A Different Approach to Treating Pain

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Friday, January 31, 2014 - 7:49am

If you cut yourself, you instinctively put a Band-Aid on the wound. If your shoulder hurts, you most likely would seek treatment for the shoulder. However, our body functions as a whole and not in parts. It also has the not-so wonderful ability to create compensation patterns in order to keep functioning. These compensation patterns prevent you from moving properly and ultimately can lead to injury. Instead of treating the site of pain or temporarily relieving pain, a more sustainable approach would be to find the source of pain. I am a huge proponent of alternative therapies and went to see Mara Nicandro NMT in Wicker Park, when I recently had discomfort with my left shoulder. I was recommend to Mara from a couple of friends in the fitness community. Mara is licensed by the State of Illinois and Nationally Certified by Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She also has dual advanced certification in the Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Therapy and medical massage from Sterling Health Center Dallas.

What sets Mara apart from traditional massage therapists is that she restores musculoskeletal balance to the body. Muscular imbalances can lead to dysfunctional movement/coordination. If detected early on, muscular imbalances can be corrected, so that your range of motion or mobility can be improved. In your first session, she will assess you to locate the source of dysfunction and follow with a specific treatment.  My treatment utilized NKT™(NeuroKinetic Therapy), which is a corrective movement system that address the causes of dysfunctional movement /coordination problems, at their root in the Motor Control Center (MCC), located in the cerebellum (the region of the brain that plays an important role in motor control). NKT™ therapy utilizes muscle testing to rewire the MCC. Essentially, muscles that work together in a kinetic change can compensate for each other, therefore creating dysfunctional movement patterns. NKT™ therapy is a concise road map to find the “why” of dysfunction.

In my case, stated simply, my right hip had a slight deviation. This deviation caused some muscles to overwork, such as my right low back and left pec minor (the thin triangular muscle located in the upper part of the chest), and others to underwork. Essentially, this created instability in my left shoulder, making some movements painful. Each session utilized therapy localization, releasing tight muscle, and retesting the weak muscle to make sure it was strong. NKT™ therapy is not a passive form of therapy. You play an active role in your treatment, by performing specific rehab exercises in order to re-program the new functional pattern.

Mara recommends a minimum of two sessions, but treatment can take up to four sessions. Every case is different, depending the dysfunction and if the patient is consistent with the exercises. As Mara said to me, “It takes three hundred reps to injure yourself, but three thousand reps to heal”. Very true indeed. It takes something as simple as getting out of bed the wrong way to create a dysfunction. If you experience chronic pain without resolution, I highly recommend you see Mara.

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Suzanne Ko
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