When my clients come in for a massage, sometimes they’ll mention they feel “tight.”
Does this mean they have a reduced range of motion? Or, does it require extra effort to move in ways that are usually easy? Have their muscles shortened or struggling to relax from overuse?
There are a million reasons why your body can feel tightness.
Tightness is a subjective feeling, not the physical or mechanical property of excess tension. Tension can:
- Be perceived as muscle imbalance and compensation
- Act as inadequate circulation or rest after activity or general fatigue and lack of relaxation in the muscl
- Present as mild, slightly bothersome pain that causes the patient to notice how they are moving and make adjustments to diminish tightness
Treatments for muscle tightness:
When we tackle muscle tightness with massage, focus is placed on changing body positioning, habits and posture. We also introduce new methods to change up the parasympathetic response to tension and body awareness.
- Slow and steady
- Avoiding a complicated and aggressive routine
- If it feels good, do it! Take it easy but don’t push yourself too far
Movement therapy to release stored tension
- Postural and gait awareness
- Breathing habits
- Development body awareness
Exercise and strengthening
- Increase blood flow to the muscles and encouraging a full range of motion
- Build flexibility and strength
- Massage therapy can change how neuroreceptors interpret and perceive pain and pressure, including tension in the body
- Massage also increases local circulation, enhances general relaxation, etc.
- Registered massage therapists will also recommend homecare and self care work to help maintain the results of treatment