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Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT): What is It?

Updated: Sep 12

Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT) is an approach to to address pain and movement dysfunction at the source. NKT is based on the hypothesis 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. The premise of NKT is that our nervous system is constantly making "movement decisions" based on sensory input from our muscles, joints, and surrounding environment. When we experience an injury or other trauma, these movement decisions can become "stuck" in a protective mode, leading to dysfunctional movement patterns. NKT practitioners use techniques to help your system "unlearn" these dysfunctional patterns and re-establish normal movement. In addition to NKT the client will need to engage in their own exercises at home to work towards restoring normal movement.

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) challenges specific muscles in ways that lets the practitioner and the client know that if that muscle is neurologically challenged, can it respond OR are there other muscles nearby that are helping that muscle respond when it needs to. But when that muscle is truly isolated and requested to work, can it work functionally. Areas of dysfunction can arise from an antagonistic muscle working or even a synergistic muscle (a muscle that does the same action) overworking, a scar, diaphragm, jaw, pelvic floor and so much more.

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

  • IT Band Syndrome

  • Charlie Horses

  • Stroke

  • Brain Injury

  • Spinal Cord Injury

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • 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. Other potential side effects include bruising, swelling, and redness. These side effects are usually mild and go away within a day or two.

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. This is all pretty similar side effects to a good workout.

More serious side effects are rare, but they can include nerve damage, muscle weakness, and joint stiffness. These side effects are typically the result of an incorrect NKT treatment. However, when performed by a qualified practitioner, NKT is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions.

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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