Muscular Retraining & Imagination

Reference:Porro CA, Cettolo V 2000 Eur J Neurosci Aug;12(8): 3059-63

The next time you have trouble teaching or training a patient to perform a certain exercise or functional movement, consider this study.

The cortical / brain activity during simple finger movements was studied using functional MRI. The subjects were asked to actually perform the motor activity and then they were asked to only visually imagine the same motor activity.

The study concluded that there was dramatic (90%) overlapping of the activity on the motor and pre-motor cortex during imagery and actual execution of simple motor tasks.

Clinical Relevance: Prior to lifting a heavy box?

Have your patient ?visualize? keeping their back straight, drawing in their abdominals, using their lumbar muscles and bending at the hips to pick up the box. With eyes closed have them repeat the process of lifting 4-5 times, then actually perform the task.

Both you and your patient will be amazed at the results!

When retraining the vastus medialis obliques muscle?

Show the patient where their VMO muscle is, then have them close their eyes and ?visualize? contracting that muscle for a minute or so prior to actually exercising.

What?s My Point?

How many of us actually get patients to close their eyes and simply visualize that they are performing a task or an exercises when they are limited by pain or by self-limiting beliefs? I know this all sounds weird to some clinicians, but I have at least 10 scientific and published studies to back up this ?weird? concept!

Posted on: December 05, 2002

Categories: Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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