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Body Stiffness: EP’s Chiropractic Injury Specialists

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Body stiffness is common, especially as the body ages. Stiffness can result from intense work, lack of physical exercise, or specific conditions. The reasons vary from individual to individual. Some feel stiff when they wake up, while others become stiff after stopping physical activity. For others, stiffness can result from practicing unhealthy postures, intense workouts, or something new that the body is beginning to get used to. There are several ways to prevent and treat stiffness, no matter the cause, including targeted physical movements, posture corrections, body decompression, chiropractic realignment, stretches, and therapeutic massage.

Body Stiffness

Knowing the cause of body stiffness and how to relieve it can help prevent and treat the condition so the body can function better. It’s vital to see a health care professional immediately if stiffness results from an injury, accompanied by pain, it does not go away with home treatments, or if an insect bite or infection could be the cause.

  • Individuals should speak to a healthcare professional for frequent stiffness that interferes with their quality of life.
  • Most of the time, stiffness can be treated at home and reduced through preventative measures.
  • Stay active but not too hard until the body gets used to the activity.
  • Various relief methods include a warm bath, massage shower, or self-massage.

Intense Work or Exercise

  • The muscles incur tiny tears when exercising or performing heavy labor, especially when the body is not used to the intensity or duration.
  • These tears are normal and help build larger and stronger muscles.
  • Individuals may feel stiff and sore for 24-72 hours as the body repairs itself.
  • Inflammation surrounding the joints/synovial fluid after heavy activity or repetitive movements is another cause.

Inactivity

  • Moving around generates the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
  • When body movement stops, like going to sleep or long periods spent sitting, working, or watching tv, fluid production slows down, resulting in body stiffness.
  • The lack of fluid after movement can make the body feel stiff when returning to activity.

Unhealthy Posture

  • The body can become stiff and sore when routinely holding the body in a way that strains the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Sitting or standing incorrectly from an unhealthy workstation setup or postural habits contributes to stiffness and musculoskeletal problems.

Medical Conditions

  • Medical conditions can cause stiffness like rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, thyroid disease, strains and sprains, and low vitamin D levels.
  • See medical attention if you suspect any medical causes are behind the body stiffness.

Prevention

Depending on the reason behind body stiffness, there are ways to prevent it.

Warm-Up

  • Warming up before any physical activity loosens up the muscles before fully engaging.
  • Soreness will present and is part of the muscle repair process.
  • Properly warming up can help the repair go faster.

Mobility and Flexibility Breaks

  • Taking breaks from inactivity by getting up and moving around, walking, or performing mobility movements could increase the secretions of joint fluid, prevent stiffness, and relieve the effects of poor postural habits you may have been making.
  • Set a timer to break up periods of inactivity and move around.
  • Get up for 5 minutes every hour to move the muscles and get the blood flowing.

Stay Aware of Posture and Form

  • Postural awareness can help prevent muscle strain that leads to stiffness.
  • Adjusting the workspace and posture can help prevent stiffness.
  • The posterior chain: head, neck, torso, and legs are aligned with the feet flat on the floor and back supported.

Stay Active

  • Maintaining muscle movement maintains blood circulation, which can help reduce stiffness.
  • Exercise helps reduce inflammation, increases synovial fluid production, and helps strengthen the muscles.

Active Recovery

  • Participating in active recovery can help bring blood flow to the muscles and prevent inflammation.
  • Light cardiovascular activities include swimming, cycling, walking, or bodyweight movements.

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

  • Anti-inflammation nutrition like the Mediterranean diet, which includes healthy fats, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, seafood, and whole grains, can help reduce aches and stiffness.
  • Getting enough vitamin D can reduce stiffness.

Chiropractic Flexibility Restoration

Chiropractic adjustments, decompression, MET, and therapeutic massage techniques can relieve muscle soreness and stiffness and restore body function. The chiropractic team will evaluate the individual, diagnose the cause/s, and develop a personalized treatment plan. The team will provide posture training, stretching the body, using a percussive massager or foam roller to break tight, stiff muscles and release adhesions of tissues.


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References

Mailey, Emily L et al. “Comparing the effects of two different break strategies on occupational sedentary behavior in a real-world setting: A randomized trial.” Preventive medicine reports vol. 4 423-8. 9 Aug. 2016, doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.08.010

Schleip, Robert, and Werner Klingler. “Active contractile properties of fascia.” Clinical Anatomy (New York, N.Y.) vol. 32,7 (2019): 891-895. doi:10.1002/ca.23391

Shimoyama, Daisuke, et al. “Reliability of shoulder muscle stiffness measurement using strain ultrasound elastography and an acoustic coupler.” Journal of medical ultrasonics (2001) vol. 48,1 (2021): 91-96. doi:10.1007/s10396-020-01056-0

Trube, Niclas, et al. “How muscle stiffness affects human body model behavior.” Biomedical engineering online vol. 20,1 53. 2 Jun. 2021, doi:10.1186/s12938-021-00876-6

Weerapong, Pornratshanee, et al. “The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery, and injury prevention.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 35,3 (2005): 235-56. doi:10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Body Stiffness: EP's Chiropractic Injury Specialists" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
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