A Detailed Look
Figure 1: The normal reflex arc
Figure 2: The physiopathological reflex arc
Figure 3: The spread and continuation of pain
This is a normally functioning neuromusculoskeletal system.
Information comes into the spinal cord via specific nerve pathways from the body's muscles, joints, blood vessels, organs, and skin. These are called peripheral structures.
The brain and spinal cord evaluate the information coming in, making adjustments as needed, and send appropriate signals back to these structures via other specific nerve paths.
This is a normal reflex arc and it permits the body to function properly as one unit.
When the peripheral structures become injured or irritated it creates an increased amount of information entering the spinal cord.
The normal neurological pattern and reflex arc are disrupted and a new reflex cycle of dysfunctional (neuro-pathophysiological) changes are created. If these changes are not corrected they can eventually lead to muscle spasm, joint restriction, pain, decreased circulation, and inefficient function of the organ systems.
The central nervous system evaluates and adjusts for the increased irritated signals coming in, and sends increased neurological information (akin to neurological static) back to the initial site of injury, and to other parts of the body.
This leads to altered mechanical, and increased neurological changes in secondary and even tertiary structures all over the body. These distant areas can then fall into their own irregular reflex cycle. Over time, these self-perpetuating reflex cycles are the mechanism that causes more global body involvement and pain.
These actions create a neurological pathway that repeats itself and continues to exist even if the injury is healed. This is how chronic pain gets wired into your system.
Treatment of the trigger points will temporarily cut off the blood supply and will interrupt the neurological signal, which will result in reduced muscle spasm, inflammation and pain.
This “resets” the muscles and stops the neurological pain pattern.
The result is a normally functioning neuromusculoskeletal system.