Are you experiencing some stiffness or muscle tightness and you find it difficult to move? Do you have a serious muscle pain, cramps, or discomfort? Post-isometric relaxation technique can help you.
post-isometric relaxation is a technique used by Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapist and Kinesiologist 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, we have Kinesiologists in Coquitlam and Surrey who incorporate this technique into their treatment plans. Let us also help you discover more about Post Isometric Technique by reading the succeeding content.
Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR)
Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) is a method that deals with acute tension in soft tissue problems that may prevent an immediate spinal adjustment. PIR is a very effective method for bringing relaxation in tension that is often superior to modalities. In medical terms, PIR is the effect of a decrease in a single muscle tone or a group after performing a brief submaximal isometric contraction.
This technique can be substituted with the stretch and spray techniques, reducing a muscular spasm (responsible for spinal fixation) and eliminates pain points by the tendon (attached to the periosteum. This is really effective for patients who can hardly tolerate any movements.
Post isometric relaxation (PIR), a MET (Muscle Energy Technique), is a gentle stretching technique typically used on postural muscles to relax and lengthen hypertonic and shortened muscles. These muscles often become short and tight and can lead to muscle imbalances and can cause limitations in a range of motions and cause joint restrictions, which can really cause a lot of pain during movements; this can include several muscles in the upper body such as the upper trapezius, and levator scapulae.
How is Post-Isometric Relaxation Done?
The PIR technique’s procedure starts by fully stretching the hypertonic and shortened muscles in a relaxed state. For upper fibers of the trapezius, the patient is asked to contract the agonist using a maximum degree of effort, i.e., the patient is asked to bring their muscles to their maximum lengths without stretching for 5 to 10 seconds while inhaling/breathing in and allowing the therapist to apply resistance in the opposite direction for a better understanding.
The process continues with the flexed head and neck, the side is bent, and the shoulder is stabilized with one hand-treated to just short of the restriction barrier while the other hand is doing the ipsilateral mastoid process.
Then the therapist moves the patient’s stabilized shoulder toward the ear and suggests holding breath for at least 7 seconds while the ear is stretched towards the shoulder as a resistance. After this step, the patient is allowed to inhale and exhale and relax for 3 seconds, with the strategically stretched shoulder for 30 seconds.
After that, the isometric contraction starts, including a stretching practice to up the slack till the barrier, and once it ends, the patient is allowed to relax. If you are thinking of getting help from the PIR technique, ensure that you are feeling relaxed during the pause and if you are not feeling well or relaxed. This process is repeated two to three times to complete the Post Isometric Relaxation Technique.
During the levator scapulae, the therapist first supports the patient’s neck in flexion, rotate, and bend the contralateral side with one hand while keeping the other hand on the patient’s ipsilateral shoulder. Then the therapist asks the patient to extend their head backward and move towards the side a bit. The side is a strategic move that will allow for rotating the ipsilateral shoulder while holding the breath for at least 7 seconds. In the meantime, the therapist will apply resistance against the shoulder with his other hand and then allow the patient to breathe in and out or relax for 3 seconds. In the end, the neck is further flexed while the patient is inside a bending and rotating position; at this point, the patient’s shoulder is depressed carefully for approximately 30 seconds.
Effects of Post Isometric Relaxation Based on Research
This research was conducted on thirty patients (18 females and 12 males) having chronic mechanical neck pain diagnosed by orthopedic physicians that were recruited for the study of such conditions from the orthopedic outpatient clinics of Cairo University hospitals. Their ages ranged from (20-40) years, and they were suffering from MNP for at least three months. Post isometric relaxation was performed for the upper fibers of the trapezius.
This process is repeated 3 times, and each time the starting position for both muscles is as short of a new barrier. All patients were treated and had this exercise performed for three sessions per week and on alternative days for four weeks.
The results of the research have shown that the next step of MET, named PIR to the traditional physiotherapy program, is a very effective way to treat pain, including the use of infra-red radiation, isometric strengthening, and traction.
The traditional physiotherapy program with PIR is more significant and beneficial than the traditional physical therapy program in relieving pain, reducing disability, and increasing cervical ROM.
Adding muscle energy technique (MET) in the form of PIR to the conventional physical therapy treatment program of chronic MNP was found to be more effective in the reduction of pain and the functional disability, increasing cervical ROM than the traditional treatment program alone.
In a study, it is also revealed that with the help of isometric exercises, the level of pain could be reduced as it will increase endorphins that are responsible for better neuromuscular control and mostly occur after training. Strong muscle contractions happen during isometric exercise, which activates muscle stretch receptors; this can cause a decrease in pain.
At Evergreen Rehab and Wellness, our main goal is to discover the root cause of your diseases. We ensure that you’ll be provided with a personalized treatment plan that is safe and effective for your condition.
We provide Naturopathic Medicine in Coquitlam, Surrey, and surrounding areas. If you have any questions about our services, feel free to get in touch!