Muscle Balancing in Applied Kinesiology

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I know that muscle balancing is an important not only for spinal adjustments but also for extremity (arms & legs) adjustments and cranial adjustments.

 For example, I can adjust someone’s spine but if the pull of the muscle on one side of the spine is tighter than the other side than that spinal adjustment will not hold.

 Now most people think that it’s the tight muscle that will pull the spine out of alignment but it just as often can be the weak muscle not having enough strength to hold the spine towards its side.

 Also I may be treating a patient who has chronic muscle pain or weakness due to an injury; in these cases, muscle balance is very important.

 In Applied Kinesiology, we have ways to strengthen or weaken a muscle depending on what we need to do to help the patient.

 First we test the muscle that we think may be involved in an unbalanced pull on the bone (or spine) or involved w/ the pain or injury

testing rectus femoris

 For example, we may find the latissimus dorsi muscle weak that is a muscle that internally rotates, extends and adducts (movement towards from the body) the arm/ shoulder. It also attacts into the lumbar and sacral vertebra and part of the pelvic crest The weakness may seen either as a higher shoulder on the weak side or a rotation of the lumbar veretebrae.

The questions to be asked are: why is the muscle weak? Is the muscle on the other side hypertonic  or “too stronger.”

 One of the ways to find the answer is to use muscle spindle work. Muscle spindles are small sensory neuro-bundles in the middle of muscles that react to stretching.  Stretch a muscle spindle one way and the muscle will strengthen; push the fibers of the muscle spindle the other way and the muscle will weaken.

 So I would be testing the spindles by challenging the muscle spindles and seeing how it affects the strength or hypertonicity of the muscle.

 I can also use another tool at an Applied Kinesiologist’s fingertips which are golgi tendon organs and as the name suggests, these are located in the tendons of muscles (tendons attach the muscle to the bones.). Again stretching the tendon organ will help strengthen the muscle and the other way will weaken it. And these would be tested in a similar manner to the muscle spindles.

 © 2010-Dr. Vittoria Repetto


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27 responses to “Muscle Balancing in Applied Kinesiology

  1. Dear Vittoria,

    Another aspect to consider is the role that the balance systems have on extra-pyramidal activity: simply put, when a patient is standing in a category I posture, they are using 1/7th of the muscle power that they would if they were standing straight. Therefore, they are using 1/7th of their extrapyramidal system and equilbrium system.
    If you are noticing that the postural corrections that you are applying do not last, challenge the patients’ Dieter’s nucleus-cerebellar connections via Rhomberg’s test: if they fail, then the problem lies in the equilibrium systems, and no amount of spinal adjustments will over come this, as the information from the spinal muscle spindles is over-powering the Dieter’s nucleus-cerebellar connections. If you now attend to eye movements, you can discern which cerebellum is over/under-firing, before returning to spianl motor function.



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  4. Speaking strictly from experience mind you. At a younger age I was in a car accident, it made the vertebrae in my neck misaligned. But on a regular basis I suffer from some nasty headaches, and after going to a doctor for years and trying different medicines I gave up. Turing instead to a chiropractor.


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  6. I found this site under my bookmarks, probably bookmarked it my wife. Do you have a rss or something like this? I want to add you to my rss reader, becous liked this article especially your way how to explain this.


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