Muscle contractures: the injury of the XXI century. How to treat and prevent them?
Without a doubt, the XXI century has brought us many advances and progress, mobile phones we did not dream of, electronic notebooks, 3D cinemas, dream cars, incredible advances in health sciences and countless world records beaten in the last decade. But it is clear that not all is good, is there any XXIst Century human who would be able to say that does not suffer from stress or pain somewhere in their body? Who could currently say, he has never had a muscle contrcature?
Surely no one would answer affirmatively to these questions, or there would be very few who would. Muscle contractures along with stress, have become the illness of the century in which we live in.
What can we do if we suffer from muscle contractures? Well, this is the most often question the common man who suffers it asks himself; we can already anticipate that a contracture can be both treated and prevented but before entering this topic, let us first see what a contracture is.
A muscle contracture as its name suggests is a muscle contraction, whose harmful nature lies in the continuity of this sustained contraction in time. Thus, while normal muscle fibers contract and relax, when a contracture occurs, all or part of the muscle fibers suffer an involuntary contraction maintained over time. This results in the clinic of this disease which is varied and depends on two factors: the severity or intensity and the anatomical region affected. Generally, the clinic is usually related to pain and difficulty moving, but sometimes the clinical picture can be much more complex.
Once the concept of muscle knot has been roughly explained, let's see what we can do to return to a healthier state. If we want to recover from a muscle contracture it is of little use to stuff ourselves with drugs, as these only mask the pain and once its effect has gone the problem will still be there, without forgetting the important side effects of each and all of them and all the work they give our body, which should eliminate them later. Our advice to all those who suffer from muscle spasms is that you visit a chartered physiotherapist. He is the best qualified health care professional to solve the problem and help you prevent it. We cannot forget it is as important to cure it as it is to prevent it.
Thus a chartered physiotherapist is your best partner to fight muscle contractures and its clinical picture. However, there are self-treatment options, slightly less effective, but which can be useful until you can see your physiotherapist, or as a complement to your treatment. We present some:
• Carry out self-stretching: it can provide you many benefits, but beware, it is not good to stretch any old way. A proper stretch can be very positive, but one carried out improperly will lead to other more serious issues, so it is very important that your therapist teaches you the most appropriate way.
• Applying heat: heat or cold? How many times has that doubt arisen?, we will solve it quickly, heat is best suited to relax muscle contracture, especially moist heat (hot showers, damp cloths in hot water, heat bags, etc. ).
• Perform self-massage or self-compression over contractures: Using tools like 3TOOL, a portable and easy to use tool, can help us, among other things to relieve us from pain produced by muscle contractures.
Once the muscle knot is treated or eliminated, what interests us most is to avoid future possible relapses. This requires studying the factors producing this problem, some of the most common are: stress, poor diet, bad posture, sedentary life, the cold, repetitive movements, worries, anxiety, etc.
Of course, there are factors which little can be done such as cold, stress, anxiety or worries. However, we can fight the other factors, let’s see how:
• Poor diet: it is essential to eat properly, including a major amount of vegetables and fruits, devoting adequate time to food intake, drinking enough water (around 8 glasses), and avoiding substances or food that can cause stress such as coffee or drinks high in caffeine. It is also very important to control excesses; times like Christmas can be a problem.
• Poor posture: two daily activities are critical when it comes to our posture, because we spend a lot of hours in them, these are work and sleep. The sleeping position is difficult to control, as we move unconsciously, but we can adopt a good ergonomic and posture in our job, which will bring us many benefits.
• A sedentary lifestyle: to fight it we have thousands of options, jogging 20-30 minutes at an easy pace, walking to work, walking in the middle of the day, move more by bike than by car ... and anything else you can think of, as we have said there is a huge range of possibilities.
Our advice to avoid the appearance of muscle contractures is that you try to eat well, to avoid as much as possible to be stressed, try to adopt good posture when working, do some sport at a low intensity but long duration, and to carry more or less regularly appropriate stretching. If this is not enough, you can use 3TOOL to self-massage yourself and self-compression over the areas of pain.
If eventually, you are not able to prevent their occurrence and end up suffering a muscle strain or contracture, do not hesitate to visit a physical therapist. You know he will be your best ally to fight this problem.