Movement, the brain, and how the brain creates and orchestrates movement is incredibly complex in even the simplest of actions. Just to pick up a glass of water while sitting we need to use the muscles to move the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand, but also muscles around each joint to hold it together (stabilize) appropriately during movement and then to brace the body so that it does not move or fall while you reach away from your center of gravity. Something as simple as walking is more than exponentially more complicated than picking up a glass of water. Then consider things like running, playing sports, or even just getting up and down from a chair or keeping your balance on one foot. Not only are these actions very complicated, the body has around 700 muscles, 206 bones, more than 900 ligaments, near endless fascial tracks (connective tissue), and these come together to make near incalculable combinations where force could be created and transferred.

I bring up these details to show that not only is anatomy, posture and movement complicated, there are unsurprisingly many ways for the body to get a movement or posture task done. A slight change in joint angle makes a different way of going about a task inherently more ideal as the mechanics of one set of ‘tools/parts’ line up better than another one. This also means, however, that we have a wide selection of ways the brain can get something done if it needs to, using less efficient means if necessary, both in which ratios of which parts it uses and the order it implements them, etc.

Another bit of crucial physiology here in our discussion is some of the advanced evolutionary ‘features’ of the brain. Specifically the brain’s’ ability to foresee, perceive and try to avoid threats of all kinds. Sometimes this is as acute as coming across a bear in the woods and either fighting or running should it charge you, but sometimes it’s the brain and body’s elaborate network of sensors to tell it how stable certain joints are, or of injuries or other ‘perceived threats’ that make it feel less safe. Going back to that incredible structural complexity of the body briefly described above and the fact that the brain can choose different paths or ‘strategies’ to get posture and movement done, with some kind of instability, injury or other perceived threat, we can see why the brain might alter how it carries out movement tasks.

If we tore a muscle trying to run away from a bear, and we do indeed get away, we certainly can’t use that muscle fully for a time or it likely will keep getting tugged by it’s own contraction and at least slow or stop healing, possibly tearing itself more. So the brain finds an alternative set of tools/parts to recruit and changes its strategy to hold posture or move. For a wide range of other reasons the brain may sense a potential threat and react to protect itself, most often by compressing joints and limiting range of motion, especially following significant potential injuries like an impact to the head, chest or spine, or scars from surgeries or other insults to our body.

To compress a joint or area certain muscles and other tissues must be turned off, or at least ‘turned down,’ because they would decompress a joint or region. This change in ‘motor strategy’ not only puts compression on a joint which will eventually, if not changed, lead to joint damage and arthritis, but changes how the body overall operates to maintain these protective strategies of compression. The injury itself will heal but because of the basis of our species having lived in nature for 2+ million years where a fall and a broken hip, or a mild cut that gets infected could kill you, the brain takes these injuries very seriously and often maintains these protective strategies permanently. These strategies put extra wear on our bodies, from our joints to bones and even on the organs. Back pain, arthritis, joint replacements, chronic heartburn, frozen shoulder, urine leakage or constipation, hernias; the list really does go on for what can be caused by a ‘simple’ protective strategy. In a world where a minor injury can kill you, the brain is much more concerned with living through today, this month, or maybe this year, not protecting you from arthritis in your 80’s. One compensatory strategy can snowball into a body wide alteration as things change from ideal postures and alignment to fit this altered way of moving, which can eventually be drastically different from our beginning ‘natural’ posture and movement strategy.

All this said, it is not as morose and hopeless as it sounds. With Neurokinetic Therapy® we are able to interact with the portions of the brain that change our posture and movement strategies and show them that these past injuries and other threats are not a problem and that it can return to the most ideal ways of maintaining our body (aka back to ‘factory settings’), decreasing wear and tear, improving mobility and flexibility, and stopping pain. How the body handles these threats can be incredibly complicated, and in a way so can the way we fix it, but with the appropriate tools we are able to very quickly and easily find out what perceived threats the brain is seeing, what it is doing about them, and how it is causing you pain and dysfunctions. We can then just as easily resolve these issues and stop the pain permanently.