Muscle Contracture: Causes, Treatments and How to Avoid
A muscle contraction occurs when there is a continuous and involuntary contraction of a muscle or some fibers of it. When the muscle contracts in the wrong way and does not return to its natural state of relaxation, the contracture appears. The affected region may increase in volume, present pain, and / or impair the mobility of those experiencing the problem.
Although not a very serious problem, when a muscle contraction often appears or when kept for a few days, it may be a sign of imbalance or muscle weakness, which in the future leads to postural changes.
Muscle contracture is one of the most common causes of back pain, especially in the neck and shoulders.
Types of Muscle Contracture
The contracture can vary in intensity, but we do not have several types of muscle contraction. Although it occurs more in the muscles attached to the posture, it can occur in any part of the body, being more common in:
Causes Muscle Contracture
Although the back area is one of the most affected areas, contractures can occur in any other body region. In athletes, these muscular injuries are also frequent in the thighs and calves due to the accumulation of lactic acid during anaerobic physical exercise.
There are no specific causes for muscle contraction, but there are some factors that contribute to its appearance . Some of them are:
- Bad posture
- Poor muscle strength
- Muscle stiffness
- Lack of flexibility
- Poor performance of exercises
Symptoms of Muscle Contracture
The intensity of the nuisance will depend on the degree of seriousness. Some symptoms that indicate the contracture are:
- Pain or sore sensation at the site of muscle contraction
- Difficulty stretching the muscle
- Difficulty in moving the proximal joint of the affected muscle
Treatments for Muscle Contracture
Treatment for muscle contraction should take into account the triggering cause behind muscle contraction. This is because this incorrect movement can be a warning of poor postural positioning, or even being associated with a more serious disease.
In periods of greater fatigue, when there is a lot of muscular tension and contractures are recurrent, it is possible to resort to the use of muscle relaxants. In addition to helping to relax, they also help relieve pain and sleep better, because its relaxing effect on muscles favors sleep and rest of the body.
In addition, sedentary lifestyle also contributes to the onset of muscle contractions
How to treat at home
- Take a hot water bath, letting the hot water jug fall directly into the contraction region
- Treat with a hot water bottle or heated wet towel in the painful region for 15 to 20 minutes, 2-3 times a day
- Massage the contracture region with strong circular movements using a moisturizing cream or relaxing essential oil, especially if feel a ball or a stone
- Do some stretches, which make it possible to stretch and exercise the affected muscle, because although these stretches may initially cause some pain, they will help to relieve tension in the region. the contracture, helping to relax the muscle. Here are some stretches that you can do if your contracture is in the neck by clicking here.
Muscle Strengthening Diet
Potassium Rich Food are necessary to strengthen the muscles.
- Fruit: banana, plum juice, melon, strawberry
- Nuts: almonds or walnuts, peanuts
- Vegetables: chard, artichokes , pumpkin, carrot, Brussels sprouts, potatoes
Magnesium is also essential for activating the vitamins in our body, as well as being a source of energy for our bones and muscles and acting as an anti-inflammatory. Its benefits are innumerable, hence the importance of including these foods in our diet.
- Nuts: hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts
- Fruits: apricot, date, figs. Vegetables: raw spinach, beets, parsley
- Mineral water: contains adequate doses of magnesium, the amount usually ranges from ¼ ml per liter
Foods rich in calcium : this mineral is basic to strengthen our locomotor system , sustain the bones and strengthen our muscles
- Vegetables: cabbage, watercress, spinach
- Vegetables: chickpeas, lentils, soybeans
- Dairy: milk, parmesan cheese
- Fish: sole, snapper, salmon
How to avoid
Muscle contractions, in general, are common in people who spend a lot of time working in offices, always in the same position and for long periods of time.
Some changes in habits can help a lot to avoid muscle contractures:
- Avoid stress and anxiety as much as possible, try to relax whenever possible
- Avoid keeping the same posture for long periods
- Never carry things on the same side for a long time
- Avoid uncomfortable postures
- Do not sleep by bar riga down
- Try stretching at some point in the day, for at least 20 or 25 minutes.
Free radicals: another salad of letters that haunts those who care about good health and has in regular physical activity a means of obtaining it. Free radicals are fractions of molecules, fragments, which result from the whole process of energy production by muscle tissue. Although the metabolism required in the production of energy for physical activity ends in the formation of these radicals, in addition to other molecules, only the excess of exercises, intense and prolonged physical activity, makes its build-up harmful to health.
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, pain is "(...) An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual, potential or described injuries in terms of such pain. " We often hear comments from athletes who say that pain is part of the training and to gain performance or improve performance, it is necessary to have pain.