Precision Physical Therapy - Press Releases

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"New road to pain management
Physical therapy technique uses reflexes to relieve pain"

By Chalan Harper
Colorado Hometown Newspapers
From the Louisville Times, January 2005

For more than a year, Ernie Quinlisk has studied interactions between activated reflexes and pain relief - our bodies functions on reflexes.

Breathing, salivating and heart beat all are examples of unconscious reflexes in action every second of ever day.

The connection between pain relief and activated reflexes has proven intriguing for the physical therapist.

According to Quinlisk, one relates to the other enough to help relieve pain for people who thought they would never again live pain-free lives.

The technique, officially known as Primal Reflex Release Technique, was pioneered by California physical therapist John lams.

Primal Reflex Release Technique relies upon the two most instinctual or primal human reflexes: the withdrawal reflex and the startle reflex.

Before treatment can take place. Quinlisk performs initial, non-invasive examinations that consist of light muscle prods and pokes.

In doing so, he actually is looking for the first sign of the withdrawal reflex, activated when problematic muscle areas are touched.

According to Quinlisk, these areas may not be immediately painful, but can hide deeper muscle aches and stresses.

Typically, if Quinlisk touches a problematic area, the patient jumps and pulls away demonstrating perfectly both the startle and withdrawal reflexes.

"If you touch a hot (stove) burner, you jump and pull your hand away," Quinlisk explained recently.

Reflexes work on the basic concept that when a reflex is activated, one muscle contracts and the opposing muscle relaxes.

By tapping the right reflex, muscles that were tense and painful relax and the pain can be greedy diminished with just a few visits.

"It's revolutionized the way I do physical therapy," Quinlisk said.

While the therapy works well with sore and traumatized muscles, it tends to be ineffective when the problem 'is more severe.

For example, Quinlisk treated a patient afflicted with severe shoulder pain and bad trouble rotating his shoulder.

The patient visited Quinlisk several times and each time would walk away feeling better but the pain always would return.

Quinlisk said the man discovered he had torn cartilage in his shoulder and needed surgery.

"When (the treatment) fails it fails fast," Quinlisk said.

However, the treatment does have its benefits.

It can save patients time and money, so that if the technique doesn't work, they are free to find something better.

While the treatment may not work for all types of pain, it can help about 75 percent to 80 percent of pain-riddled patients.

"There was a woman that had 20 years of knee pain." Quinlisk said. "After our session, she walked around Waneka Lake. It's amazing the change in how happy (patients) are."

Quinlisk studies with lams in California when he can.