Understanding Excess Chronic Muscle Tension and Nerve Pain …
Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension & Stress
Or C.E.M.&.N.T. for short …
because that’s what some peoples’ muscles FEEL like!
The Central, Organizing Principle & Focus of
DSL’s Let-Go Yoga Therapy
and DSL EdgeWork:
Myo-Structural Bodywork & Structural Balancing
In the DSL Bodywork/Yoga/Whole Health System …
Muscle Tension is the NEXUS between the many elements and functions of your BodyMind, as well as between your inner and outer environment.
Why? … Many factors converge in the phenomena of a muscle’s deceptively simple capacity to contract and, hopefully, relax.
First . . . One of the primary things muscles do is CONTRACT. Muscular contraction is what pumps your blood, moves food through your digestive system, allows you to speak words, and moves your bones and body around. Without muscles contracting, you are incapable of doing anything; even blinking your eyes.
Muscles are also supposed to RELAX an equal amount to their contractions. Problem is that your neuromuscular system is set up in a way that, over time, it’s far easier to increase the habit of being contracted than to stay more relaxed. Left unattended, this process of accumulating tension — and various associated physical, mental and emotional stresses — is unconscious and automatic, constantly working in the background.
The only major differences are the degree and speed to which this process affects any particular human being, and what their current conditions are causing or resulting from such. The basic mechanism is pretty much the same. So we must consciously and vigilantly work to counteract the nearly automatic tension building process. …
Chronic Muscle Tension and Nerve Pain
Second . . . Another difference is whether we choose to act proactively and preventively, intentionally reversing or at least slowing the tension accumulation process? Or do we wait for it to become a problem before taking action? …
Sometimes, it becomes a BIG problem.
Most people, unfortunately, wait until that happens; sometimes waiting until it’s too late to do much about it. Although even 83 and 93-year-old Clients have responded amazingly well to our TRSs, or Tension Reduction Strategies.
The long-term costs of waiting are far higher than working preventively, but it is very difficult to convince most people of that truth, no matter how many times they’ve heard it or seen it, or even felt it in their own body. This is compounded by the fact that most people cannot initially believe their problems could be caused by something as simple as “excess muscle tension.”
After all, they’ve been told all their life they need to “tighten up their muscles,” right? …
WRONG! … Chronic tension, the SAME as “tight muscles,” causes MANY problems.
So they and their doctors keep looking for other explanations and cures, like problems in the bones, joints, and their discs, nerves or organs. Yes, these structural degenerations can be involved in perceived or actual trouble, but nowhere near as often as many people assume. But rarely — except in acute injuries — is the structural degeneration the CAUSE of anything.
Yet Soft Tissue Issues are far more often the source of the problem. Even with acute injuries, once the torn tissues heal, it is more likely the soft tissues to be the actual source of the pain, degeneration, lost range-of-motion, and such.
Third . . . It is all too clear — but not widely known or understood — that a vast range of conditions, syndromes, symptoms, illness and disease are the result of accumulations of chronic, excess muscle & nerve tension & stress. For the most part, they are accumulated in small, micro-increments over the years of a person’s lifetime.
(Many micro-tensions and stresses eventually lead to MACRO-tension and stress.)
Some people have accidents or traumatic events (physical, psychological or emotional) speeding up this accumulation, sometimes dramatically and instantly. More often than not, though, it slowly, quietly sneaks up in the background over many years.
Fourth . . . We have tools available to reverse or at least slow down this tension accumulation process. These tools consist primarily of our own intelligence and our body and its own functions. Although we can occasionally apply an external tool, or a prop, or another human being, to assist us in reversing our tension accumulations. …
DSL Let-Go Yoga and DSL EdgeWork:
Bodywork / Yoga / Whole Health Therapeutics* . . .
. . . use as their primary tools Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga and Hands-On, Myo-Structural Bodywork. In addition, Tai Chi/Chi Kung-based Movement Therapy and proper Ergonomics can be applied as well.
* For Yoga Teachers or Bodyworkers wanting to move toward providing Yoga Therapy, DSL EdgeWork is the more overtly therapeutic aspect of the DSL approach. Although some of it is much easier to learn in Live Trainings, many of the basics are on this website, in the Member’s Area, including the foundations of Preventive Yoga Therapeutics.
This is a way of working therapeutically without having to deal directly with people’s specific symptoms or conditions. This reduces or eliminates potential legal risks with state licensed activity and Scope of Practice issues. Yet you’d be amazed how many problems clear up with this generalized, non-specific, “non-diagnostic” approach.
The Basic Tension Release System applied to generically indicated muscle groups can substantially reduce or eliminate the problems of MANY people.
