Pain and movement science is changing. The traditional idea of hammering muscles and joints in an attempt to improve movement (and thus decrease pain) is shifting to a more neurological approach. The new evidence suggests that good movement requires good perception. Good communication between your body and brain. A good body map. So let’s take a look at what exactly we mean by a ‘bodymap’ and how it can be used to improve movement and overcome pain.
What Is Your Body Map?
Your Body Map is defined as the ‘bodies self-representation in our own brain.’ In other words, good communication between your body (muscles, joints, skin, etc), and their associated receptors.
Why Is It Important?
If our representation of our body to the brain is accurate, movement will be good. If it’s faulty movement will be bad. And it’s the faulty movement that leads to overloading joints and muscles and will eventually lead to pain and injury.
How Can We Improve Our Body Map?
1. Treat the Nervous System
The nervous system is the most important target for influencing movement. Instead of continually hammering our muscles in an attempt to ‘lengthen’ them, we can influence the nervous system to decrease the tone of the muscles and allow joints to move further.
The most powerful way of influencing the nervous system is through touch. At the clinic we accomplish this in a few ways
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage (IASTM). Changing the depth and rate of the tools influences different receptors for different effects
- Tape: KinesioTape is a elastic tape that provides a continous touch on the skin to stimulate the nervous system.
- Skin Rolling of superficial nerves in a technique called YAPing
2. Treating the Fascia.
Because fascia is highly innervated (with 10x as many receptors as its corresponding muscles), it is a prime target to influence the body map. Fascia can be manipulated in the ways mentioned above, but is also responsive to traditional manual and movement therapies.
These new revelations open the door for a host of new ways to overcoming pain. If you enjoyed this article, please share with a friend who may be dealing with chronic pain.