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Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is one of the many manual therapy techniques that is commonly used by our Osteopaths at CSSM.
It involves placing a joint or muscle in a specific position whereby the practitioner can feel resistance or a restriction. The patient is then required to gently resist the pressure of the contraction for a period of 3-5 seconds, with the relaxation phase following allowing for an increase in passive range of motion of the affected structure. This sequence can be repeated up to 3-5 times depending on how the tissue responds. Ultimately, we want to achieve a palpable change in the tone of the surrounding tissues, an increase in range of motion, both of which are likely to result in a reduction in the patient’s pain levels.
MET, also known at Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), works on the theory that agonistic and antagonistic muscles (for example the bicep and tricep muscles) cannot contract at the same time. Therefore, by contracting the antagonistic muscle, it ensures that the agonistic muscle can relax and return to its resting tone. Once the targeted muscle is able to relax, there is typically an improvement in its structure and function.
A study by Mahajan et al. in 2012, showed that MET is effective in decreasing pain intensity and increasing active neck range of motion in patients with mechanical neck pain. The same study found MET to be more effective than static stretching of the neck.
When used correctly, MET can be one of the most effective, yet simplest ways to improve joint mobility and tightness in the muscles. It is a safe technique that can be applied to treat a broad range of injuries in patients of all ages, and is one of the many tools which our practitioners employ to ensure that our patients get the best results and care.
Here’s a short video of Muscle Energy Technique (MET) in action:
Mahajan, R., Kataria, C., & Bansal, K. (2012). Comparative Effectiveness of Muscle Energy Technique and Static Stretching for Treatment of Subacute Mechanical Neck Pain. International Journal Of Health And Rehabilitation Sciences (IJHRS), 1(1), 16. doi: 10.5455/ijhrs.00000004
Niel Asher Education. (2015). Trigger Point Therapy – Muscle Energy Techniques [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI4XSuEVfhs
About the author
Lachlan White is a registered Osteopath. He has an interest in treating patients with acute and chronic pain conditions, including headaches, neck and back pain and assisting in the management of chronic and degenerative disease.
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