Sensory Motor Amnesia occurs when your muscles are so tight they simply cannot relax. They are “on” twenty-four hours a day. Even when you’re hanging out, enjoying yourself, doing nothing or even sleeping – those shoulders, that hip, that back just won’t relax. When massage, chiropractic, heat, cold, stretching, physical therapy, or just about anything else won’t relax the muscles for the long term, it’s probably sensory motor amnesia – or SMA for short.

Sensory Motor Amnesia is a functional problem of the sensory motor system and it affects our physical structure, alters our posture and impacts our movement. It develops when we become stuck in our responses to the stressors of life.

As we were talking about last week, the brain controls the muscles. Within that connection between the brain and the muscles (the sensory motor system), things can become “stuck”, due to the brain’s response to stress and its constant command to the muscles to tighten. The only thing that can effectively release a muscle is engaging the brain through movement.

Here are some of the common conditions that are examples of Sensory Motor Amnesia:

  • chronic back pain
  • sciatica
  • leg length discrepancy
  • hip pain
  • altered gait
  • plantarfasciitis
  • piriformis syndrome
  • neck/shoulder pain
  • scoliosis

Releasing muscle tension is an educational process. Because SMA is a learned, functional problem, it can, thankfully, be “unlearned.” Many of these cases listed above are viewed by most doctors as a structural problem. Somatic Educators view these conditions as functional problems, reversible through improvement of the sensory motor system. SMA cannot be reversed through passive modalities such as massage, Rolfing, stretching or chiropractic but instead requires active participation of your brain in order to make change.