Muscle tension

What is muscle tension?

The term muscle tension refers to muscle stiffness caused by a continuous contraction of one or more muscles. It is manifested by small nodules or bulges detectable by touch. This tightness can affect any muscle, but tends to develop mainly in the neck, uterus, trapezius, lumbar region and legs. Although it is not considered a real pathology, it can significantly reduce the quality of life of those affected, as it prevents normal daily activities, as well as sports or work.

What are the symptoms of muscle tension?

Muscle tension can present with simple symptoms such as discomfort or pain in the affected area, up to a general stiffness. However, it includes other common symptoms such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness in the case of the cervical area
  • Anxiety in general.

What are the causes?

Muscle stiffness can have several origins. A first cause can be found in a general state of stress which literally manifests itself in the physique. Athletes and sedentary people are, in fact, the most affected. However, this disorder can also originate in:

  • Excessively powerful workouts
  • Prolonged bad postures
  • Whiplash
  • Lack of specific vitamins (potassium and magnesium)
  • Dehydration
  • Poor blood circulation.

Can it be prevented?

To prevent and treat muscular tension, it is first of all useful to eliminate or reduce all sources of stress, and then to act on the psychosomatic origin of the problem.

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Muscle tension treatments

To temporarily relieve pain, it is advisable to apply heat compresses to the affected area to facilitate muscle relaxation. In severe cases, anti-inflammatory drugs can be used. Progressive relaxation techniques and autogenic training, as well as diaphragmatic breathing, are also particularly beneficial.

Which specialist treats it?

The physiotherapist is the specialist who deals with problems caused by muscle stiffness. In addition to the palliative therapies mentioned above, he or she may help the patient with massage therapy sessions and isotonic exercises aimed at loosening the contractures.