Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tightening Muscles

Doggie Massage

First of all, I apologize for the long delay in making a post.  I blame it partly on my own laziness (hey, I did hear about that two-year slump where bloggers tend to get blogging fatigue) and the fact that I made my plate a bit full with other things and interests.  Hopefully, I can try to be more frequent in the posts in the future.

These past few weeks have been rife with various musculoskeletal problems that lead to issues with my shoulders, lower back and, in some cases, my knee.  At first, I wasn’t entirely sure if it was just tight muscles or signs of an injury, so I even opted to take a week off from Kendo and Iaido practices to give my body some rest and see how it would react when I’m not putting in the stresses that I usually do when practices get rigorous.

The results for the first couple of days really wasn’t all that much different than when I started the hiatus.  My shoulders were still feeling tight and I could feel some knotting in my lower back.  Various stretches and a heating pad seemed to help temporarily, but the tightness would just come back after a few hours.  After a bit, I decided to make a visit to the massage therapist one Saturday morning.  At that point, the issue at hand became more clear.

As she was giving me the massage, she was asking me whether or not I was feeling any tenderness in my muscles and remarking on how my neck, arms, back and shoulder muscles were pretty tight.  Due to the limited time of one hour, she wasn’t able to get everything, but I did notice big improvements to how I was able to move around.  My muscles felt looser and my shoulders didn’t hurt when I moved them in certain directions.  In the end, I just decided to return to practice the following week.  I probably could have used a few more days, but practices haven’t been to bad as of late.

I did do a little research on the subject to see if I could get a little information about causes, treatment and prevention of any muscle problems.  Pretty much, there are various reasons why muscles tend to tighten up, whether it be through poor stretching, poor posture or automatic protection from micro tears of the muscles from exercise.  This can cause the muscles to not get everything that they need to repair themselves if they aren’t treated which can cause further issues.  Along with the discomfort throughout the body that can come from muscles operating differently, there can be a higher susceptibility to tearing because flexibility would be lost. [1] [2]

The most important thing is that I was able to catch this issue early enough to fix most of the problems that have been ailing me for the past few weeks.  I was only gone for a week, instead of letting the problems fester and end up being out for a much longer time, similar to what happened to me last year when I was having problems with my back.  Another mantra that I keep telling myself throughout all of this is that I won’t stay young forever.  I’ve been able to run around and rely on my youth to push my body to lengths I haven’t experienced before and get a quick recovery.  However, a time will come where that just won’t be possible, and it will be even more important to make sure that I know how to adapt to the situation.

  1. “Tight Muscles of the Upper Back and Neck”. Sports Injury Clinic. 2011. March 3, 2011.
  2. “Tight Hamstrings”. Sports Injury Clinic. 2011. March 3, 2011.


Chris said...

Hey good to see you're back! Definitely take care of yourself, don't push too hard and know your limits. Our Sensei talks about finding the edge of your limits each practice and pushing a little further past them, but if you have an injury be sure to take care of that first.

I've been dealing with a sore leg, due to snapping my left foot up more quickly these days, so I've had to take it easy with my fumikomi (start from closer in, etc) until I can get used to it and be able to lengthen it back out to where I was before.

Christopher George said...

Thanks for the well wishes!

What's funny is that, despite knowing when we possibly need to stop, we still have to be reminded of it, whether it be through someone else's words or from some more severe damage. Sometimes, the drive to continue on and not disappoint anyone overtakes the notion of common sense.

Jarret said...

Your hamstring is another muscle that has a tendency to become tight and without proper management could lead to a strain or muscle tear. Many people may even mistake a muscle strain for muscle tightness and in which case, find it hard to recover because it is not treated how it should be. Is your Hamstring tight? Get it checked, you dont wan't to run the risk of a reoccurring injury.

Christopher George said...

That is a good point that I need to consider. I have been visiting the chiropractor and getting massages regularly which seems to do the trick. I would think that, if it was actually a muscle strain that it wouldn't really heal, but since I'm no physical therapist, I can only go on gut feeling on that.

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