Dance: integration of automatic and conscious, random motor control leads to impressive motor control (© konradbak/Fotolia)

The articular-neurological system

PhysioNovo distinguishes between deliberately controlledcerebral motor activity and unconscious motor activity regulated by the brainstem, joints (articular-neurological motor activity), muscles and bones.

Although large superficial muscles in daily life are predominantly unconsciously active during automated activities, they can also be controlled consciously. It is these muscles that actually perform the movements because of their biomechanical properties.

After all, the brain controls movements, not muscles. 

The small, deeper muscles of a joint or spine, on the other hand, react completely and exclusively unconsciously to and in close connection with the activity of the large, superficial muscles. Because of their stabilizing function for the joint, they support the large superficial muscles in their function.

PhysioNovo attaches great importance to the articular-neurological system.  After all, joint sensors, however different in nature (pain, mechano- and proprio-sensors), have an extraordinarily largedirect influence on the motor abilities of joints and an indirect influence on the motor abilities of the spine. And the joint motor abilities give a definite indication of the load-bearing capacity of joints.

Arthro-myogenic motor insufficiency of the shoulder or hip joints is immediately compensated and can lead to increased stress on other (especially vertebral) joints. Arthro-myogenic facilitation by correct loading leads to increased strength and mobility
Through targeted conscious motor activity, joint functions can be improved again and compensatory motor activity can be corrected.

PhysioNovo makes use of this joint neurology in both sports and rehabilitation in order to assess and safely improve the load-bearing capacity of joints, reduce pain complaints and avoid (sports) injuries.  

PhysioNovo also applies the principles of this joint neurology in strength training because strength is coordination.

Compensation motor activity

Man is able to solve motor problems by motor compensation strategies. Functional limitations of one part of the body automatically lead to this function being taken over by other parts of the body, insofar as the motor possibilities of these parts of the body allow this. If a foot hurts, it is automatically relieved by limping. A painful arm is compensated by using the other arm more.

With regard to back pain, reflexological, subtle motor compensation strategies play an important role based on articular joint neurology. If the function of a joint decreases, be it by degeneration, be it by overexertion, be it by trauma, the muscle functions of the joint spanning muscles also decrease (arthromyogenic inhibition). This reduction in function is then compensated by other, most adjacent joints. This forced compensation can then lead to overexertion with pain as a result.

The Hip-Spine Syndrome describes how reduced hip function leads to compensation in the lumbar spine. Back pain then arises due to overburdening of the SI- or L5-S1 joint.

Shoulder-Spine-Syndrome shows how limited function of the shoulder joint can lead to scapulo-thoracic and/or cervical complaints due to motor compensatory mechanisms.  

From this perspective, focusing exclusively on the spinal column in case of back pain can never lead to an adequate result.

Force couple

Muscles never work alone and can only work optimally when they work together with other muscles. PhysioNovo therefore focuses on the application of the motor principle of force couples: two forces of equal magnitude caused by muscle activity, which act parallel to each other but in opposite directions. This motor principle leads to optimal active mobility of a joint. Arthro-myogen inhibition due to the articular-neurological system leads to muscular dysbalance and thus causes motor compensation.

Strength training – “the key element"

The training of muscle strength implies specific activation of more, or more intense activation of muscle fibers which are connected to the nervous system. Through professional training, the activation mechanism can be improved significantly. Professional (strength) training therefore involves improving coordination through concentration which, fundamentally, takes place in the brain. 

An increase in the muscle fibrils which are unconnected to the nervous system, for example, by means of protein-rich nutrition in combination with specific training or doping, will lead to “muscle growth”, but not necessarily lead to any increase in strength. After the growth period muscle fibrils which are connected to nerve fibres cannot increase in number. And additional "muscle tissue" that is created after the growth period can no longer be connected to the nervous system. 

So the external appearance of the human body can be misleading: actual strength can only manifest itself through (coordinative) exercise.

Mono- or biarticular – a world of difference

Muscles which span only one joint can only activate movement in one direction of a joint by shortening by contraction. Whenever a series of such uniaxial movements in several joints of the arm or leg with opposite rotational movements are connected to each other, a linear movement of the hand or foot is instigated. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a flowing movement, but instead can look stiff and robotic.
Multiarticular muscles, which span two or more joints, function in a completely different, paradoxical way: they extend rather than shorten when contracting. What’s more, these muscles are usually active in combination with contraction of the antagonist, likewise multiarticular and paradoxical. These paradoxial muscle functions of both the agonist and the antagonist help bring about a refined, more flowing movement in the arm or leg. 

Because of their manifestly paradoxical contractive quality, the hamstrings at the rear of the thigh are the most studied and therefore the most familiar. Less well-known is the fact that almost every joint adjacent to uniaxial muscles is moved by multiaxial (parts of) muscles. The best and, at the same time, the least known of these are the abdominal muscles. Their paradoxical tightening pattern is of great importance for a good function of both the hip muscles and the shoulder blade / back muscles.  

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