Postural Muscles and Trigger Points - Dr. Jonathan Kuttner M.D.
Postural and Phasic Muscles
It's often accepted that muscles that have a stabilizing function (postural) have a tendency to shorten when stressed, and other muscles that play a more active/moving role (phasic) have a tendency to lengthen and become inhibited.
The muscles that tend to shorten have a primary postural role. However, there are some exceptions to the rule that certain muscles follow the pattern of becoming shortened while others become lengthened – some muscles are capable of modifying their structure.
For example, certain authors suggest that the scalenes are postural in nature and some suggest that they are phasic.
We know that, depending on what dysfunction is present within the muscle framework, on specific testing one can find the scalenes to be held in a shortened position and tight, but sometimes when they are tested they can be found to be lengthened and weakened.
There is a distinction between postural and phasic muscles; however, many muscles can display characteristics of both and contain a mixture of Type I and Type II fibres.
The hamstring muscles, for example, have a postural stabilizing function, yet are polyarticular (cross more than one joint) and are notoriously prone to shortening.
|Muscle Type||Type I||Type II|
Lengthening and shortening of muscles
Also known as tonic muscles, these muscles have an antigravity role and are therefore heavily involved in the maintenance of posture.
Slow-twitch fibres are more suited to maintaining posture; they are capable of sustained contraction and generally become shortened and subsequently tight.
Postural muscles are slow-twitch dominant, due to their resistance to fatigue, and are innervated by a smaller motor neuron.
They therefore have a lower excitability threshold, which means the nerve impulse will reach the postural muscle before the phasic muscle.
With this sequence of innervation, the postural muscle will inhibit the phasic (antagonist) muscle, thus reducing its contractile potential and activation.
When your muscles are placed under faulty or repetitive loading, the postural muscles will shorten and the phasic muscles will weaken.
This consequently alters their length-tension relationship, which will directly affect posture, as the surrounding muscles displace the soft tissues and the skeletal system.
Postural-phasic muscles (anterior view). Purple muscles predominantly postural, and green muscles predominantly phasic.
Postural-phasic muscles (posterior view). Purple muscles predominantly postural, and green muscles predominantly phasic.
Phasic MusclesMovement is the main function of phasic muscles. These muscles are often relatively more superficial than postural muscles and tend to span several joints (polyarticular).
A tight muscle often results in inhibition of the phasic muscle, whose function becomes weakened as a result.
The relationship between a tightness-prone muscle and its weakness-prone muscle is one way.
As the tightness-prone muscle becomes tighter and subsequently stronger, this causes an inhibition of the weakness-prone muscle, resulting in its lengthening and consequent weakening.
About NAT Courses
As a manual therapist or exercise professional, there is only one way to expand your business - education!
Learning more skills increases the services that you offer and provides more opportunity for specialization.
Every NAT course is designed to build on what you already know, to empower you to treat more clients and grow your practice, with a minimal investment in time and money.
About Niel Asher Education
Niel Asher Education is a leading provider of distance learning and continued education courses.
Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, we provide course and distance learning material for therapists and other healthcare professionals in over 40 countries.
Our courses are accredited by over 90 professional associations and national accreditation institutions including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Full details of all international course accreditations can be found on our website.
Printed course materials and other products offered on our websites are despatched worldwide from our 3 locations in the UK (London), USA (Pennsylvania) and Australia (Melbourne).
NAMTPT AWARD 2017
We are honored to have received the 2017 "Excellence in Education" Award from the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists.
Since 1999 Niel Asher Education has won numerous awards for education and in particular for education and services provided in the field of trigger point therapy.
Award Winning Instructors
Niel Asher Healthcare course instructors have won a host of prestigious awards including 2 lifetime achievement honorees - Stuart Hinds, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, AAMT, 2015, and Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, MD, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, NAMTPT, 2014.
If you are a qualified/licensed manual therapist or exercise/fitness professional you can expand your credentials with NAT certification.
In addition to national accreditation for continued education, each course that we offer includes "NAT Learning Credits". By taking and completing courses you can accumulate NAT credits to qualify for NAT certification.
There are currently 3 levels of NAT certification. Certifying NAT is a valuable way to show your clients that you take continued education seriously, and to promote your skills and qualifications.
Most of our courses are accredited for CE/CPD/CPE. A full list of CE accreditations can be found by clicking on the link below.
Niel Asher Technique
Since 1999 the Niel Asher Technique for treating trigger points has been adopted by over 100,000 therapists worldwide, and has been applied to the treatment of a number of common musculoskeletal injuries.
The Niel Asher Technique for treating frozen shoulder was first introduced and published in 1997 and has been widely adopted by therapists and exercise professionals working within elite sports and athletics.
Most of our courses are available as either "Printed" or 'Download" editions, wherever you live. Internet connection is required to access online and downloadable material.
When you purchase a download edition, you receive immediate lifetime access to all course material. Course texts can be downloaded and printed if required.
When you purchase a "Printed" edition, you will also receive free access to the download edition.
We ship Worldwide from locations in the USA, UK, and Australia. Most items are despatched within 24 hours and shipping is FREE for all orders over US$50.
Where to Start?
We offer a range of over 50 courses, presented by some of the worlds leading manual therapists. All courses are reviewed annually, and new courses are regularly added.
Our courses are modular, and designed to build on what you already know. For more information, please visit our "Where to Start?" page.
Trigger Point Therapy Diploma Course
Understanding and Evaluating Posture
Share this post