Functional Neurology
of Middlesex County
Gregory Symko, D.C., D.A.B.C.N.
747 Main Street Suite 205
Concord, MA 01742
978.369.7070
Directions & Office Hours

Dr Symko, Concord-area Functional Neurologist, writes about how the brain can cause chronic back pain.

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On the surface, it may not seem like the brain governs the movement stability components of our spines and the rest of our bodies and core muscles, but it’s true. Normal core stability provides a healthy body with the ability to perform normal good quality movements. This means that a little amount of energy will be exerted to execute highly efficient movements.

However, when the body experiences pain, the brain changes its activation strategy to high energy/low efficient movements. This altered control that the brain has over movement is clearly visible in the presence of pain, but even where there isn’t any pain, subtle physical tests can detect significant muscle control changes in people with a history of chronic back pain. This is why you can have pain in your back, shoulder, or elbow without having had an injury.

Many times, this sort of brain adjustment goes unnoticed and untreated. People often get treated for the pain and not the root cause of the problem. That’s where the ATM comes in. No, it’s not the thing you can get your money out of, but you will see great returns. ATM2® stands for Active Therapeutic Movement, and it’s a machine that helps create neutral-range movement while holding the proper body position. In other words, it helps retrain your brain to function correctly and not hurt your posture or back muscles. A few movement exercises are performed, usually 10-30. The proper body position is essential, because it will ensure that the active movement will alter the brain activation strategy from abnormal to normal.

This should produce immediate pain reduction and improved range of motion.

The ATM2®is designed to enable doctors to prescribe quality weight-bearing active movements. We use restraining belts that are connected to the ATM support pad to obtain passive joint re-positioning and stabilization. This helps reduce symptoms. Then we perform specific exercises using a harness connected to resistance bands.