Last month we delved into “Everything You Need to Know About Neck Pain” and “The Benefits of Stretching”, but this month we’d like to spend some time explaining why muscles feel tight, as well as some factors that might contribute to muscle aches.
It’s important to realize that if you feel tight in a particular area, you might be referring to several complaints. We think it’s important to pin point the exact problem to best resolve any discomfort. For example: Are you experiencing poor range of motion? Or maybe range of motion is fine, but movement to the end range feels uncomfortable or takes maximum effort. Or maybe the issue is that the area never feels relaxed.
How Do You Treat Stiff Muscles?
Check for tightness- Checking for tightness throughout your day. Regardless if you are sitting at home all day or if you went on a 5K run- checking for discomfort early on can prevent a lot of future damage.
Massage therapy – Getting a good massage can work wonders for a stiff muscle. A licensed masseuse will be able to relieve stiff muscles within a session, sending you home pain-free and much more relaxed. (Consult with your massage therapist about the best treatment)
Exercise – Adding a set of exercises for 30 minutes every day (or every other day) can prevent most cases of muscle stiffness. Exercise keeps your muscles relaxed, and can even improve your mental state.
Stretching- Stretching helps to ensure correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. 4 stretches that can help tightness in muscles are Positioning, Forward Stretch, Side Stretch & Diagonal Stretch.
Now that we have discussed ways to relax your muscles when you are feeling discomfort or pain, let’s talk about why your muscles may feel tight.
Let’s discuss three reoccurring reasons you may feel pain in your muscles are from periods of prolonged activity, during exercise and after you exercise.
Prolonged Activity- During periods of prolonged activity your muscles may begin to experience tightness due to restricted activity.
During Exercise- While you are exercising your muscles may start to feel pain. This is commonly known as a “muscle cramp.” When muscles contract, the muscle fibers shorten which increases tension in the muscle.
Post Exercise- After a workout, our muscles tend to experience a soreness. Muscle soreness can be felt as pain and stiffness in the muscles for hours after exercising. This can be prevented by gradually increasing the intensity of a new exercise during future work outs.