Muscle contracture: how to heal it?
Muscle pain that appears when you are in front of the computer or even at rest can be a sign of muscle contraction. What are your causes? How to treat it? The explanations of Raphaële Pouret, osteopath.
As the name suggests, muscle contraction translates to "a muscle that contracts to limit the joints in their movements in order to protect an underlying problem. In general, a joint problem, such as stiff neck, low back pain, but also an infection like appendicitis, for example in the case of "abdominal defense"
What are the symptoms of muscle contraction?
"Muscle contracture produces muscle that is hard to touch, painful," said the osteopath. These symptoms cause limitation of movement. Muscle contracture can be mistaken for cramping, but you should know that the latter is very short-lived, while muscle contracture lasts for several days.
Why do we have contracture?
The appearance of muscle contracture can have different causes. "The culprits are stress, poor lifestyle, fatigue, too sedentary lifestyle, bad posture and sports, especially when it is not warming up enough, it overloads the muscles and you do not hydrate enough", list the osteopath. Contracture can occur at any age, even if, over the years, the muscle becomes more tired as it ages.
What to do in case of muscle contraction?
"The first reflex you should have is to apply heat to the contracture to relax the muscle and have good vascularity," advises Raphaële Pouret.
Then stretch as much as possible and without forcing. The stretch differs depending on the location of the contracture.
In case of neck contracture (torticollis): "Gently roll your head to the left, then to the right, and then forward and backward, several times in a row. You can also bring your shoulders back and then forward. And work in breathing, lengthening it to open the diaphragm, "advises the osteopath.
In case of contracture in the arm: "If the contracture is in the forearm, extend the arm in front of you and pull the fingers back, stretch the arm back to stretch the biceps, and forward to stretch the posterior broad muscle "says the osteopath.
In case of contracture of the gluteal muscles: "Lie on your back, bend your legs 90 °, bend the leg on the side of the contracture on the other leg, put your hands between the two legs and pull gently. This stretches the piriformis muscle that , when contracted, can cause sciatica."
In case of contracture in the thigh: what often happens to soccer players at the level of the adductors, "lying on the ground, stretching the leg to one side to stretch the internal part," recommends the osteopath.
"Muscle contracture requires not to force, but to keep moving so as not to" soften "the muscles, advises the osteopath. It can be treated in one or three osteopathic sessions of 45 minutes to 1 hour."