Body Stiffness: EP’s Personal Injury Doctors
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Depending on the reason behind body stiffness, there are ways to prevent it.
- 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.
- Maintaining muscle movement maintains blood circulation, which can help reduce stiffness.
- Exercise helps reduce inflammation, increases synovial fluid production, and helps strengthen the muscles.
- 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-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.
Enhance Your Lifestyle
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The information herein on "Body Stiffness: EP's Personal Injury Doctors" 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.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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