So you’ve pull/strained/sprained/torn a muscle. You took the appropriate steps to allows the afflicted area to heal. The pain has significantly decreased, but you still feel tension or loss of range of motion. Why? Seen below is an example of what happens to muscle fibers when trauma or injury has occurred to the site. There are multiple grades of straining a muscle.
Grade 1: Stretching. While stretching a muscle you notice and increase in length of the muscle or muscle group; why? This is because you are literally causing small tears in the muscle spindles and the surrounding collagen. Once these adhesions are broken up or torn, the muscles ability to lengthen increases.
Grade 2: Mild or Micro-tears. As seen above the muscle is still intact although certain sections of different fibers have torn apart, thus causing pain and inflammation on the site. Micro-tears occur from working out, have you ever felt sore for days, this is what your muscle is going through. At AMP are constantly installing that a healthy nutritious diet and the appropriate amount of recovery to match your workouts is integral to any program. Micro-tears will occur less often and heal faster than those who are spotty about their recovery and nutrition. These tears are more serious than a grade one but not a complete tear of the muscle.
Grade 3: Complete tear of muscle fiber or a ruptured ligament. As seen in example one, this type of strain is serious and impact a great deal of the muscle. These can feel like a broken bone, presenting with an inability to load the affected joint. There may even in fact be swelling and bruising on site. These are serious and need to be looked at by a doctor or medical professional.
In the third example we see the most common of scar tissue build up. In society today, people either travel, commute or sit at a computer for work. It’s inevitable that we will come across over stretched tissue, more than not it occurs in the upper back. Look at your posture right now. Rounded forward over the phone, tablet or screen. With the tissue overstretched it cannot contract organically and thus is shut off from oxygen. This causes cell damage just as any trauma would.
What happens after the tear is amazing. Our bodies are instantly aware of the trauma and begin laying down fibers to fill the gaps, these fibers are dense and layered haphazardly in order to quickly repair the damage. Unfortunately, these fibers need to be trained to align and work with the rest of the fibers so the muscle can restore not only normal range of motion but strength as well. See that yellow area? Unless the fibers align with the rest, they are unable to contract with the rest, they sit there like a small block of concrete doing nothing. When scar tissue is rehabilitated through specific massage techniques the fibers align and contract. CONTRACTION=STRENGTH.
If you’re dealing with such an issue. Get down to AMP in Massapequa Park and come let our Sports and Medical Massage therapist fix you up. Don’t live weak and in pain! Do something about it!