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Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT): What is It?

Updated: May 8

Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT) is an approach to to address pain and movement dysfunction at the source. NKT is based on the theory that dysfunctional movement patterns are caused by imbalances in the muscle and traumatic areas (like scars) that inactivate certain muscles, resulting in overcompensation of another. In essence, NKT can assess every single muscle in the body (eye muscles, pelvic floor, etc) as well as ligaments to determine if they are neurologically on or off. I always explain that my core chooses one oblique to work for my entire core, including my back muscles because this was a reliable source for my brain in the past, but that constant use of one oblique makes it difficult for the other core muscles to turn back on and work for me, therefore causing pain and movement dysfunction. NKT sessions will find the cause of your pain efficiently, treat it and give you homework to further carry it over. NKT sessions typically take 3-5 corrections per "dysfunction" to correct with adherence to homework and therefore is a shorter time in rehab than traditional physical therapy.


Disclaimer: Information included in this blog is for informational purposes only and not meant as medical advise. Please consult a clinician that is familiar with your care, if

you have specific questions for your own care.






In More Detail

Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT) can assess scars, ligaments and every muscle in your body (eye muscles, pelvic floor, etc) to assess if they are neurologically on or off. It is also able to assess if a muscle that is ALWAYS ON (significantly tight and strong) is compensating for a nearby turned off muscle. By using NKT, I am also able to see how each muscle acts in relation to one another (as in the video below). Everyone has muscles that are overacting and underacting for one another. I often tell the example of my neck pain once was stemming from my eye muscle, my eye muscle that looks to the left was overworking for my neck muscle that turns to the left. How would this happen? How is your work station setup? At home, I consistently look to the left to my other screen or tablet and I taught my brain that looking to the left and using this eye muscle was a reliable and efficient source to use, rendering my neck muscle inefficient. A simple release of my eye muscle and reactivation of my neck muscle improved my pain in one session.





Is it More Expensive than Traditional Therapy?

Usually it ends up being cheaper. It typically takes 3-5 sessions to correct one dysfunction (maybe less). Traditional PT recommends 2-3x per week for up to 3 months for rehab and with deductibles needing to be met and copays and being reliant and insurance to cover - the total spent on that rehab can add up.


That being said, it all depends on the body. NKT often finds that one significant core muscle was a major player in whole body pain. Like in the video below, where massaging of this patient's c-section scar was what increased her shoulder range of motion, I didn't even work on her shoulder. However, your muscle patterns can also be hidden under layers and may take a little longer to correct, but you should have relief within the first 2-3 visits.






Why is a detailed history required?

Our bodies hold onto a lot of trauma. Many times NKT will find a deactivated muscle tied to scars, sprains, strains, fractures, history of intubation and more! No matter how long ago something occurred, your body compensates to make up for the movement that your body requires


Who can benefit from Neurokinetic Therapy?

In short, all diagnoses can benefit from NKT. But specifically benefits have been witnessed in:

  • Pain (whether chronic or acute)

  • Sinus Pressure

  • Headaches/Migraines

  • TMJ/Jaw Pain

  • Muscle Spasms

  • Spasticity

  • Muscle or Joint Stiffness

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Golfer's Elbow

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Hip Bursitis

  • Sciatic Pain

  • Hip Pain

  • IT Band Syndrome

  • Pelvic Floor Issues (leakage, erectile dysfunction)

  • Shoulder issues

  • improved walking

  • improved athletic performance

  • And much more *here is a list of conditions I can help treat


What are the risks associated with NKT?

NKT is generally considered to be safe, there are a few potential risks associated with the treatment. The most common side effect of NKT is temporary soreness or tenderness at the site of treatment. This is similar to the soreness that one might experience after a deep tissue massage.


You may also experience general fatigue and achiness in your body after NKT as it is a readjustment to your nervous system and movement patterns. Some muscles (especially scar tissue) can hold onto trauma and if you experience a trauma-release during our session, you may feel even more fatigued and a little out of it. This should not last longer than a day.


When your treatment is performed by a qualified practitioner, NKT is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Head to www.nktdirectory.com for a qualified practitioner near you, or come see me in Tempe!


Why do I believe in NKT so much?

When I first experienced NKT it was able to address pain in many of my "troubled areas" and the SOURCE of the pain was not where I thought it was. Certain workouts I would do would just result in so much pain and as a physical therapist, I knew my form was correct, but there was still a piece missing. On me, NKT found that I did not have the ability to turn on my core (rectus and tranverse abdominus, specifically). These muscles weren't active, 'causing everything else to overcompensate, resulting in chronic calf, foot AND shoulder pain. The culprit was an OLD scar from 20 years ago. Releasing this scar and activating my abs allowed my abs to be retrained to turn on, decreasing the effort required by my legs and arms.


I also have chronic left shoulder blade pain that can travel up to the side/back of my neck, so I often massage in this area. NKT found that all of my front neck muscles were inactivated. The culprit? My teeth grinding resulted in overly active muscles in my jaw/neck that were turning off my front neck muscles, 'causing my left shoulder blade and back of my neck to work harder.



Where Can You Book Your Session with Me?






Other NKT Practitioners?

If I'm not in your area. Click here for the NKT Practitioner Directory!

Your NKT practitioner will be able to tell you if NKT is safe for your specific condition, or if further discussion with your physician is warranted

Disclaimer: Information included in this blog is for informational purposes only and not meant as medical advise. Please consult a clinician that is familiar with your care, if you have specific questions for your own care.





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