Are you experiencing some stiffness or muscle tightness, and you find it difficult to move? Do you have chronic muscle pain, cramps, or discomfort? Post-isometric relaxation techniques may help your condition.

Post-isometric relaxation helps to relax tight muscles without triggering a stretch reflex. It can help to reduce muscle spasms and increase the range of motion.

At Evergreen Rehab and Wellness, our Kinesiologists in Coquitlam and Surrey incorporate this technique into their treatment plans to address muscle spasms of patients and improve their range of motion.

Understanding Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR)

Post Isometric Relaxation or also known as PIR begins by having the muscle in a stretched position. Then, this is followed by the application of an isometric contraction against minimal resistance.

At the beginning of the PIR application, the therapist will passively move or stretched your involved muscle up to the ends of its length. During this period, you should not feel any pain but just a mild stretch. Then, after our Kinesiologist stretched your involved muscles, you will resist the stretch for about 7 to 10 seconds. The resistance applied should be just about 20% of your maximum strength. Then, you will feel that your muscle relaxes. After the muscle release, our Kinesiologist will move into the next resistance barrier. He or she will repeat the process depending on the tightness of your muscles or joint restrictions.

Benefits of Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR)

Post Isometric Relaxation Technique is ideal for treating postural muscles or muscles responsible for: walking, sitting, and standing.

Post Isometric Relaxation is ideal for treating postural muscles or muscles responsible for: walking, sitting, and standing. As these muscles are responsible for maintaining the body’s posture against the gravity, it tends to shorten. Thus, we can experience muscle tightening and spasms. Among these postural muscles are the: upper trapezius, latissimus dorsi (lats), muscles found from the cranial base up to our collarbone, broad muscles on our mid-back, pectoralis major and minor, chest muscles, etc. You will observe that most of these muscles belong to the upper body.

PIR is also ideal for treating muscles in the lower body such as the hamstrings, rectus femoris, quadriceps, and thigh muscles.

One crucial point that you must consider is when the muscle gets overstretched. A muscle is being overstretched once you feel the pain while the therapist is lengthening it or applying this technique. It means that instead of getting relaxed after the release, you will feel the pain. However, there are instances that you may feel slight soreness, but it will be gone after a few days.

Effects of Post Isometric Relaxation Based on Research

A study had shown that the PIR technique can help to relieve myofascial pain. This technique was applied to tight, tender muscles that are commonly linked to musculoskeletal pain and tested on 351 muscle groups in 244 patients. It has provided immediate pain relief in 94%, lasting pain relief in 63%, and lasting relief of point tenderness in 23% of areas treated.

A comparative study between post isometric relaxation and reciprocal inhibition maneuvers on hamstring flexibility in young adults published in the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences showed that PIR is also effective in improving hamstring flexibility. And, what is interesting is that PIR is a more effective therapeutic maneuver compared to reciprocal inhibition. Hamstring flexibility is essential to avoid tightness since it is known to cause low back pain and strains that can lead to injury.

Is the PIR Technique Ideal for Your Condition?

At Evergreen Rehab and Wellness, our patients will undergo a thorough assessment before applying any modalities. An initial assessment is crucial in finding out the real cause of pain and in planning a custom treatment plan for your condition. Therefore, the application of the PIR technique will depend on the result of your assessment.

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