A very effective stretching technique, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation works by stretching a muscle that has been tensed and then relaxed.
When you tense your muscles, nerve endings called muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs let your brain know how much more you can tense the muscle before you do damage. As you reach the threshold these nerve endings inhibit the muscle to allow it to stretch to the maximum without damaging.
Sometimes the relaxing effects of massage can be quite useful. There are many different types of massage, such as sports massage, effleurage, petrisage, and your chiropractor can judge which ones to use for the greatest effect.
Massage works by increasing local circulation, relaxing muscles by gently stretching muscle spindles, breaking down soft tissue adhesions, and stimulating endorphin release. Together these effects can lead to a degree of pain relief.
Getting you tense before stretching the muscle harnesses this reflex and allows your chiropractor to stretch the muscle further than would otherwise be possible, making this a very quick way of resolving muscle tightness and imbalance.
In cases of chronic pain or acute injury your nerves can be impacted. Particularly important here are proprioceptive neurons. They prevent further injury by relaying joint position to your brain, as well as reducing pain by inhibiting minor nociceptive (pain causing) stimuli.
It is very important to retrain your proprioceptive neurons after injury or chronic pain. A large proportion of this is balance work, as well as training you to tie visual clues to proprioceptive feedback. Sensory Motor Training is an absolutely essential part of improving your core-stability.
Don't forget your exercises. Your chiropractor will tailor a light exercise programme to fit in with you, your work, your condition, and any present training. The importance of keeping up your exercises cannot be stressed enough in terms of preventing injury recurrence.