Tight muscles are not only frustrating and painful, but can also limit movement. Worst of all, they can make it harder to stick to your exercise program. Muscle stiffness typically occurs after exercise, hard physical work, or lifting weights. You may also feel stiffness after periods of inactivity, like when you get out of bed in the morning or get out of a chair after sitting for a long time.
So, what causes muscle tightness?
Periods of Inactivity
During periods of prolonged inactivity, for example, if you have desk job, long hour sitting, working at a desk, some muscles can get tight as a result of their restricted movement. When you are seated at a desk, , your could be in forward neck posture while working on computer, your chest muscles (pectorals) will be in a shortened position while your upper back muscles (rhomboids) will be in a lengthened position. Whereas your hips are flexed to 90* position. This puts the front thigh muscle (hip flexors) in a shortened position, and the muscles on the back of the thigh (glutes ) in a lengthened position. In addition, over the time, this can result in muscle imbalances with the shortened muscles becoming “tight” and the lengthened muscles becoming weak. If you look around you, you’ll notice many people have developed poor posture with forward rounded shoulders and underdeveloped glutes. The key to preventing this tightness due to decreased range of motion is three-fold. It is important to maintain proper posture, even while seated. You should also specifically strengthen those small muscles which have become lengthened and weak. Lastly, you should make sure to do the full body stretch.
The experience of muscle tightness while doing exercises or after exercise may be our body trying to tell us that the muscle is not getting enough blood flow, and we need to do something to change that. This is why stretching or massaging, myofascial release, Ice bath may be helpful (these techniques can help restore blood flow), we can categorized them in to when muscles tighten up is during exercise, activity, for example, a muscle cramp And Muscles tighten up following exercise. This is felt as muscle soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) can be felt as pain and stiffness in the muscles for 24 to 72 hours post-exercise.
Cramps are unpleasant, often painful sensations caused by a variety of factors that include muscle fatigue, loss of sodium, potassium from body. Muscle cramps can also happen even when you’re not exercising. When muscles contract, the muscle fibers shorten, increasing tension in the muscle. When the contraction is completed, the muscle fibers lengthen and decrease tension. During a muscle cramp, however, the muscle fibers remain shortened and are unable to lengthen due to fatigue or improper hydration and nutrition or lack of salts. To prevent the muscle cramps from occurring in the future, make sure to be properly hydrated, properly fed, and not overly fatigued when exercising. Maintained the proper salt intake also If engaging in exercise bouts lasting longer than 60 minutes, consuming an electrolyte replenishing drink may help prevent muscle cramps.
Stiffness is an awful sensation — it feels like something is wrong in your body part. No one ever feels comfortably stiff. So what’s wrong? Stiffness is a symptom. The etiology may varies for stiffness which resulted into a restricted range of motion
Sprain or strain
Injury from extreme heat/cold
What is the treatment for my muscle tightness ?
You may feel muscle tightness for multiple different reasons. Thus, in order to get rid of muscle tightness it would be a wise decision to visit nearest physiotherapy clinic. The expert physiotherapist will do a proper assessment and will explain the exact cause of your problem. Once your physiotherapist explains you the root cause behind your muscle tightness he will guide you on how to avoid this permanently to live a pain free and stiffness free lifestyle.
Proper posture, choice of exercises, and stretches will prevent tightness due to decreased range of motion. Proper exercise, stretching, and nutrition strategies can help prevent and correct what can be called muscle tightness. Proper exercise intensity, as well as pre-exercises, during, and post-exercise hydration and nutrition can help prevent muscle cramps. Appropriate exercise progression under the guidance of physiotherapist and trained fitness trainer will help prevent DOMS and maintain range of motion, respectively.