How Pilates heals the body by calming down the neuromuscular system

So, firstly what are the signs and symptoms of a stressed Neuromuscular system?

We all experience a stressed neuromuscular system on a daily basis, when it takes time for bodies to settle down after a hard gym session or a tough day in the office.

Others with injuries experience the onset of muscle spasm that comes from nowhere and people with a history of persistent pain regularly develop increased discomfort when their bodies and minds are stressed. These are all varying signs and symptoms of a stressed neuromuscular system.

As mentioned in our previous pain blogs – how stress presents for individual people depends on numerous things such as your emotional state, family history and previous injuries.

Muscular activation and co-ordination/proprioception is dependent on communication between the two separate hemispheres of the brain (Contralateral Coordination). However, suddenly induced stress may paralyse this system. This is used in our fight or flight mechanism to allow us to react instinctively in situations deemed dangerous by the body as an essential survival skill.

Persistent stress or chronic injury can cause an ongoing disconnect between the two hemispheres of the brain which causes hormonal imbalances such as increased adrenal activity which results in anxiety and sleep disturbance.

Increased levels of adrenaline in the body may cause increased activity in our fast twitch type II muscle fibres in the lower back/neck/diaphragm causing increased hypotonicity/muscle spasm which results in increased pain.

Type II muscle fibres tend to fatigue more quickly than the slow twitch type I muscle fibres resulting in severe pain when these muscles spasm indefinitely. As a result, this impairs our movement and results in fear avoidance of simple daily activities which are often perceived as painful. The resultant avoidance then causes long term dysfunction and may result in a pattern of persistent/chronic pain. The onset of such symptoms can simply begin because of a stressed neuromuscular system.

Prevention is better than cure

The good news is it is quite easy to regulate the neuromuscular system before these persistent patterns begin to develop. Movement is the key to mediate stress and improve contralateral co-ordination.

Our working lives are often mundane and involve repetitive actions and sustained postures which subsequently causes stress on the neuromuscular system. Physical coordination and mental clarity are inherently intertwined. Our neuromuscular systems can be re-educated by encouraging the connection between our physical co-ordination and mental awareness.

Reformer Pilates provides the perfect environment by encouraging movement patterning, proprioception, functional facilitation without over loading our already stressed neuromuscular system.

Our Expert Pilates instructors are highly trained to initially dampen the stressed neuromuscular system with activities that ground us such as footwork before regulating the system by encouraging Contralateral co-ordination with our vast array of proprioceptive exercises.

The importance of proprioception has been discussed in our previous blog but cannot be underestimated and really is worth a read if you haven’t done so already.

Take home message

Movement is key in the regulation of the neuromuscular system and Platinum Pilates provides the ideal environment to dampen a stressed system after a long day at work whilst also reinvigorate our contralateral coordination to provide a healthy body and mind.

If you have had a history of persistent pain don’t panic, it’s not too late. Our specialist team in Platinum Physiotherapy will provide all the tools necessary for you to progress onto our reformer programme through a mixture of 1:1 physiotherapy sessions and our specifically designed Reformer Spinal Clinic which will begin in September. It’s time to take control of your neuromuscular system before it inadvertently takes control of you.