Persistent Muscle Pain
Muscle pain and tension is one of the most common reasons why people come to see us in the clinic. Sometimes certain muscles are working so hard that they cause severe pain, or are so prone to getting tight that even the slightest bit of physical activity sets them off which affects ability to train and quality of life. We seem to have a lot of people with this problem in the clinic at the moment, and we hope this blog post highlights what might be the problem and how you might go about solving/preventing it once and for all!
It all starts with the core…
If you have been to our clinics then you should be aware of how big a role the core can play in any injury. The core plays such an important role in stability and the transfer of force that no matter where your injury or pain is, the core is going to be involved. In the case of muscle tightness, if the core is not stable your body will make up for that stability somewhere else, something else with tighten up to make up for it!
Your core is made up of so much more than your abdominal muscles. The muscles of the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, deep abdominal and obliques, even your jaw muscles all need to work together to give you true intrinsic core stability. If there is an imbalance among any of these structures your core stability will be compromised. But we are experts at compensating, the body will find a way to get by! Your brain will send signals to the structures (e.g muscles) of the back, or the calves, knees etc to tighten up and make the body feel stable and safe. It is a brilliant mechanism that helps us survive and get through the day, but it is not necessarily efficient.
The diaphragm plays an important role in core stability as well as breathing!
So if you are getting persistent pain or tightness in, for example, your calves, think back. Have you ever injured your jaw? Have you ever suffered from stress or anxiety, or ever had a panic attack? If so your diaphragm might not be working efficiently, and you may have developed a compensatory movement strategy that makes up for that, but is causing you pain elsewhere! To resolve the issue once and for all you need to look at your injury history and find and correct any potential imbalances to restore stability and balance to the body.
Alignment, how is the position of your pelvis and rib-cage affecting your muscle function?
As with core stability, the position of your rib-cage and pelvis can have a big affect on the way muscles function. We see people with very different injuries and areas of pain coming into our clinic who’s underlying issue is the same – a misaligned pelvis and rib-cage. Most of our runners are in the same pattern, which we are currently investigating further, and simply restoring the body to a more balanced position can go a long way to resolving their issues.
As an example, one of the positions we see a lot of people come in with is an anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis is rotated forwards. One of the effects of being in this position is the hamstrings have to lengthen to resist the pull of the pelvis, as they attach into it. This can cause the feeling of having very tight hamstrings, but it is important to realise is that they are not short and DO NOT need to be stretched. They are tight in the same way that an elastic band gets tight when you lengthen it, developing tension to resist the forward pull of the pelvis. Long and tight as apposed to short and tight.
Furthermore, because the hamstrings are in this lengthened position to resist the pull of the pelvis, they are not in an efficient position to do their own job effectively, and as we talked about already the body will find a way around this. Other muscles such as the calves can start to take on some of the load, but as discussed previously, while it helps you get by it is not necessarily efficient. Add physical activity on top of this and it is no wonder they hurt!
The function of your hamstrings can affect muscle tightness elsewhere!
So what can I do?
If you are suffering from persistent muscles pain or tightness, you need to look back at your injury history and find out what imbalances you may have that your tight muscles are compensating for. Seemingly innocuous or minor things can in fact have a big effect on function. Similarly scars, childbirth, surgery etc can all play a role. At ProSport Physiotherapy we can help you unravel your history and the effect that it has had on the way your body works. You should find yourself moving better than ever after a series of treatment! Get in touch through the contact form below!
What others have said about us
"Dave is a top class Physiotherapist who has got me back from numerous injuries always weeks earlier than expected. Dave's hands on treatment approach is one of the best I have ever experienced. Highly recommended"Munster Rugby, Ireland and British and Irish Lions
“I have seen Dave O’Sullivan on several occasions over the last few years and I have always been 100% satisfied by the work he has done and the exercises and advice he has given. In fact, I am often amazed by the way he can work out what is causing what and how to put it right. Usually only 2 or 3 visits are needed, plus exercises done at home. I completed my first marathon 3 years ago, largely due to his expertise – I could hardly walk a week before race-day. I would definitely recommend Pro Sport Physiotherapy (and have done!)”Huddersfield
“Just thought i would drop you a line to let you know how im getting on with the stretches and the core work that you suggested. I have been doing these for around an hour to an hour and a half each day since i saw you, the difference i have found is massive. Its hard to explain how i feel whilst running and cycling now, it just feels like my body is more planted. The cyclo cross is finished now, i done my first fell race today on only six running sessions maybe not the best idea in the world however because of the excersises i have been doing my body felt stronger than it ever has. I have no technique at running downhill and would normally end up with a tight back doing that type of race where as this time no tightness. Thanks for all your help and advice”County Durham
“The first time I saw Dave with chronic back pain I was struggling to walk properly when I went in but I walked out more or less back to normal, and this is a normal result for Dave. The treatments are different to any I’ve experienced but my whole posture, long term injuries and problems continue to improve. Although some of the treatments are not pleasant the pain is well worth it for the results gained. If you need a physio go and see Dave and/or his colleagues.”Huddersfield
“A 140-mile round trip to visit Dave is well worth it as he’s restored my confidence to overcome injury, using techniques you will probably not encounter elsewhere. Dave’s manner is excellent, taking time to explain things simply and being available to clarify concerns. Many exercises prescribed are provided by video link with is far superior to the dodgy photocopied exercise sheets traditionally supplied as they ensure you can review and perform your rehab using good technique. In my opinion the ProSport experience is years ahead of the game as it adopts the advances being made in its field whereas regular Yellow Pages clincs stick to dated methods. A big plus is that Dave is also interested in getting you right.”Lincoln
“I’d been struggling for the best part of a year with what I (and my old physio) thought was a damaged hamstring. I’d heard about Pro Sport and read about their Soft Tissue Release Techniques and thought I’d nothing to lose by trying a new approach. Thank goodness I did….. Darragh Sheehy correctly identified I actually had a partially trapped Sciatic nerve and set about “releasing” it…. That’s another way of saying pain…..but it really is “no pain, no gain”. After one session I left feeling considerably better. I ran at the weekend with a huge grin on my face……I was thinking “I’m back!” A few sessions later and following Darragh’s exercise regime I’d improved again and within a few months had a new 5k PB.”Huddersfield
“Pro Sport Physiotherapy are amazing! I was having trouble with my hip whilst running over a certain distance. Shane worked out within 15 minutes that a tiny set of muscles near scar tissue was preventing my glute and core from firing. I worked on my exercises for a week and returned to my next appointment to find I was cured. A couple of sessions followed to ease my aching muscles now they were working and I am now fully fit to run my first ever half marathon this autumn. I have recommended the company to anyone who will listen. They are professional, knowledgable, fast workers and friendly. 5 star service with a smile :)”Huddersfield
“5 years after breaking my leg and 3 surgeries later, Dave O’Sullivan was recommended to me after I received NHS physio where I was told I was a lost cause! Dave’s work is fantastic, I felt an improvement after the first visit and now feel better than ever. He explains everything, follows up the treatment with easy to follow videos and is a nice guy. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dave!”Flockton, Wakefield
"Pro Sport are professionals who take the greatest pride in their work. Their hands on approach to treatment and rehabilitation has helped me to not only be healthier and a more durable athlete but aided in improving my athletic performance."Leeds Rhinos and England
"Top class physiotherapists who I would highly recommend and indeed have recommended to family and friends!"Huddersfield Giants and England Rugby League