The Neurostructural Integration Technique for persistent pain
The Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST) is a manual therapy technique developed by Osteopath Michael Nixon-Livy, a reinterpretation of the Bowen technique.
At Mount Merrion Chartered Physiotherapy we have further adapted and modified aspects of the technique for the benefit of our patients who are suffering with persistent pain.
NST is a gentle form of soft tissue manipulation, applied in a systematic manner to the back, neck and head, abdomen arms and legs. By contrast to massage, the technique involves a gentle strumming across the muscles, mainly near their attachments to tendons which in turn attach to bones. This may be important for some of the physiological effects, more below.
We use adapted NST alongside evidence based pain management counselling and therapeutic exercise mainly in the treatment of Fibromyalgia, but also for other persistent pain conditions which are a consequence of the central sensitisation phenomenon. These would include chronic low back pain, migraine and tension type headache for example.
Lorraine learnt the technique about 10 years ago on an intensive course in the UK. She found it very effective for helping her Fibromyalgia sufferers manage their widespread pain symptoms. It also helped with mood and sleep.
When she took some time from the clinic after Toby was born, I learnt the technique so I could look after her patients in her absence. NST has since become a very important part of our physiotherapy practice.
- From a clinical point of view, the benefits of NST may be due to the following:
- Improved skin condition and connective tissue mobility
- Reduction of muscular tension
- Improved joint mobility and function
- Improved postural awareness and control
- Easing of aches and pains, particularly if due to a 'wind up' of the central nervous system, often due to stress and other lifestyle factors
- Improved sense of wellbeing due to the release of endorphin, serotonin and dopamine in the brain
- Deactivation of the limbic system resulting in the reduction of negative emotional states, patients often report a reduction in the ‘unpleasantness’ of their pain
- Reduction of the 'fight or flight' response due to regulation of the autonomic nervous system and reduction in cortisol levels, this may help not only pain sensitivity and muscle tension but also restorative sleep.
- Reduction of the 'fight or flight' response due to regulation of the autonomic nervous system and reduction in cortisol levels
We are currently involved in a clinical trial with RCSI and the Mater hospital which will assess the benefits of NST in conjunction with pain management education and exercise. We hope to publish the results in the next few years once the study concludes.
As only a few therapists offer this very effective technique in Ireland, demand for this form of treatment is high. We do our very best to look after as many clients as we can.
A typical course of treatment involves an hour long first assessment and treatment followed by 6-8 thirty minute further treatment sessions, ideally on a weekly basis.
If you would like to book an assessment during which we can discuss how NST may be of benefit to you, please call the clinic on 01-2834303.