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Sensory Motor Amnesia
Have you ever wondered why your muscles ache, or become tired even when you may not have done a work out, but you have been sat at your desk all day, or driving for a long period of time?
Have you ever wondered why you might sometimes find it difficult to move, or connect with a certain muscle or group of muscles, and you get really frustrated as you try to make a connection so you can get it to relax or even get sit to join in with whatever activity you are doing?
Then its quite possible you have Sensory Motor Amnesia.
Sensory Motor Amnesia, or SMA is what creates a lack of awareness within the body so a person can no longer ‘feel’ a muscle or a whole muscle group . This greatly reduces their ability to control their muscles. In turn this leads to inability to relax these muscle (s) and tension builds up and can start causing pain or discomfort. It can also result in the person having to utilise other muscles to help those which can no longer be sensed, to perform their task.
It is habituated movement that is the trigger for SMA as it is basically an over performance of a muscle, due to particular type of pattern of movement being repeated day after day. This leads to the cerebellum sending messages to these muscles to be repeatedly held in a contraction as this is what habit is being repeated and this is the area of the brain which co-ordinates our movement patterns and sequences. Consistent reiteration of a sequence teaches the cerebellum to continue you this pattern and over time the muscles becomes tired as this programme does not switch off and allow the muscles to cease performing its task.
An example of this would be someone who has SMA in their rhomboid muscle as a result of looking after their child. The repetitive movements of lifting them up, playing with them on the floor or breast feeding that requires one arm to be held contracted while the baby rests within it constantly activates the rhomboid (as well as the rest of the shoulder girdle).
The rhomboid muscle continuously works until the person in question can no longer sense the area around the shoulder blade and so the neck starts to become the muscle group that helps the rhomboid carry out it its job of lifting (because these muscles are not yet affected by any SMA.
It is the role of Clinical Somatics to ‘reset’ the muscles, allowing them to all find a neutral point or a resting point where they are no longer working tirelessly and enable a person to remember how it feels to be able to contract and then release that muscle to its full resting length, in order to be aware of it and be able to control it for improved, efficient movement.
If SMA persists for any length of time then it can cause pain and postural issues if the tightness of the muscle begins to pull the structure of the person out of alignment.
Somatic movements and clinical work can reset this pattern of moving and help you regain the use of these muscles and the awareness of them also, which helps to alleviate the pain they are causing.
Such a simple technique can make a huge impact on your life, so next time you have muscular pain, try a somatics class or book in a clinical session before you reach for the pain killers.