[Sample Blog] Muscle Tightness Explained

by nyuodkeawxflzbmcbsp

Why do my muscles feel so tense? Would this suggest that they aren’t tall? That they are unable to unwind? And what are you going to do with it?

Here are some of my observations about why muscles tighten and how to relax them.

Tightness is a feeling, not a physical state.
When anyone claims they’re close in a certain place, they may be talking to a number of problems. As a result, I try to figure out:

Were they referring to a loss of freedom of motion?


Or perhaps range of motion is good, but hitting the end range is painful or requires too much effort.
Perhaps the issue isn’t so much with activity as it is with the environment never feeling secure.
Or sometimes the region is essentially calm, but there is a slight feeling of irritation – a symptom that is uncomfortable but not intense enough to be defined as pain.
Because of this uncertainty, the illusion of tightness is exactly that: a sensation, not the actual or mechanical property of undue stress, friction, or shortness. It is possible to get one without the other.

Some of my clients tell me that their hamstrings are heavy, but they can comfortably forwards flex with their palms on the concrete. I even have clients who say their hamstrings aren’t tight at all but can’t get their hands below their knees. As a result, the sense of tightness is not a good predictor of range of motion.

It’s still not a clear measure of a muscle’s actual strain or hardness, or the formation of “knots.” When I palpate a close area on a client (let’s say the upper traps), they always enquire, “Can you feel how hard that is?”

I always say things like:

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no It has the same texture as the underlying tissues.

But I fully understand that this place FEELS claustrophobic and that you don’t like it.

I, too, hate the sensation of being squeezed, but I’d like to assist you in getting rid of it. However, the sense of tightness is not the same as the region being physically tight. Does that make sense?

The bulk of people understand this and find it slightly fascinating. I want patients to realise this because it can prompt them to rethink a flawed care strategy for their tightness, such as aggressive stretching, fascia crushing, or adhesion breaking. As a result, they’re open to dreaming of anything other than pushing a lacrosse ball halfway through their ribcage.

When muscles aren’t necessarily strong, why do they feel that way?
So, even if a muscle is physically free, why does it feel tight?

Pain, I agree, can be used as an analogy. Pain can occur even though there is no tissue injury and pain is a product of a danger experience, which does not necessarily meet reality. Pain is basically a warning, and alarms will go off even though no actual threat occurs.

Perhaps the sense of being squeezed fits a related logic. The sensation arises when we mistakenly assume (correctly or incorrectly) that there is a dangerous disorder in our muscles that involves movement correction.

So, what is the potentially dangerous situation that a close feeling is trying to warn us about? Surely it isn’t just the presence of stress – muscles are built to build tension, and we often experience tightness in them even though they are almost totally relaxed.

So, while tension isn’t a threat, a lack of sufficient rest or blood flow is, which can contribute to metabolic stress and the activation of chemical nociceptors. So the concern that a sense of tightness is attempting to warn us about is not the presence of discomfort, but the frequency of tension or the absence of blood flow (especially to nerves, which are very blood thirsty.)

With this in mind, I consider tightness to be a form of pain, although one that is maybe too mild to be considered pain. However, it is inconvenient. It also has a distinct taste or attitude that allows people to change their resting posture, walk around, or stretch. This is in contrast to other hurts, which make you want to sit still. Perhaps pain serves as a warning not to leave a specific region, while tightness serves as a warning to move.

How Can You Get Rid of Muscle Tightness?
I assume we should handle tightness in the same manner we treat pain: by modifying one of the many “inputs” that allow the nervous system to sense risk in the body, such as nociception, feelings, impulses, memories, and so on.

Any aches and pains are unmistakably tied to movement or stance. When someone says something along the lines of, “It hurts when I do this, and it hurts even worse when I do more of this, and it hurts less when I do less of this,” we might deduce this. Changing movement or stance in this situation is likely to benefit because it reduces the primary source of pain – mechanical nociception induced by movement.

On the other hand, certain other forms of pain, especially chronic pain, are more complicated: the pain is due to other causes such as the time of day, sleep period, mental state, stress level, diet, general exercise, or some random unknown variables, rather than precise motions or postures. In this case, mechanical nociception caused by movement is unlikely to be the primary source of pain; instead, peripheral or central sensitisation is more likely to be the culprit.

I assume we should apply the same logic to the sensation of being squeezed.

The cause of most simple cases of tightness is obvious: we’ve been in the same pose or activity pattern for so long, and our muscles need to rest or shift positions to alleviate the ischemia or metabolic tension that’s triggering nociception in those locations. If we spend hours in a car, an aircraft, or in front of a screen, for example, we will naturally feel forced to stretch and shift, which will typically ease any discomfort or yuckiness.

