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Research

According to our General Theory of Mental Physiology, there are four basic dysfunctional muscular patterns. 

 

Depression

The depression pattern is characterised by weak deep neck extensors and a weakened posterior structural chain. This weakness will be compensated for by an over activated anterior chain in the lower part of the body, and compensations by extrinsic neck flexors in the neck.

 

Diagnosis

It can be identified by the person having depressed upper trapezius muscles, while having an over activated longissimus capitis and splenius Capitis and a sternocleidomastoid muscle that is over-activated, but acting as an extensor rather than as a neck flexor. 

 

The person’s jaw will also seem retracted relative to a normal position.

Mental Dysfunctions

These muscular compensations may lead to problems with the limbic system within the temporal lobe and the visual processing parts of the brain within the occipital lobe. In extreme cases these may contribute to the person suffering from clinical depression.

Rehabilitation

The basic strategy is to first strengthen the deep neck extensors, and then once neck and shoulder innervation is improved, to begin rehabilitating the rest of the posterior structural chain.

 

Anxiety

The anxiety pattern is characterised by weak deep neck flexors and a weakened anterior postural chain. This weakness is compensated by an over-activated posterior structural chain and over-activation of extrinsic neck flexors.

Diagnosis

What we call the anxiety pattern will closely match what is often called Forward Head Posture. The person will have over-activated sternocleidomastoid and anterior and middle scalene muscles, along with tight and over-activated upper trapezius muscles. The person’s jaw is likely to be prominent and protracted.

 

Mental Dysfunctions

The mental health implications of the Anxiety pattern are a compressed phrenic vagus nerve and compression of the limbic system, especially the amygdala. In extreme cases these may combine to create clinical anxiety.

Rehabilitation 

The basic strategy is to first strengthen the deep neck flexors, and then once neck and shoulder innervation is improved, to begin rehabilitating the rest of the anterior structural chain.

 

Bipolar

The Bipolar pattern is caused by having weak deep neck flexors on one side (either the left or right) and weak deep neck extensors on the other side. We call the side with weak deep neck flexors the 'anxiety side' and the site with weak deep neck extensors the 'depression side'

Diagnosis

A person with the bipolar pattern is often the easiest to diagnose as the eyes will be different. The eye on the ‘depression’ side will be smaller and possibly higher. The jaw will be more prominent and forward on the ‘anxiety’ side. The sternocleido-mastoid muscle will be activated on both sides but on one side it will seem thicker and will be acting in flexion, while on the other side it will have a ‘swept back’ appearance as it is acting in extension. The upper trapezius will be different on each side, on the anxiety side it will be over active and the depression side it will be under active.

Mental Dysfunctions

The bipolar pattern will lead to a range of mental dysfunctions, in particular these will keep changing depending on which side the muscular compensations are greater at any point in time. For extreme cases the person may be diagnosed as having a Bipolar Disorder.

 

We believe the bipolar pattern may also be related to clinical schizophrenia, especially in severe cases where the deep neck imbalance leads to a separation at the sphenobasilar joint (SBJ) on the anxiety side, and a jamming at the SBJ on the depression side.

Rehabilitation

The key difference between the bipolar pattern and the anxiety and depression patterns, is that the two sides of the body (left and right) are different.

 

This means that exercises that target the anterior chain on one side and posterior chain on the other side need to be performed. A little creativity is required.

 

ADD

The ADD pattern refers to a deep neck muscular dysfunction characterised by weakness in both deep neck extensors and deep neck flexors on both sides. 

Diagnosis

A person with the ADD pattern will appear to have a ‘thick neck’. This is due to many muscular compensations in the neck region. Due to both the deep neck flexors and extensors being weak, the body will be relatively balanced compared to other patterns and the person may not seem particularly affected by any muscular dysfunction.

 

Mental Dysfunctions

One of the key dysfunctions is around the brainstem and the ability to maintain homeostasis. Secondly the forward movement of the occiput and the upward movement of the sphenoid can lead to disruption of the prefrontal cortex and a reduced ability to plan ahead and act in a ‘long term’ manner.

Rehabilitation

Since all deep neck muscles are weak, rehabilitation is simply about strengthening all of them and the corresponding structural chains. The main difficulty will be the compensations by breathing accessory muscles. This can be overcome by performing long and deep exhalations during any muscular activations and by performing exercises where possible while laying down to minimise neck muscle compensations.

4 Basic Mental Physiology Patterns