You’ve probably heard of muscle memory. It’s what helps you to learn to do physical tasks the more you repeat them, and it enables you to do things like ride a bicycle even if you haven’t ridden one in years. Unfortunately, muscle memory can also have some negative consequences, if you’ve accidentally trained your muscles to position themselves in unhealthy and painful ways. In these cases, you need to take steps to retrain your muscle memory.
When a specific task is repeated often, the brain creates a long-lasting muscle memory. This established memory allows your brain to direct the specific movement more efficiently, and you’ll find you can complete it almost unconsciously. Muscle memory is how a golfer can produce the same swing over and over again. It’s also how you remember how to take a perfect shot in basketball or balance while riding a bicycle. Your muscle memory is also working during everyday fine motor tasks that come easily to you. When you type on your keyboard or enter in a phone number without looking, muscle memory is at work.
On the flip side, muscle memory can also encode and facilitate negative muscle behavior. One of the most common examples of this is bad posture. If you sit or stand with bad posture over time, your brain will remember that pattern and automatically recreate it whenever you are sitting or standing. This is why it can be so hard to get rid of a slouch, even if you are actively trying to improve your posture. Your brain will automatically return to your bad posture whenever you stop thinking about it.
Muscle memory can also be problematic following an injury. Your body naturally avoids pain as much as possible, so when you are injured, you will avoid using the muscles around that injury. You may, for instance, stop moving an arm or leg at a particular angle, or you may compensate for an injury using other muscles. Your brain will remember this behavior even after your injury has healed. This can lead to you leaving some muscles underdeveloped and straining other muscles.
If you are encountering either of these issues, neuromuscular massage can help you to retrain your muscle memory. Using trigger points in the muscles, neuromuscular massage works on the connection between the brain and the body’s muscles. In this way, neuromuscular massage can retrain your muscles and help you to create new, healthy muscle memory. Over time, this will eliminate pain and restore balance.
Remember if you take care of your muscles they will take care of you!
Until next time….Cheers