This is our body’s ability to manage our center of mass while maintaining neutral joint positions throughout the body during intended, coordinated movements with an adequate amount of strength, speed and range and being able to adapt to the environment when circumstances change. Neuromuscular control is a function of the sensory input to the brain (a function of the visual, vestibular and the somatosensory system), motor output from the brain and the coordination of these signals by different centers of the brain like the cerebellum. It also involves the moving parts of the muscular and skeletal system.
During movement in our everyday tasks or in sport, our joints, muscles and ligaments form the infrastructure our body uses to perform work. How well any given joint works is dependent on how the rest of the joints in the kinetic chain (i.e. human body) are positioned and used. The body is a sum of all of its moving parts and if one part is injured or dysfunctional, another part of the body may compensate in order to complete the intended task. For example, let’s say we needed to walk over a rock 1 foot high while walking a given path. If both knees were functional, this task may be easy as we can simply just step over the rock. However, imagine if we had an injury to one knee, and we could not completely weight bear on it, how would we change our movement or rearrange our body mechanics to accomplish this task? In other words, an injury to one area of the body can now change the “normal” mechanics of another part of the body.
Having excellent neuromuscular control involves stabilization of one part of the body while another part is in motion. It involves optimal timing of joint centration and alignment with the rest of the body, correct stabilization of that joint with core muscles, and allowing the primary movers to move the joint around its center so the center of mass is balanced. What we have explained here is a perfect scenario; however, it is how far we deviate from perfect that causes our bodies to experience reduced mobility, lack of stability and ultimately, injuries.
Last update: March 2018