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Muscle Testing: What It Is and How It Helps

Muscle Testing

Muscle testing, which also goes by the name of applied kinesiology, is an informative procedure performed by chiropractors to evaluate and assess the body’s muscles. The assessment goes as far as identifying muscle imbalance and its connection to the nervous system. To understand muscle testing, you must understand the concept of muscle imbalance. It is simply a condition in which you have a combination of one muscle that is less active and another that is overactive or tight. 

Muscle imbalance can lead to disability, pain, and injury, for which practitioners use muscle testing to pinpoint muscle weakness and neurological deficits. In simple words, we can say that muscle testing or manual muscle testing takes inspiration from Newton’s Third Law of Motion and applies it to the human body to detect the source of pain. This approach allows practitioners to diagnose muscular, structural, mental, and chemical ailments or any other underlying medical condition. 

Who Performs It And Why? 

A doctor named George Goodheart first discovered applied kinesiology back in 1964. This was per his findings regarding the response of the muscles in the human body to various states of illnesses, mental states, and injuries. Since then, various health practitioners have utilized this technique and modified it to tap into mysteries related to health. Health practitioners, particularly in physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, and other related fields, perform the muscle test to assess specific muscle-related weaknesses. However, it is not necessary that the practitioner performing the test is a specialized kinesiologist. For instance, since muscle testing is also used for assessing a suspected neurological disease, a neurologist can also perform this test to rule out or diagnose an underlying serious neurological disease. 

Experts use this technique to incorporate treatment for manipulation, nutrition, and acupuncture-related remedies. Even though muscle testing is not strictly regarded as a scientifically proven method in medicine, considerable evidence and studies are emerging to validate the reliability of this technique. A practicing kinesiologist will help you understand how your specific organs and glands are functioning through particular muscle tests while also suggesting the right nutrients to improve your condition. 

How Is Muscle Testing Performed?

The original technique used in muscle testing was the weak or strong-arm test that required two people to perform. Now, many practitioners employ manual muscle testing where the part that is to be tested is held at a specific point working against gravity in its available range of motion. The practitioner sometimes also determines the grade to assign the muscle by providing opposing manual resistance. The grade represents the muscle strength that is tested through the muscle test on a grade from 0 to 5 (normal). Let’s look at some of the basic protocols used for an accurate muscle test: 

  • The patient should be in a supportive position so that they can concentrate their efforts fully on the part being tested. 
  • Ensure the patient has a full range of movement and is wearing loose clothing. 
  • When applying resistance to a patient’s body part, do not use jerking movements. 
  • Reduce inefficiency of the test by planning out which muscles in a single position should be examined first before moving on to another position. 
  • Apply consistent pressure on the part being tested and start work with the non-injured side first. 
  • Do not forget to communicate all aspects of the test, such as the procedure, time, and the results you are trying to achieve. 
  • Do not straightaway start with the anti-gravity position. You need to assess whether the muscles are too weak to function against gravity. If yes, then try testing in the horizontal plane. 
  • Ensure that adequate stabilization is provided to the patient’s unrelated joint to avoid unnecessary compensation. 
  • Achieve the most accurate picture of the test by always comparing the grade and strength of both sides of the muscles or the limbs. 
  • Immediately discontinue the test if the patient complains of severe pain. 

How Does Muscle Testing Help? 

Muscle testing can help in the following ways:  

  • The test is an important part of the assessment in many areas, including fall risk assessment, rehabilitation after sporting injury, after joint replacements or fracture, and for patients suffering from neuropathy, brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and more. 
  • It is a useful tool in discovering food allergies and helping the practitioner provide you with the best supplement recommendations. 
  • The technique is useful in resolving issues from the past, like releasing past traumas and dealing with mental and emotional blocks. 
  • The test can also lead to providing emotional healing and restore balance in your energy. 
  • It can also help the practitioner in measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of a particular treatment. 

Also known as manual muscle testing or applied kinesiology, this technique has been beneficial in evaluating patients with joint, hip, knee, wrist, elbow, and back pains along with spinal problems, headaches, and other neurological deficits. Many practitioners also believe that the test is a way to pose questions to the body in a way that it can answer.

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