Muscles enable us to move. You wouldn’t blink an eye, smile or chew without muscles. Healthy muscles are strong. Strong muscles keep us active and able to accomplish life’s tasks.
When muscles are in trouble long-term, joint problems will develop. There are many signs that muscles are in trouble. You may notice pain, especially when there is a spasm, but, pain is not always present in the early stages of muscle dysfunction
Look for these signs:
- Your muscles fatigue sooner than they used to
- You experience stiffness in movement
- You slump more than you used to. Your posture is poor.
- Your overall energy is lower than it used to me
- You are losing strength
- You are losing range of motion
- Activities like long distance driving, airplane travel, and prolonged sitting are likely to cause pain
- Activities like gardening, housecleaning, or holding a child are likely to cause pain or stiffness.
When it comes to maintaining the health of the body, awareness and early treatment are always the rule. The best time to see a medical or orthopedic massage therapist is when discomfort first shows up. That’s when the window is open wide for a quick turn-around. Early treatment means restoring your body to good function before you face a major challenge.
Too many of us don’t have good body awareness. We miss the early signs of pain and we dismiss dysfunction until it hits us in the face. You will always know when a muscle is seriously injured. You likely will not notice when a muscle undergoes constant physical stress and strain from things like repetitive motion, poor posture, overweight, and compression forces.
This is what fools many people. When a muscle is working under adverse conditions, pain tends to show up late, not early, By the time pain appears you may have a serious problem.
How can you improve your body awareness so that you do not miss the early signs of muscle dysfunction? You don’t need to go any further than your cell phone. Just look-up tips and guides for good posture. Body awareness and good body mechanics go hand-in-hand.
And practice the 80/20 rule. Never give more than 80% of your attention to people, things, tasks, events in your world. Reserve 20% of your attention on yourself. How am I sitting? How is my breathing? How do my shoulders feel?
It’s a good idea to let a physical therapist or orthopedic massage therapist evaluate your body mechanics. Once evaluated, they can help you fix problems. I hate to say this, but too many times I have seen fitness coaches allow poor body mechanics. Yes, that p——me off!
Because you live with your body every day, you may not notice poor alignment of body parts, lack of coordination in movement, weakness in some muscles, stiffness of joints, loss of range of motion, stiffness in fascia. Make sure your body therapist provides movement education and correction along with manual therapy.