Why Are My Muscles Always Tight?
Part 1 – Muscle inhibitions role in chronic tight muscles
There may be several reasons why your muscles are always tight. The most common reasons are dehydration, poor sleeping positions, muscle weakness, and muscle inhibition. In this series of blog posts, I will cover all aspects of muscle tightness. Today, I will explain muscle inhibition and how it can affect muscle tightness.
What is Muscle Inhibition
Muscle Inhibition is when the agonist muscle (Primary Mover) loses the ability to perform its function. This is mainly due to a lack of communication from the brain to the muscle spindle. When a lack of communication occurs, the body tries to compensate by involving more of the synergist muscles (Secondary Movers) which may result in:
Loss of joint integrity
Antagonist becoming hypertonic (Constant contraction) (Tight muscles)
Alterations in length/tension relationship of muscles
Causes of Muscle Inhibition
Just as there are multiple reasons for muscles to be tight there are several causes for muscle inhibition. The top three are stress, trauma, and overuse.
The American Psychological Association states that both tension-type headache and migraine headaches are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head. Musculoskeletal pain in the low back and upper extremities has also been linked to stress, especially job stress.
Trauma is usually associated with an injury. Trauma could also be a result of surgery. Inhibition comes in to play when the body tries to protect itself from the trauma. We compensate by avoiding use of the affected limb or using walking assistance devices which usually leads to muscle atrophy.
Overuse is probably the most overlooked cause. In the fitness industry, no pain no gain is the motto. However, when we push the body too far the brain considers it as trauma and starts to shut the muscular system down. When this happens, instead of one muscle becoming hypertonic a whole muscle group can become hypertonic.
Moving Past Muscle Inhibition
Remember, muscles must have proper neural input to fully contract. A full muscle contraction is the base for growth and performance and without it the joint becomes unstable.
Until the inhibition is addressed the body will only compensate to do the action that you want to do. When training with inhibited muscles, strength training becomes a waste because only the muscles that are contracting are the ones getting stronger. The weak ones only get weaker.
In most cases, injury to the joint can be directly traced back to some form of muscle inhibition.
M.A.T. Training Helps with Muscle Inhibition
M.A.T. training at my Tampa personal training studio can help you improve the signal to your muscles and increase range of motion by improving the contractile capabilities of those muscles. With muscle activation technique (M.A.T.) focused training, I can identify specific weak or inhibited muscles that are the problem and design a customized personal training program to improve performance and help you reach your goals.