How many times have you been performing an exercise and felt that shaking in your muscles? The typical response is to want to stop the exercise. You feel like you must have tired your body out to the point that you need a break. But this shaking doesn’t mean to stop but to push through! I always believe when the shaking starts, that is when the healing finally starts to begin.
This is your body’s way to integrate and the shakiness, in general, is a sign that the brain wants to reconnect or connect to the specific area we are working on.
We realize that the shakiness can be very scary and not wanting to push through can elicit some fear of “making things worse”.
Let’s get to the nuts of bolts of muscles, the brain and the properties that help aid our ability to heal, get stronger and out of pain once and for all.
I want to start with a brief vocab lesson as I often use these interchangeably:
Fast twitch muscles=phasic= primer moves=moves joints for quick and powerful movement or larger ranges
Slow twitch=tonic= endurance= stabilizing movement and combats powerful movement so you don’t have the fast-twitch fibers rip out your arm. Allows for a stable dynamic motion.
The brain and spinal cord are our main centers for reintegration. As many of you know, nerves send signals from the brain to muscles. Muscles then move or stabilize joints. It is more or less that simple. How do we improve the signals especially when there is a disconnect between muscles and nerves?
Causes for a disconnect:
When injuries hit, in short, we like to detach from pain and numb ourselves away. Why would one want to feel pain in all its glorious intensities let alone constantly. Our brain is powerful and we can numb things.
There are great books like “Why the Brain Changes Itself?”, “Why Do I Hurt?” and “Explain Pain” which delve much deeper into this blog and I recommend giving those a chance.
I liken it to turning down a running faucet. The problem is after an ankle sprain or an injury when the body is cellularly or anatomically healed. The nervous system is not. You are still with the valve shut off. You will need to reinstate this so you avoid chronic reinjuries. This is our bread and butter and the “glue” that holds things together.
So frequently the pieces are put back with a good massage therapist and or a chiropractor or PT but there is no “gluing” to make the results last.
I use the analogy of AOL to 5G LTE bandwidth. The faucet or bandwidth is low and the connection is weak. Our update to work out this issue is to do exercises that stabilize and challenge neuromuscularly. For instance, it is holding certain positions until “fatigue” of the shakiness occurs. Is it really fatigue? Or is it your body struggling to reintegrate and use the proper muscles?
Why do you need stability before mobility?
Stability is the foundation for all our healthy and efficient movements. The stabilizer and tonic muscles are often built for endurance and are postural muscles by nature. We can often stand longer or sit longer because these muscles are around. The anatomy of these muscles often finds them really close to bones and joints
On the other hand, prime moving muscles like the phasic ones are often further away from the bone and have a longer lever to play with. Thus allowing for movement and torque. It’s really interesting to see these play out on 3D functional anatomy diagrams and pictures.
So shakiness “burns” down these fast-twitch muscles because they aren’t meant to endure these long holds per se. They are meant to be used sparingly and for specific reasons versus for the long haul and all the time like the tonic slower twitch stabilizing muscles should.
Do yourself some justice and find yourself someone trained in functional manual therapy (FMT) or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) so you make sure your care for this issue is done right.
So let’s shake, rattle, and roll!
Dr. Justin C. Lin