The hands-on, myo-structual bodywork, which is actually yoga-based bodywork, can be self-applied, applied by a family member or friend, or a by massage or bodywork therapist, or a yoga teacher / educator / therapist.
The manual technique is actually a more focused stretching of more specific muscle fibers from within the belly of the muscle, rather than with an external stretch, which pulls directly on the tendons of the muscle via moving the bones.
When A Yoga Stretch Does NOT Release
the Tension or Pain of C.E.M.&.N.T. . . .
Individual Muscle Fiber Groups within a Muscle
(Admittedly, no medical “study” we can find has ever been done to examine this particular neuromuscular hypothesis to any degree of reliability. Yet there are several factors, combined together, leading to this conclusion. The description of that is soon to be elsewhere on this website.)
The involved muscle fibers within the muscle belly must, as much as possible, be specifically addressed to bring them back into harmonious function with their more normal adjacent or nearby neighbors. External stretches generally, more-or-less uniformly, stretch ALL the muscles fibers within a particular muscle simultaneously. A stretch or yoga asana is, therefore, and unfortunately, mostly non-specific as far as particular muscle fibers within one muscle belly are concerned.
It is also known through scientific research that when a muscle fiber is stretched from within the belly of the muscle, the nerve endings triggering relaxation of muscles are significantly more responsive. These nerves are much LESS responsive when the muscle is stretched from the ends, as in the typical stretches or yoga postures we are all familiar with.
Manual (hands-on, or fingers-on) pressure on the belly of the muscle is one of the most direct ways to “stretch” certain specific muscle fibers at least somewhat independently of other adjacent or nearby fibers from within the same muscle.
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These are of several reasons why the specificity of hands-on bodywork can achieve results a yoga posture cannot, or achieves only temporarily. Done correctly, hands-on muscle work can be very “yoga like,” yet achieving that which yoga postures are not so good at, and in far less time.
Likewise, Yoga Postures Achieve
Certain Results Bodywork Cannot
DSL’s Yoga-based, Myo-Structural Bodywork . . . can be implemented by one’s self, with a friend or family member, a trained yoga teacher, a personal trainer, or yoga therapist. If your massage or bodywork therapist is open to it, you can work with them this way, too.
And the more yoga you’ve done, the more effective and efficient your self-applied, manual bodywork can be. That’s because most of the principles are nearly identical, or have tremendous overlap. And you’ve already at least somewhat acclimated your nervous system and brain to functioning this way.
In Reality, Behind the Scenes . . . all this is not just about muscle tension, which is only the Nexus, the Convergence. There is, of course, much more to it.
On the “internal” side of the Nexus are all the physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual systems, experiences and issues contributing to our levels of muscular tension, which must all be addressed or accounted for in the healing, maintenance, and growth department. Included in that reality are metabolic functions: diet, nutrition, detoxification and environmental inputs (such as toxic chemicals).
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Mental Elements . . . of our stresses and tensions are not all *psychological*, either. Many, if not most, of what appear to be mental functions are actually non-conscious, more-or-less automatic functions of the physical brain, such as the limbic system. The limbic system is a different (older and lower) part of the brain than what we usually associate with our thinking minds. (This depends on how you define “thinking,” which we do more thoroughly in the DSL Bodywork & Yoga e-Courses.)
Addressing stress and habit patterns of “the brain” is, at some levels, different than those of the Mind. …
On the Philosophy, Psychology & Science of Being Human pages and e-Course we’ll look at the significant differences between the subjective mind and objective brain.
On the Other Side of the Nexus . . . is the outward expression of the internal drives and the state of the neuromuscular system. All of the internal drives and reactive mechanisms are, at any given moment, holding our bodies in a particular posture, producing a specific range of motion, or initiating or restraining action. All of this background activity produces a mosaic of conditioned behavior. And of course, the functions of our organs are affected by this background, as well.
We “See” or Observe the state of the neuromuscular system by our posture, movement, and action or inaction, and organ function, such as how slow and deep or fast and shallow we breathe, or how often our eliminative organs operate, or not. At the deepest level, these processes and behaviors reveal, to varying degrees, the inner-workings of the mind, emotions and brain.
* Here, my use of the words SEE and Observe implies a deeper, more complete sense of Awareness and Attention, rather than just a visual stimulus.
The 2 Main Components of DSL Let-Go Yoga and DSL EdgeWork that are common to both yoga and bodywork are:
PsychoMuscular Release & BIO-Structural Balancing.
Please go to this page to learn more.
Thanks for Reading,
David Scott Lynn (DSL*)
* DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net
Inner-Net: Your Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System