Of course, most clients with persistent tightness have tried and failed at this basic technique. The stiffness persists for hours or days at a time, comes and goes at will, and has nothing to do with posture or movement.

In both situations, the cause of pain may be due to the nervous system being sensitised to the need for additional blood supply in particular locations, either peripherally or centrally. This may be attributable to local inflammation, adrenosensitivity, heightened sensitivity in the dorsal horn, or even acquired correlations with particular environments (like computers) and specific stimuli (e.g feeling like crap).

So, what can we do to lessen this sensitivity?

There isn’t a clear solution to this issue and if there was, it would fix the dilemma with chronic pain, which no one has yet worked out. Still, if I’m right and the tightness is a minor source of discomfort, it should be a little easier to cope with.

Here is a list of some common strategies for coping with persistent tightness, as well as some reflections on each technique from the above perspective. You’ll find that some of the solutions are diametrically contradictory to what other people do.

Exercising
We stretch muscles that have been in a short posture for a long time out of habit, and this typically helps us feel stronger right away.

However, as previously mentioned, the majority of people who suffer from persistent tightness have already attempted and failed this technique, suggesting that the concern is more about heightened vulnerability than poor mechanics.

The concern is that many individuals, including therapists, would assume that the lack of a few basic stretches necessitates a much more aggressive programe.

The hip flexors are also strong.

This would make sense if the condition was caused by short or adhered tissues. Aggressive stretching, on the other hand, can intensify the problem if the root cause is increased sensitivity. Stretching, on the other hand, has analgesic and soothing properties.

Is stretching a healthy way to alleviate muscle tension? I assume that if anything feels good, it should be done. If it doesn’t, don’t do it.

Tightness can be eased with soft tissue function.
Deep tissue rubbing, foam rolling, Graston, ART, IASTM, and other soft tissue therapies are used to lengthen short tissues, break adhesions, and melt fascia, among other things. Since I and several others have found out, this is almost definitely unlikely.

Could these therapies, on the other hand, improve sensitivity and help someone feel less tense? Activating descending induction of nocicieption, a well-known consequence of painful stimulus that is believed to have health effects, is a sure bet.

These therapies, however, induce nociception, which continues to improve sensitivity. It’s a delicate juggling act that is affected by several influences, including the individual. Again, do it if it feels good, but it’s a choice, not a requirement; it’s just temporary, and you should know why you’re doing it.

Muscle Tightness Muscle Control
Many types of movement therapy are basically motor control approaches; they strive to enhance movement, postural, and breathing patterns, reduce parasitic anxiety, and develop coping skills, among other things.

Habits are difficult to crack, but this technique is worth a test, particularly if tightness tends to be connected to particular postures or gestures. Of instance, in more difficult circumstances, muscle control should not be expected to solve the problem on its own.

Resistance conditioning and fitness
People also equate strength training with being in better shape. Muscles get highly tense during exercise, and delayed onset muscle soreness will cause discomfort the next day. Strength training is often correlated with the (false) assumption that muscles get shorter and less flexible.

These considerations

Resistance conditioning and fitness
People also equate strength training with being in better shape. Muscles get highly tense during exercise, and delayed onset muscle soreness will cause discomfort the next day. Strength training is often correlated with the (false) assumption that muscles get shorter and less flexible.

fears are totally baseless. In fact, full range of motion strength training, maybe even more than stretching, will enhance flexibility. It induces local adaptations in muscle, which can increase stamina and reduce the risk of metabolic distress. Exercise also has analgesic effects that can help to minimize inflammation, which can contribute to nervous system sensitivity.

A personal anecdote follows. I used to be much more relaxed when I did yoga, but my hamstrings were still hard. After that, I finished practicing yoga and starting doing a lot of kettlebell swings. Even though I was working the hamstrings HARD, my forwards bent diminished a tad, but the sensation of tightness in my hamstrings was GONE. It was replaced by a sense of practical strength and capability, which I imagine minimized any potential hazard associated with hamstring lengthening.

Naturally, if you overwork your muscles and don’t encourage them to heal, they can become sensitive, rigid, and sore. However, if you work them just enough to establish adaptation but not overworking them to the point of injury or avoiding complete recovery, you can make them better, smarter, and, yes, less rigid.

final thoughts


If you’re rigid, note that it’s a thought, not a real disorder that necessitates an aggressive structural remedy. When you are responsive, you feel it more deeply, much like most emotions. It will go down as you enhance your physical fitness, strength, awareness, muscle function, and wellbeing, much as other types of sensitivity.

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