If you suffer from frequent muscle contractures, you are tired of them and would probably like to get rid of them for good, or at least for a long time. We will see how the osteopathic approach can help you.
We will be talking about muscular contractures not generated by a recent physical activity. We will talk about those contractures that appear without knowing why, until now.
Many patients come to my osteopathic practice because they suffer from certain muscular contractures for long periods of time, having not found effective solutions in previous treatments.
¿Qué tienes que saber de las contracturas musculares?
The first thing I explain to my patients is that muscles are not intelligent structures; they only carry out orders. Just as you hear it, they obey the nervous system, which regulates their activity.
When the nervous system sends the order to a muscle to contract, it will contract, and when it is ordered to relax it will also relax.
“A muscle is not intelligent, a contracture is”.
“A contracture is the body’s response to compensate for various problems”.
Why do muscle contractions appear and remain?
When a muscular contracture appears, and is maintained over time, it is due to several reasons:
- it tries to protect a structure (organs, nerves, vessels, intervertebral discs, etc.).
- it compensates for a postural alteration.
- it avoids movements in an area where moving or moving too much could be detrimental.
Some examples: if someone has an intervertebral disc injury with a lot of pain and finds relief by leaning their trunk to the right, they will probably maintain that position. In order to do so, they need to keep certain muscles contracted and after a while they will start to ache. If someone tries to relieve the pain of these over-activated muscles by doing a local treatment, he will only get a momentary relief. When they start moving again, these muscles will be activated again to maintain the position that protects them from the pain caused by the damaged discs.
Another example: if someone has an unstable shoulder, their muscles will maintain an almost permanent contraction during movement in an attempt to protect that joint from excessive movement and further damage. If someone is trying to relieve the discomfort caused by this sustained muscle contraction, they will only succeed until the patient moves again. At that point their nervous system will tell those muscles to contract again to protect that joint. And the muscles will obviously do so.
Knowing that muscle contracture is the body’s response to compensate for a problem, it is easy to realise that if the treatment approach is only to treat that contracture, the problem will not be solved, and that the muscle contracture will quickly return.
By doing so, you will only feel temporary relief until the nervous system realises that the muscle or muscle group is not performing its assigned task and sends the order again to contract to meet its target.
What is the solution?
From an osteopathic point of view, the objective is always to look for and treat the cause of the symptoms. This is the only way to resolve the presence of a symptom without it recurring again and again.
From the initial assessment we can determine what the problem is that generates the symptoms for which each patient consults, and thus propose the appropriate treatment to resolve it.
As I always explain, treating a symptom without addressing its cause is like having a hole in a boat and taking care of getting the water out instead of fixing the hole….
“The solution is always to solve the cause”.