PNF Techniques

PNF Techniques

Basic concept of PNF Techniques

PNF Techniques help develop muscular strength and endurance, joint stability, mobility, neuromuscular control and coordination– all of which are aimed at improving the overall functional ability of patients. To that end, PNF Techniques have broad applications in treating people with neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions, most frequently in rehabilitating the knee, shoulder, hip and ankle.

Why go for PNF Techniques

While there are multiple PNF stretching techniques, all of them rely on stretching a muscle to its limit. Doing this triggers the inverse myotatic reflex, a protective reflex that calms the muscle to prevent injury.

PNF Stretching: The Role of the Stretch Reflex

The muscle spindle is a long thin nerve receptor found within the muscle. Information from this receptor transmits information to the spinal cord regarding muscle length and the speed of lengthening. When a muscle is stretched quickly this muscle spindle fires and causes a reflexive contraction within that muscle that is undergoing the stretch. The greater the speed of stretch, the stronger the reflex contraction in the muscle being stretched.

PNF Stretching: Reciprocal Inhibition

Inhibition of the antagonist muscle group is mediated by the muscle spindle. If the agonist muscle contracts, then the spindle fires, sending messages to the spinal cord causing the antagonist muscle to relax.

PNF Stretching: Autogenic Inhibition

The golgi tendon organ is a nerve receptor found in tendons. This receptor fires when tension increases within the tendon. This tension can be due to stretch or contracting muscle. When the golgi tendon organ fires a signal is sent to the spinal cord causing the agonist muscle to relax. During pnf stretching, these three mechanisms all work together to allow normal smooth movements and can be manipulated through PNF techniques to increase our ability to stretch.