Everything you need to know about muscle contractures

They are not usually serious but they are really annoying, to the point of preventing us from carrying out normal daily activity and sports. Find out what muscle contractures are to be able to prevent and treat them appropriately.

It must be clear that a contracture is an injury and, as such, it must be given due importance. It can occur for various reasons but, in any case, it is always the difficulty that a certain muscle, or some of the fibers that compose it, presents in recovering its normal state of rest. When doing any movement, especially during physical exercise, the muscles contract to carry it out. The problem arises when, after this effort, the muscle does not return to its usual relaxed position. When this happens, we are guaranteed a more or less painful muscle contracture.

Types of muscle contractures and their origin

Although the back is one of its favorite places, this ailment can appear in any area and not necessarily when we practice sports. Also people who lead a sedentary life can suffer muscle contractures, precisely due to lack of tone in their muscles. This laxity in the muscles, due to insufficient exercise, is one of the causes that causes them, but there are others:

  • Lack of warm-up prior to doing intense physical activity. It is the cause of many muscle contractures suffered by athletes when they demand an effort from the muscle for which it is not properly prepared. Almost certain injury.
  • Bad postures. It is also a frequent cause of discomfort and stiffness, especially in the neck and back. Sitting badly for hours at work or sleeping in a position where we are pressing on a certain muscle is another common cause.
  •  Fatigued muscle. As important as warming up properly, is not falling into overtraining that can make the muscle unable to regain its relaxed position due to the intense effort to which it has been subjected.
  • Hit. After a strong trauma it may be that, although we do not see external injuries, the muscle has been contracted and damaged by the effect of a blow or a bad movement.
  • Stress. The body warns and, on occasions, episodes of continuous tension can end up manifesting in a stiffening of our muscles or directly in an annoying contracture.

As for the types of muscle contractures, they are the most varied because, at any given moment, any muscle or small fiber can be affected, but among the most common are: cervical contractures , with manifest pain in the neck area and part upper back, back contractures and also those that occur in the lower extremities affecting muscles such as abductors, calves or quadriceps and that usually warn people who practice sports that involve intense work of the lower body muscles with previous cramps like running , cycling or soccer , for example.

How to prevent and treat muscle contractures

Knowing the causes that cause them, it is easy to know how to prevent an injury of these characteristics as much as possible. If you want to avoid suffering muscle contractures you should:

  1. Maintain good postures at all times that imply not forcing any of your muscles unnecessarily.
  2. Get enough rest avoiding stress.
  3. Get some exercise even if you don’t have a passion for sports. It is the best way to give your muscles the strength and tone they require.
  4. When exercising, remember the importance of a good warm-up and avoiding overtraining.

When it comes to treating a muscle contracture, the best remedy is to let the muscle rest long enough. If you suffer an injury of this type while doing sports, you must stop the exercise immediately because, if you continue, you could cause more damage (fiber breakage).

Take a few days off after exercising and when you notice that your muscle improves and the pain disappears, you can start doing some very gentle stretches, keeping in mind that with the minimum discomfort you will have to stop.

In case of persistent and painful muscle contractures, it is always advisable to see a doctor in case it is necessary to resort to any medication or a physiotherapist.