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The Janda Approach to Resolving Musculoskeletal Pain

Dr. Vladimir Janda was a physician in Czechoslovakia who had suffered and recovered from Polio as a child.  As a physician he spent his early years with a focus on Polio patients. Dr. Janda was one of the first physicians to combine his medical training with physical therapy and rehabilitation for a very unique hands-on approach to physical medicine and rehabilitation. He is considered by many the physical medicine world to be one of the founding fathers of physical medicine.  He has published over 16 books and 200 articles on muscle function and the locomotor system.

Traditional approaches to pain are to reduce pain and inflammation and dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system through modalities such as ice, heat, taping, bracing, joint and soft tissue manipulation.  The Janda approach includes all of these, especially in the acute stages, but also includes analysis of muscle imbalance and its role in the perpetuation of chronic muscle and joint pain cycles.

There is a huge difference between traditional strength training and functional corrective rehab.

The Janda Approach to physical medicine includes the traditional approaches to strengthening a muscle, entailing progressive loading of the muscle during exercise in order to increase strength, power, hypertrophy, and endurance.  However, when muscle imbalance is present, there are weak muscles and tight muscles across the joints involved. Attempting to strengthen a weak muscle in the presence of a tight antagonistic muscle is much less effective because of the fact that the tight muscle will be recruited first due to it being hyperactive. This is a neurological issue and it is wired into the nervous system due to the fact that compensated movement has been “ingrained” in the brain.

Sherrington’s Law of reciprocal inhibition states that a weak muscle may be inhibited by its overactive and tight antagonist. Restoring normal muscle length of a tightened muscle often spontaneously improves the strength of the weak antagonist.

These muscle imbalances must be addressed early on in the rehabilitation sequence in order to ensure proper movement patterns with adequate muscle stability throughout the movement.

Read more in the article titled Proper Rehab Sequencing and Comprehensive Approach to Resolving Muscle and Joint Pain.

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