Muscle contracture: Definition, symptoms, treatment and prevention
Muscle contractures can affect the performance of the person who suffers from it, in this article we will talk about them and their treatment and prevention through physiotherapy in Dwarka.
What is muscle contracture?
Muscle contracture, as its name indicates, is a continuous and involuntary contraction of the muscle or some of its fibers that appear when making an effort, this manifests as a bulging of the area that develops pain and alterations in the normal function of the muscle.
Muscle contracture usually appears when the muscle performs an activity that is inappropriate in intensity or function, as well as when more weight is taken in the gym than it should be, contractures may appear or when a sustained effort is made over time without taking on so much weight, such as case of poor placement on the spinning bike.
Muscular contractures can appear at the moment in which an exercise is being performed or after…
It occurs because there is an accumulation of metabolism that causes inflammation or because there is not enough blood supply in the area, it can also be due to excessive fatigue of the fibers that at the end of the exercise see their relaxation capacity diminished.
The first method of intervention of a contracture is its prevention and for this a good warm-up must be carried out in order to prepare the muscle before the effort, a progressive programming in intensity of the loads also helps from less to more.
Muscle contracture as the main cause of back pain
In cases where back pain is triggered, the contracture appears essentially when the muscle is required to work more than it can perform and makes it intense and punctual, such as a sustained and less intense effort such as maintaining for hours an inadequate posture, on the other hand, some alterations of the spinal column or imbalance can favor certain muscle groups that are constantly working more than necessary, which predisposes them to contract the same thing that happens when the muscles lack power and it is required exert forces that exceed their capacity. In some scientific studies it has been shown that the paravertebral musculature is symmetrical on the left and right sides.
In patients who have undergone surgical interventions in the back area or who have suffered chronic back pain, the paravertebral muscles can atrophy up to 80% with respect to that of the healthy side, facilitating an asymmetric distribution of loads, muscular overload or distal and the appearance of new painful episodes. In this situation, it is essential to exercise appropriately for each specific case in order to counteract this tendency and avoid recurrence of crises.
However, muscle contracture can be triggered as a result of back pain regardless of the reason, back pain itself can cause muscle contracture due to a reflex mechanism, in these cases the contracture is not the main cause of pain, however, is an added factor which can aggravate. The contracture can worsen some of its causes, for example, in a painful herniated disc, the muscular contracture can increase the compression force on the disc and thus facilitate the output of the nucleus pulposus.
What is the symptomatology of muscle contracture?
The characteristic and common symptoms of muscle contracture are pain and limitation of movement, both parameters offer a wide range of severity because in some cases the contractures go from being minor annoyances without impediment to completely disabling injuries.
The symptomatology revolves around two parameters: the affected area and the extension of the contracture. Focusing on the first parameter, we find, for example, that in upper regions of the body, such as the cervical area, the contractures can trigger symptoms truly aggressive such as dizziness, vertigo and migraine, a scalene syndrome, that is, the entrapment of the neurovascular bundle of the neck due to inflammation or contracture of the muscle belly of the scalene causes a feeling of heaviness in the arm, deep pain, paresthesia and hands cold.
A pyramidal muscle that increases its thickness due to a contracture can compress the adjacent structures and cause false sciatica…
In relation to the second parameter, the extension of the contracture, it is evident that a greater dimension of the contracture can aggravate the effects mentioned above.
How is a muscle contracture diagnosed?
A correct diagnosis interprets the symptoms manifested by the patient, later the diagnosis focuses on the palpation of the affected area in search of muscular bulges with greater tension, a muscular rod offers a certain resistance to palpation while the fingers slide over it and finding a point with greater resistance means that that specific point of the muscle fibers is contracted. This assessment, together with the pain signal caused to the patient, palpation of this muscle or this muscle point will confirm the presence of a muscle contracture.
The injured muscle does not achieve the same great mobility as the healthy muscle on the opposite side…
What are the causes of muscle contracture?
The contracture may be caused by any of the following problems: brain and nervous system disorders with cerebral palsy or stroke, hereditary disorders such as muscular dystrophy, nerve damage, reduced use (such as lack of mobility) and scarring after a traumatic injury or burn.
From the point of view of oriental medicine, a theory applied in the Fiit concept, this type of alteration can also be triggered not only by physical factors, but also by emotional factors such as those related to stress (such as tension headache) or people. nervous and visceral factors that can trigger alterations in the stomach causing gastritis, this can also be caused by a poor diet such as excess coffee, excess fat, among others.
What is the treatment of muscle contracture?
In the first place, it is necessary to move away from the injury mechanism, if an exercise or the execution of a gesture triggers a muscular contracture, it is necessary to avoid executing them, relative rest is often the best method of healing and when we refer to relative is that the patient does not remain in very long periods of immobilization, but also remains active, because immobilization can cause adverse effects.
A treatment for the first stages of the contracture is the application of heat on the affected area because this provides vasodilation and contributes to the blood purification of the muscle segment, adding this causes a sensation of relief thanks to its analgesic and relaxing effect.
The massage therapy applied in our physiotherapy clinic in Dwarka is an effective and natural method because it allows us to eliminate the ailments that this alteration triggers.
From the point of view of integrative physiotherapy, assuming that the origin of this alteration may be due to emotional factors, it is advisable to reduce the levels of stress that may occur in people. These emotional factors can trigger contractures, therefore, we must work to reduce their presence as well as reduce the consumption of foods that cause irritability in the digestive segment, such as excessive consumption of coffee or high-fat foods.
Therefore, adequate nutrition is recommended by physiotherapist in Delhi in order to reduce or prevent the onset of muscle contracture…
How can a muscle contracture be prevented?
Whether it is because the patient has just come out of a contracture or because he has a tendency to suffer, the best way to prevent them and avoid relapses is by taking into account the following points:
- Avoid repetitive gestures or movements, if the contracture is produced due to a sustained contraction over time, a constant repetition of a contraction favors its appearance, if it is unavoidable to repeat a gesture for sports or work reasons, it is convenient to carry out small routines of stretching and joint mobility exercises that last between 5 and 10 minutes in the areas exposed to the injury, this routine would be repeated periodically throughout the working day or in a training session, for example, a routine of 5 minutes every 2 work hours.
- Adopt correct postural hygiene, whether while studying, watching television, in the office chair or even at bedtime. A bad posture can trigger contractions continuously, the longer the adoption of an incorrect posture the greater the contracture will be, in addition to adopting correct postures, a material must be used that guarantees its principles such as the use of ergonomic chairs at work time or a quality mattress for rest.
- Before undertaking any physical activity, it is essential to warm up according to the effort to be made. Acquiring the right muscle temperature through exercise is the best way to prevent possible injury.
This article explained a little about this alteration, its possible causes, treatment and prevention. If you present recurrent muscular contractures, visit our physiotherapy and osteopathy clinic we have experienced physiotherapist in Dwarka who will satisfactorily address these alterations to improve your health and quality of life.