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Neuromuscular versus Orthopedic Massage

The world of massage can sometimes be difficult to navigate. There are so many options, and they all have their own unique benefits. Two terms you may often see are neuromuscular and orthopedic massage. The question most clients ask is what’s the difference between the two and which one is right for me? Let’s break this down so you can understand what may be best for you, and which you might prefer.

With both techniques we’ll do a thorough intake to discuss your complaints, current diagnosis, surgical history, and any other pertinent health information. We’ll need to thoroughly understand this in order to accurately assess and create a treatment plan for you.

The term neuromuscular simply means you’re affecting both nerves and muscles. Whether you’re dealing with an injury like a muscle tear, some muscular imbalance, or dealing with chronic pain, neuromuscular therapy may be a good treatment option. Neuromuscular therapy can help with nerve compressions, ischemia (loss of blood flow), trigger points (highly irritable areas that transfer pain elsewhere), and postural imbalances that are causing you pain. During a neuromuscular therapy (NMT) session, you’ll notice your therapist using a variety of techniques. They’ll push into a trigger point, or knotted feeling, tender area for a few seconds, release, and repeat a few times. They may hold sustained pressure on those points for some time as well, depending on how your body and the trigger points respond. They may also stretch and pull on the skin and deep into the muscles in a variety of ways. While you may feel some discomfort, it’s important to communicate throughout your session so we can be sure to stay within your comfort zone.

Orthopedic massage is quite different in its purpose and technique. While neuromuscular therapy focuses a lot on trigger points and neurological patterns associated with pain and areas of tension, orthopedic massage helps clients recover from specific injuries and helps to rehabilitate after surgery. During your intake we may have you perform a variety of movements in order to assess what the potential issues are. Then we’ll move on into a variety of techniques of manual work, including active and passive movements, with and without resistance. We may also add in stretching and range of motion as we massage a certain area. All of this is entirely dependent on your specific injury, but most musculoskeletal conditions will benefit.

If you’re still not sure which technique is right for you, just reach out. We’ll discuss your issues and help you decide. Either way, you’ll be in great hands. Our therapists Jennifer and Scott are both certified in neuromuscular therapy, and Jamie specializes in orthopedic massage. We care about our clients and their health. That’s why we pride ourselves in offering both of these amazingly beneficial techniques.

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