Deep Tissue Muscle Treatment (DTMT)

Based on his hands-on muscle treatment experiences and successful outcomes, he had developed DTMT (Deep Tissue Muscle Treatment), and being a chiropractor, he advanced and combined the technique to treat neuro-musculoskeletal conditions.

Unlike a standard chiropractic treatment, which is often done in a few minutes, the treatment sessions in Sun Chiropractic clinic run for an average of 30 minutes. That is because we are using DTMT with chiropractic treatment on every patient.

1. What is DTMT?

DTMT is a technique that Dr Yang has developed and used since 2005, to treat acute/chronic musculoskeletal condition in conjunction with chiropractic spinal manipulation. The concept behind the DTMT is to change the wrong muscle memory, that develops over many years, with or without outward symptoms.

2. What is wrong muscle memory, and how does it develop?

We need to begin first explaining muscle memory. There are two types of muscle memory in our body. The first one is ‘good muscle memory’, and the second is ‘wrong muscle memory’.

The good muscle memory is a consequence of preparation and discipline, when you decide to purposely train yourself and your muscles to develop certain skill, in a well-planned approach. For instance, you practice to type on the keyboard, or to play a musical instrument first for months, then years. The proper technique becomes second nature to you. Riding a bicycle, driving a car, etc. are examples of good muscle memory too: once it forms, you won’t lose it.

When it comes to wrong muscle memory, you never train yourself to develop it, but it happens because of bad posture, physical injury, an accident, or repetitive overuse of muscles.

Years of bad sitting, standing and sleeping posture will make your muscle to develop a tension (memory); usually, one side of the body does more than the other, which gradually twists the spine and hip joint.

Let us assume you fell from a bike at a high speed and you tumbled. The first thing your body does is to quickly contract the muscles (an act of overprotection) so that you don’t lose (or less likely injure) your head, arms or legs at the scene.

You might cut your skin, break a  bone, but 2 or 3 months later, your injured limbs will heal properly.

However, the contraction (from overprotection) that occurred during the accident, which was strong and helped you for a brief while, may remain as muscle memory. It will accumulate another muscle memory through a new injury, and the process repeats over again.

Many people speak about the pain they are suffering, sometimes years after an accident. A broken bone or torn skin may get better after a few months, but the wrong muscle memory never improves. It continuously pulls tendon (which causes tendonitis and inflammation) and compresses blood vessel and nerves (which causes heaviness and tingling associated with referred pain).

The worst thing of all, bad muscle memory is never picked up by MRI, CT scan, X-ray or Ultrasound. Oftentimes, doctors and practitioners are not even interested to evaluate possible muscle problems.

3. What are the common symptoms with wrong muscle memory, and how DTMT can help?
The symptoms:
  • Spinal curve/scoliosis is not improving with ongoing spinal correction.
  • Your feet are turned in or out too much. 
  • One shoulder is lower than the other.
  • It is very uncomfortable to sit or stand correctly; shoulders often or always roll forward.
  • Heaviness or tightness in the neck and shoulder, and it feels like something is jammed in between them; you often twist your neck or stretch your back, to relieve tension.
  • Clicking or grinding sounds when you twist the neck, shoulder joint, hip or ankle joint.
  • The pain worsens with sitting, but standing and walking help relieve the pain.
  • The pain is the worst when you wake up in the morning. Then it gradually becomes tolerable as the day goes on.
  • Exercising temporary helps to reduce the pain and stiffness, but the next morning the stiffness and pain increase again.
  • After sitting for a while, the pain prevents you from getting up straight.
  • You may feel heaviness and weakness in the upper and lower part of your limbs.
  • The pain in the localised area may spread in other areas over time, but it always tingles in that initial spot.
  • Even if you suffer from chronic pain, the X-ray, MRI, CT and Ultrasound don’t reveal much on the report, except for traces of degeneration, or inflammation in the joints.
  • The pain can spread over several locations; sometimes, during the night, with slight movements cramping comes too.
  • The pain might relieve itself somehow for a while but always returns, to the same spot. It goes on for months, years.
4. How do I prevent wrong muscle memory from accumulating and becoming worse?

We begin brushing our teeth early in life, to protect our teeth and oral cavity, but even with constant care, we still suffer tooth decays. Similarly, we use our muscle since our births, by crawling, walking, running, playing sports, and working.

As a result of continuous use, muscles become tense, tighter, feeling heavier and stiffer. Eventually, they lose strength because of the intensity of pain and over-contraction. The best way to slow down the wrong muscle memory accumulating, is a regular daily stretch, just like daily teeth-brushing.

Unfortunately, once the ‘wrong muscle memory’ begins to inflict pain, you must get treated properly. Otherwise, the whole body will begin to compensate for pain, and from there, everything slides downhill.

5. What is the difference between treatment and maintenance

People often ask about the effectiveness of stretching and massage. Both can increase blood circulation and relax the muscle tension temporarily, but can’t change muscle memory.

Let’s go back to our previous analogy. Suffering from tooth decay may be relieved by a visit to your dentist. The dentist fixes it, and the decay is remedied for a few years. That is called the treatment.

If you are afraid of dentists, though, you may try postponing the occurrence of a possible decay by brushing your teeth 5 times a day— well, just in case. Your good efforts may reduce possible tooth decay pain in the future, but the decay will inevitable occur. This is called the maintenance mode.

You must carefully distinguish what is the treatment, and what is the maintenance. A short visit to the spa, soaking your body for a couple of hours in hot water relaxes your entire body, but the next morning, your body won’t feel the same. Visiting spa regularly won’t make any difference to how you feel the day after, because the maintenance is not a treatment.

Now to the spinal treatment again. If a practitioner had worked on your spinal problem, you may feel relieved for a while, but the pain and discomfort that comes with it shall return. It means the practitioner couldn’t change the muscle memory; the pain has only been maintained at levels you can tolerate.

However, the DTMT can change the wrong muscle memory more efficiently because it treats the cause of the problem.

6. What about exercise, painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections … do they help?

Exercising may temporarily reduce swelling by circulating hot blood all over the inflicted area, but the pain often returns the next morning or the day after. Your level of exercise, or movement, won’t improve joint pain.

The medications such as painkillers help reduce the pain and inflammation respectively, but don’t remove the wrong muscle memory which is the cause of the problem.

Ultrasound, MRI Imaging, CT Scans, X-ray Imaging etc. are all very sophisticated technologies and diagnostic tools in use today, but they can’t reveal wrong muscle memory.

Most doctors and practitioners tend to overlook muscle-related problems because they are never picked up by MRI, CT scan, X-ray and Ultrasound. Even though you undoubtedly suffer from joint pain, your muscles remain untreated and you end up taking medications.

Depending on the severity of the issue, you may need to take medications every 4, 6, or 12 hours to mask the pain. To treat the joint pain effectively, we must stop the muscle from pulling the tendon; we do it by removing the muscle tension and memory.

A chiropractic adjustment together with DTMT might be the best way to treat such conditions.