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Sick of Constant Stiffness?

BY DR. ARNAN SISSON PT (March 1, 2024)

Today I wanted to answer I common question that my massage therapist and I often get here at Sisson & Associates:

“I don’t have any pain right now, but I am really tight and stiff. I wake up first thing in the morning and just feel it throughout the whole day. It really stops me from doing things as easily as I’d like. Any advice?

I have lots of tips and advice to help with tightness or stiffness, but first I want to clear up ‘why’ we’re stiff in the first place.

Most folks think getting tight is just purely a part of old age, and while there is a little bit of truth to this, tightness isn’t always directly linked to your age.

With age, folks may be less active and this can lead to stiffer joints and muscles. And it's also true that as we get older theirs less fluid to lubricate joint movement, and the cartilage thins. But as always their other factors to consider.

Not getting enough fluids and dehydration can lead to tight stiff muscles. Since muscles are active tissues, they require the most water in the body.

Inactivity- staying in one position for a prolonged period of time can not only cause neck or back pain but it can also cause tissues to stiffen. Often times sleeping, sitting in a chair at work, driving, etc. can cause stiffness.

Stress can be another cause- when we’re stressed our bodies get in a state of “fight or flight,” and this can lead to ridged/tight posture that strains the muscles.

You may ask yourself what can be done about all this. No worries, I have you covered. Here are a few quick and simple ways to reduce stiffness regardless of your age.

  1. Stretch- daily. Stretching can be done for ten minutes when you first wake up and ten minutes before you go to sleep. These gentle stretches before bed can really improve sleep quality too.
  2. Walk- We know about the great benefits of walking for pain, the same is true for stiffness! Next time you're reading a book or on the phone, try getting up and going for a walk.
  3. Take a warm bath- This can be done with baking soda or Epsom salt. The combination of warm water and these ingredients will relax the muscles and calm your mind. It’s the perfect thing to try before bed.
  4. Drink lots of water- 70% of a person’s muscles are water. So, it makes sense you must keep them hydrated by drinking water. A great tip would be to carry a Tervis tumbler of some sort filled with water that you can sip on throughout the day.

It’s sad that a lot of folks accept stiffness in their lives as a norm and nothing can be done about it. But very often pain or stiffness can be taken care of as long as you have the right tools.

There you have it, four simple ways to take care of that stiffness. It should make it so getting back to those daily activities is a little bit easier.

P.S. If you happen to have some aches or pains that have come along with your stiffness, then check out one of our FREE E-books on back, neck, or knee pain. These books are great tools to help avoid pills, painful injections, and even expensive surgeries.

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