increase the force of the stretch with each repetition.
Most every stretch can be performed as a CR or an AC stretch, or even a CRAC stretch. Both CR and AC advanced stretching techniques are equally effective. Which one you choose to use will most likely depend upon client preference and which technique is logistically easier for that particular muscle and the position that the client is in. Advanced stretching techniques might take a little more time, effort, and practice to master, but the benefits to your clients are well worth it.
Joseph E. Muscolino, DC, has been a massage therapy educator for 24 years, teaching both core curriculum and continuing education classes. He currently teaches anatomy and physiology at Purchase College, SUNY. He is the owner of The Art and Science of Kinesiology in Stamford, Conn., and is the author of The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual, with Trigger Points, Referral Zones, and Stretching; The Muscular System Manual, 3rd edition; and Kinesiology, The Skeletal System and Muscle Function, 2nd edition (Elsevier, 2009, 2010, 2010), as well as other publications. For more information or to contact Joseph, visit www.learnmuscles.com.
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