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Chronic Muscle Tightness

Teresa Wan
Life Ready Physio + Pilates Point Cook

Chronic muscle tightness is something almost everyone will experience in their lifetime. The most common muscles affected are around the neck, shoulders and back. Usually this will be relieved by a massage, but all too soon, the tightness returns.

That is because massage is a bandaid approach to chronic muscle tightness. It will provide short-term relief but it will not fix the underlying problem that is actually causing the tightness.

What is the underlying problem? So glad you asked!

It is actually muscle weakness that causes long-term tightness.

When a muscle is in ideal strength, it can contract (shorten) and relax (lengthen) as required. A muscle that is weak does not contract well, and cannot do its job of providing stability to joints or generating movements.

The body has a nifty way around this though! If the muscle tightens up, this mimics a contraction/shortening movement, which facilitates the muscle to do its job of stabilising and moving joints. However it is this mimicry/tightening that causes your muscles to niggle and ache.

Therefore in order to provide long-term, effective relief of tight muscles, there is more to it than just stretching and massage. Strengthening the muscle will teach it to contract and to relax appropriately. This will give you the best chance at avoiding the dreaded build-up of muscle tension.

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