What is Motor Control?

What is Motor Control? Image

Motor control is the process by which humans (and animals) use their brain to activate and coordinate their muscles and limbs. When the brain, nervous system, and muscles work together you perform a motor skill.

To put it another way, our brain controls our posture and movements; it is the motor that drives and coordinates our movement.

Ideally, in the body, the muscles that stabilise the joints work in balance with the muscles that move the joints. This produces smooth and efficient movement and  minimal  wear and tear on the joints.  And, as a result, less likelihood of pain. You could say that you have good motor control.

But when we have muscle imbalances, we can develop poor movement patterns that become poor movement habits.

And this can cause pain.

Put simply,  sometimes some of our muscles don’t work enough and other muscles are overactive.  Our hip flexors and our glutes are great examples. Sitting on our bottoms all day in this example, encourages  short/ tight psoas muscles and weak, ineffectual gluteals.  Muscle imbalances like these are often associated with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

These imbalanced muscles will continue to work  inefficiently and often painfully until we retrain the brain.

How do I improve my Motor Control?

Many years of research has demonstrated that the we can correct poor movement patterns and that they can become automatic. We just need to start simply and repeat them over and over again.

Physio On a Roll uses a motor control approach to initially teach you how to gain control of the correct muscles in simple postures, whilst breathing normally.

You then progress, by adopting more challenging postures, and by using weights and resistance bands.

Many exercises are then given a further  functional exercise component.

This means that the prescribed exercise aims to train your muscles to work together and simulate a real world activity. Or resemble a common movement you may perform in sport. Often upper and lower body work at the same time. For example, leaning over a sink to spit out your toothpaste is similar to a ‘forward lean‘ or hip hitch exercise. 

 

forward lean showing motor control

 

 


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