“Hypertonic muscle spasm”, or hypertonus, means “too much muscle tone”. [Muscle tone = the residual tension in a resting muscle.] Hypertonus is orchestrated by the cerebellum, is beyond conscious control and doesn’t always produce direct awareness of its presence. Unfortunately it is very common.
We tend to think of “spasm” as a temporary cramp or tic, caused by lack of circulation. But true hypertonic spasm is much more serious and is permanent unless treated. Simply put, hypertonic muscle suffers from muscle tone run amok – the muscle is caught in an ever-increasing, automatic contraction, unable to relax.
Spastic tight muscle puts stress on joints, strangles the blood circulation, and irritates adjacent nerves. It can create degenerative disc disease, bursitis, rotator cuff injury, TMJ disorder, sinusitis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, tennis elbow, knee injuries, and nerve impingement, among other problems. It can also exacerbate injuries such as whiplash.
Hypertonus accelerates the aging process. As more muscle succumbs to permanent automatic contraction, aging begins in earnest. Ever-encroaching hypertonic spasm reduces the body’s vitality and ability to move easily and freely; vertebrae are squeezed together, putting pressure on intervertebral discs and distorting the spine; circulation is reduced in the veins, allowing toxins to accumulate; nerves are entrapped, and a great number of other symptoms of age begin to appear. For instance, certain muscles in spasm can elevate blood pressure and heart rate; excess lactic acid in the system can increase plaque in veins and arteries; hypertonus in lumbar intertransversarii muscles can produce acid indigestion, constipation, and irritable bowels; and spasm in the all-important suboccipital muscles wreaks havoc on the body’s sinuses and overall chemistry.
As you see, hypertonic muscle precludes general good health because of the strong holistic interactions between the various organs of the body (a disturbance in one is always transmitted to several others). It makes homeostasis impossible, which is why sick muscle translates to a sick body.
The physiology of muscle malfunction is not within the scope of most bodywork modalities. Although many do contribute toward holistic solutions, most therapies, including modern allopathic medicine, are limited by a focus on structure (anatomy) rather than function (physiology), and ignore the complex operation of muscle spindle organs. Without understanding the vicious cycle of contraction gone awry, they are unable to go to the source of the problem. Most hold pain elimination as the goal, and so attack the messenger instead of the problem. Pain is a secondary problem; it is how the body alerts us to the unfelt primary problem – muscle spasm.
Established medicine does not recognize hypertonicity as a malady. Doctors rarely consider muscle to be the culprit, or know how to treat muscle other than with surgery, with pharmaceuticals, or with “strengthening” exercises (which increase contraction). When they are forced to deal with hard, painful muscles, doctors fall back on the term “dystonia”, and utilize drugs such as botox and muscle relaxants, which don’t allow the muscle to actually relax, but instead either paralyze the muscle, or block nerve transmission at the motor end plate. Although skeletal muscle accounts for 45 to 50% of the human body mass, and although medical specialists exist for every other body part and disorder, there are no specialists for muscle; no myologists.
NeuroSoma® restores a pain-free, healthy, and productive life. It works within the nervous system to relax sick, contracted muscle, normalizing blood vessels, glands, bone structure and nerves. You (or your patients or clients) really can live a joyous life again, and reclaim the sick, hard muscle that can impact every aspect of existence, including the aging process itself.