MAT: Addressing Old Injuries with New Techniques
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Do you struggle with daily pain from old injuries that were left unaddressed? Do you endure nagging tightness day in and day out? For anyone who deals with pre-existing or current pain, tightness or poor movement patterns, Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) might be a viable option for you.
MAT is a revolutionary approach to assessing and correcting muscular imbalances, joint instability and limited ranges of motion. This non-invasive technique uses a unique systematic format to “jumpstart” muscles in order for them to function symmetrically and with maximum efficiency.
While MAT and physical therapy are both designed to discover the source of muscular dysfunctions within the body, however, MAT uses weakness as its main indicator of what is causing the pain and then works to correct the issue.
Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainers Robert Treece and Paul Mossa are both certified in MAT. The certification entails a year-long internship and testing in Colorado. Treece and Mossa explain how properly addressing old injuries with Muscle Activation Techniques® is an investment that reaps long-term benefits for your body’s maximum functionality.
Addressing injuries the right way
When someone is injured, the body automatically begins shutting down the muscles in an effort to protect the injured area. When a muscle receives the signal to shut down, the body’s natural reaction is to tighten to protect against the source of weakness. This causes the body to lose mobility. If an old injury is not addressed properly, it can lead to compensations in other areas of the body where injuries can develop.
“Old, injured areas of the body may be the greatest area of concern for the client; however, our assessment is designed to identify the true location of the issue and how it may have originated,” says Treece. “Most injuries are a result of repetitive stress, trauma or overuse of the muscle. The range of motion assessment shows us what area the body is trying to protect and MAT gives us the insight to address it.”
Treece and Mossa help many clients with complaints of pain in the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, knee and hip with some suffering from plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, disc issues and tendonitis. Mossa states the most common mistake he sees clients make in regard to injuries is continuing to work out through the pain. “If your pain is from a weakness or limited motion, working through the injury or even just taking time off is not the answer,” says Mossa. “MAT actively addresses these issues and gets your body back to being stable and balanced so you can function better than before—more like your body is designed to function.”
While there are many competing schools of thought when it comes to increasing range of motion as a health benefit, very few specifically address the positional stability and strength required to maintain permanent change. This is again what makes MAT so unique in its focus on correcting muscular imbalances and getting the body back to working more efficiently and with less wear and tear on the joints.
Effective recovery for the long run
“A comprehensive MAT evaluation should be viewed as a prerequisite to beginning any exercise program,” says Treece. “It gives the MAT specialist a thorough analysis of the status of the client’s muscular system and helps form a game plan of how to safely move forward.” Treece describes a lack of range of motion as something that shouldn’t be viewed as an area to only stretch, but rather an area to avoid until further stability can be reached.
If you struggle with pain, tightness or limited range of motion, both trainers recommend scheduling a MAT session with a specialist at least once a week for a minimum of six weeks, or until the issue is resolved, to allow for consistent work on the problem areas. In the stages of recovery, monthly check-ins are encouraged. Clients are given homework of exercises and movement patterns to practice at home in between sessions to strengthen and correct the areas of imbalance. The MAT specialist also helps develop exercise programs around your body’s weak areas to prevent future injury and pain.
So why keep putting the pain off? Begin investing in the long-term benefits of functionality by scheduling a session with a Muscle Activation Techniques specialist today! The only thing you have to lose is the pain itself.
For more information about MAT or to schedule an appointment with a professional fitness trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832.