by Thomas Kurz
Information on this Web page is for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice.
Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before treating yourself or others.
Always consult a physician before beginning or changing any fitness program.
There are two models of treating a sports injury. One is based on assumptions and statistics, and the other is based on the immediate feedback.
First the assumptions and statistics. Assumptions such as: If the physician doesn’t see anything grossly abnormal, then all is normal; a medication for fighting a symptom (such as an inflammation) will cure an inflamed joint; masking a pain with a painkiller is all it takes to regain normal function.
Statistics such as: A large percentage of patients show signs of improvement after a given treatment (a pill or some physiotherapy modality), therefore it will probably help you.
It can be summed up as “roll the dice and hope and pray.”
Typical advice from physicians practicing such a model of injury treatment goes like this: The muscle hurts, therefore you should rest it and take painkillers; the muscle is weak, therefore you should exercise it; the joint is inflamed, therefore you should take an anti-inflammatory medication; if the joint is still inflamed, take a stronger medication; and so on.
The other way is based on specific muscle tests that reveal the cause of dysfunction and suggest a treatment. (Muscles are tested because every injury to the musculoskeletal system results in altered muscle function, and without restoring normal function of the muscles, joints cannot work normally.) Immediately after the treatment, the troublesome muscles are tested again to see if more needs to be done, and if so, what exactly. This is the model followed by specialists of Applied Kinesiology, Active Release Techniques, Muscle Activation Techniques, Functional Manual Therapy®, and Sports Chiropractic.
Such specialists use precise muscle tests (Applied Kinesiology tests or similar) to determine what is wrong and what has to be done to make it right.
AK muscle tests are based on those of Kendall and Kendall published in 1949 (Muscles: Testing and Function; current edition: Kendall, F. P., and E. K. Creary. 1983. Muscles: Testing and Function. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins).
While a patient’s positioning and direction of movement are similar in both types of tests, in AK tests the timing and therefore the purpose are different. AK tests do not evaluate just the force a muscle can produce but rather how a muscle is controlled by the nervous system (facilitated or inhibited). One can say that tests developed by AK and used by practitioners of such methods as ART, FMT, MAT, or Sports Chiropractic evaluate muscle activation. That means these tests show whether a muscle can be activated when needed or not, whether it works in concert with other muscles or not. Practitioners test the muscles, then, based on their knowledge of the neuromuscular system, they perform treatment to restore normal function. They test again to see if the treatment worked and repeat this procedure until the desired result is obtained. (It may take more than one treatment session for the correction to hold permanently.)
To learn how treatment methods based on precise testing work and why I recommend specialists who test-treat-retest, read the forum posts that follow.
Experiences of other athletes with Applied Kinesiology and Chiropractic are described in these Stadion Forum posts:
Experiences with Muscle Activation Techniques are described in the following Stadion Forum posts, which are best read in the order they are listed:
Something dawns. . . .
But still the wrong doctor. . . .
Many thanks to Stadion Forum members who decided to share their experiences, especially to Kit and CSta!