Port Moody RMT

Why Our Muscles Feel Tight & How to Loosen Them

Discomfort characterized by sensations of tightness, stiffness, cramping, and pain is frequently reported by clients when they seek our RMT services. Such physical discomfort can significantly affect overall well-being, and addressing the root cause of these issues may often appear to be challenging.

Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) employ a diverse range of therapeutic techniques, skillfully applying varying levels of pressure to enhance blood circulation in targeted areas and alleviate tension within the affected tissues.

While massage therapy remains a popular choice for many seeking relief from bodily tightness, it is not uncommon for people to wonder why their muscles get sore. This article aims to provide insight into this question and offer strategies to effectively reduce muscle tension, enabling you to regain a pain-free state of well-being.

What can cause muscle tightness?

Experiencing sensations of muscle stiffness or tightness can be challenging to articulate, as these feelings vary significantly among individuals. Muscle rigidity is characterized by the inability of muscles to attain their normal state of relaxation. It may manifest as sharp pain for some, while others may perceive it as cramping or encounter difficulties in movement.

The human body comprises approximately 600 muscles, which can be categorized into three types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Muscle tightness typically affects the skeletal muscles, constituting 30-40% of the body's total mass. These muscles are essential for facilitating movement, functionality, and the performance of daily activities.

When we desire to use or move a specific body part, the brain dispatches nerve signals to the associated muscles, causing them to contract. Following contraction, muscles ideally return to a relaxed state until they are needed again. However, there are instances when muscles remain partially or fully contracted for an extended duration.

Stress represents a primary trigger for muscle tension. Stress exerts a multifaceted impact on both the body and mind, often manifesting as physical discomfort, tension, and complex symptoms like elevated blood pressure or digestive issues. In the context of muscle tightness, stress can disrupt the nervous system's optimal functioning, a prerequisite for transitioning muscles from a contracted to a relaxed state. Consequently, our muscles may experience sustained tension when the nervous system is adversely affected.

Muscle discomfort can stem from various factors, each with its unique impact on our musculoskeletal well-being:

  1. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS): DOMS often sets in a couple of days after an intense workout, leading to symptoms such as severe pain, tenderness, and reduced joint range. Athletes commonly experience DOMS, and targeted sports massages can help alleviate the pain by addressing specific areas affected by this condition.
  2. Dehydration: Inadequate hydration can exacerbate muscle and joint pain, given that our muscles and kidneys are predominantly composed of water (79%). Sufficient water intake is vital for preventing muscle and tendon tightness, as it also helps lubricate our joints, ensuring pain-free mobility.
  3. Prolonged inactivity: With the shift to remote work during the pandemic, many individuals spend extended hours at their desks. This sedentary lifestyle can lead to muscle tightness, making it more challenging to move comfortably. Regular movement and exercise are essential to prevent muscle restrictions and the gradual development of tightness.
  4. Poor posture: Maintaining proper posture, whether sitting, standing, or lying down, is crucial for preventing musculoskeletal imbalances that can result in muscle and joint pain.
  5. Muscle strain: Straining a particular area of the body can lead to soft tissue injuries and disrupt the normal functioning of muscles and tendons. Consistent massages can help address and mitigate the impact of muscle strain.

For those experiencing intense muscle tightness, it is highly advisable to consult one of our recommended RMT professionals to rule out any underlying serious causes.