Reduce Pain, Prevent Injuries and Enhance Performance

In order to reduce pain, prevent injuries and enhance performance you need to have neuromuscular efficiency.

Neuromuscular efficiency is the ability of the neuromuscular system to allow agonists, antagonists, synergists, and stabilizers to work synergistically to produce, reduce, and dynamically stabilize movement within the kinetic chain in all three planes of motion.

In other words, the length and tension of muscles surrounding the major joints in your body are balanced, the joints are aligned and moving optimally and the nervous system is able to coordinate movements efficiently and without compensations.

Most of us do not have optimal neuromuscular efficiency.


Some common reasons for this include:

  • Overuse injuries
  • Poor posture
  • Trauma
  • Inadequate recovery after an injury or exercise
  • Surgery
  • Aging
  • Poor exercise programing (e.g. not exercising in multiple planes of motion)


Poor neuromuscular efficiency results in:

  1. Altered length-tension relationship soft tissues
  2. Altered Joint kinematics
  3. Altered force-couple relationships (compensatory movements orchestrated by the nervous system)



Ultimately, when neuromuscular efficiency is poor,  the body has suboptimal alignment and movement, which can result in:

  1. Pain
  2. Injury
  3. Poor performance
  4. Fatigue


Pain-Injury Cycle

By now you may be wondering:

  1. Is there a test that can identify these imbalances (neuromuscular efficiency)?
  2. What can you do once the imbalances are identified?


Testing for imbalances

The National Academy of Sports Medicine  (NASM) has developed a protocol consisting of:

  1. A movement screen  (overhead squat and single leg squat) to uncover movement compensations/impairments in the Kinetic Chain at the major joints
  2. Transitional movement tests to observe dysfunctional movements at the trunk, neck and shoulders
  3. Range of motion testing
  4. Manual muscle testing

The testing takes about 15 minutes and can accurately pinpoint the areas of dysfunction within the kinetic chain that need to be addressed. i.e. muscles to be inhibited and lengthened, muscles that need to be strengthened and exercises that can be used to groove new motor/movement patterns.


The end result is optimal neuromuscular efficiency and:

  1. Pain reduction/elimination
  2. Injury prevention
  3. Performance enhancement


*This is an evidence-based assessment and treatment model that has been used by professional sports teams to manage and prevent injuries.


Interested in learning more? Come to OPTIMA 2016 or e-mail me.



Clark, M., & Lucett, S. (Eds.). (2010). NASM essentials of corrective exercise training. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


Myer, G. D., Kushner, A. M., Brent, J. L., Schoenfeld, B. J., Hugentobler, J., Lloyd, R. S., … McGill, S. M. (2014). The back squat: A proposed assessment of functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 36(6), 4–27.


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin