to Do for Muscle Stiffness
By Dr. Ben
I went to see a chiropractor today to get orthopaedic lifts for my
shoes, and he gave me a bit of an examination at the same time.
me that I was very stiff and I was likely feeling a lot of back pain.
Actually I have no back pain but I am very stiff. I have always struggled
days my upper shoulders and back of my neck are often sore and tight.
I have been slowly working on some of the stretches on your website,
but this guy wanted me to go see him and he would help me with adjustments,
if I can just rely on stretching (seriously 30 minutes a day) to regain
flexibility and deal with these problems instead of actually seeing
Generally, my feeling is that it's best to see what you can accomplish
with a regular stretching routine.
absence of chronic inflammation or pain from an acute injury, stiffness
in the back, shoulder, and neck regions is typically caused by one
or both of the following:
stiffness can cause surrounding muscles to become tight from lack
of use, and tight muscles can cause underlying joints to become stiff,
also from lack of use. So for practical purposes, in addressing stiffness,
it doesn't really matter which one is causing the other; just about
all stretches help promote joint flexibility and healthy
adjustments aim to prevent joint stiffness, typically by delivering
a "short amplitude, high velocity" thrust through one of the planes
through which the involved joints are designed to move.
chiropractic adjustments can be immensely helpful in promoting optimal
joint motion, my experience has been that without regular stretching
and awareness of daily activities and postures that are at the root
of chronic stiffness, adjustments can become a short term fix.
opinion, it's better to adopt a lifelong program of stretching to
establish and maintain healthy length and blood flow in all major
muscle groups, which should help your joints and surrounding ligaments
to stay healthy as well.
add foam rolling to your stretching routine as well, as I'm finding
it to be an invaluable tool for keeping muscles, ligaments, and the
joints they service healthy.
keep in mind that beyond stretching and foam rolling, you can likely
benefit from some resistance training that emphasizes a strong core
and good body balance. For example, instead of doing conventional
push-ups, by doing push-ups with one hand on the ground and one on
a medicine ball, you force muscles, ligaments, and proprioceptors
(joint receptors that register joint position sense) throughout your
body, including your core, to develop a high level of functional strength.
By functional strength, I mean strength that your body can consciously
and subconsciously use to stay balanced and less prone to injury as
you go about your daily activities.
example of an exercise that promotes good body balance is one-leg
squats, where you keep your core strong, balance your weight on one
leg, and do slow, controlled squats (even just a few degrees).
coming months, I'll post pictures and videos that show how to do these
and other exercises that promote functional strength and good overall
body balance. If you want to get started right away, I recommend contacting
your local community center about any classes they offer that involve
Bosu ball-type exercises to build core strength and promote good overall
to move too far away from your question, a regular program of stretching
and foam rolling is where I would begin - this really needs to be
the foundation of your self care program. If you try to do too much
with strength and balance-related exercises without ensuring that
your muscles are healthy and your joints are moving properly, you
might just reinforce faulty patterns of being and moving.
of Stretching and Foam Rolling Posts
spending a good few months taking care of your body, you feel that
you haven't experienced significant improvement and can use some help,
that's when I might visit a chiropractor, physiotherapist, massage
therapist, or any other practitioner that specializes in body work.
If your stiffness is severe enough that you can't stretch and exercise
effectively, then it makes sense to seek treatment from day one.
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