tirsdag 20. mars 2012

Neurac 1 weekend!

All right, folks! We've done a lot of fun stuff lately, but I haven't had the time to blog properly. We have been down town in LA, and I haven't written anything from our drive south form San Francisco on the pacific coast highway!  Well, I'll have to do something about that!  Norwegian version here

This weekend I participated in a Neurac 1 course in Studio City, LA. It's a course for physical therapists, trainers or other personnel working in rehabilitation. It was refreshing to do something "real" in physical therapy again, something that I can put on my resumé, especially since I've started applying for jobs in Norway now! Of course, I have been in a PT environment for a couple of days a week over some time now, but it's just not the same when I don't have a PT licence in California. I'm really looking forward to working independently again, and to have responsibility for my own patients! So for that reason it was really refreshing to learn about Neurac/Redcord this weekend, and particularly since this is actually a concept developed in Norway! 

For those who don't know what it is, the word "Neurac" is an abrevation of " neuromuscular activation". We have mainly two types of muscles in our bodies, the global (outer, moving joints) and the local muscles (deep core muscles, stabilizing). The ones that make movements, like moving an arm quickly, are called global movers. And then there are the ones that keep us in an upright position, the stabilizers. We have both global and local stabilizers, but the ones that we want to focus on here are the local ones we find deep, and close to the joints. They don't actually move, They don't necessarily shorten signicificantly, but they are there, working slowly all day long to stabilize us and keep us upright. When we experience pain in an area, let's say the neck, it leads to an alteration of our movement pattern. We compensate for the pain by "shutting of" the local stabilizers, and activating the global muscles more in order to keep the neck upright. So when you're starting a movement after having pain, the global muscles "switch on" before the local stabilizers do. And this is the wrong order, because in order for us to have a functional movement pattern, the deep stabilizers must switch on before the global ones to support our movements. One can argue that this is a functional movement pattern as long as there is pain. The thing is, however, that this muscle recruiting pattern often persists after the pain has dissappeared! The movement pattern may in itself be the source of continued pain, even though the original cause is gone. So then the task is to learn the correct movement pattern all over again, and this is where the Redcord comes in. By using our own body weight as resistance on an unstable surface, we can test for weak links in our muscles and find the right level for each individual to activate the muscles that don't work properly. Then you can start exercising in the Redcord assisted by unloading (using bungees) and adjustment for one's own individual level. What we do in the Redcord is actually neuromuscular re-education, which means that we are learning the functional movement patterns all over again, and by doing that, reducing pain as well. 

If any of my physio-friends have any comments on the text above, please share them with me. I've tried simplifying the principles, so that everyone can understand, and I'd love some feedback on if I got something wrong or how I could have written it differently!

In this course we were 5 participants, a good number, since we had only two Redcord work stations available. I drove up from Irvine on friday for the course start at 1 pm, and spent the rest of the weekend at my friend Margret's place in Westwood, only 15 minutes away from Studio City! Just perfect! 

So here we see Duncan as a test person. He's a manual therapist based in LA. He is also working in a couple of education programs in the Kaltenborn method, which is really fun, because Freddy Kaltenborn and Olav Evjen, his co-writer on several books, are Norwegian. They use Kaltenborn's mobilisation principles in PT school in the US as well. Duncan knows them both apparently. Being in a foreign PT environment is really fun! You get to see that Norwegians actually have had, and still has a lot of influence in the field! That's so cool! 

Here Val is in the ropes. The person standing behind her is Andrea, one of the therapists working at Stand Tall Physical Therapy where I've been hanging out a couple of days in the week for some time now. The person on the right is Gabrielle, one of our skilled instructors.

Here they're working of shoulder depression. (No, the shoulder is not in a sad state of mind, it is just going down towards the floor. We do not need a psycologist here! - Haha, I made a funny! Well, yeah.).

Duncan showing us his strength! It doesn't really show in this photo, but he can actually stand in a horizontal plank position with his arms straight forward! Crazy man! I needed a lot of unloading and adjusting for the shoulder testing and work, because of my hypermobile, super weak shoulders and some pain in my right shoulder. I felt like a total baby compared to Duncan! But he's a man, right!?! I'm gonna use that as an excuse. 

Redcord is fun! The sweet Lee demonstrates the fun for us :)

Other things I did this weekend was going out with these lovely ladies! Margret (Magga) on the left, and Marcela on the right! We went out dancing both Friday and Saturday, and I had a really good time! I have to admit that I could have been in better shape for the Redcord course on Saturday, but what the hell. The fun was worth it! Saturday was St. Patrick's day, and we met a lot of people wearing green clothes and gigantic hats and stuff! Fun! I'm going to Vegas with these girls in April, and I can't wait! It's gonna be so much fun!

So long!

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