18 Jan Why do I stiffen up a few days after treatment?
During an appointment at Performance Sports Therapy we are able to make meaningful changes in how you move and feel. Unfortunately these changes do not always ‘stick’. It isn’t that unusual to get told by people that they felt great for 2 to 3 days and then they stiffened up again. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about because of the reasons why you are feeling tight are not what you might think.
The reason that you feel tight, stiff or sore is not because the muscles the muscles are tight or short, they are in one sense but that’s not the reason, rather it is because your brain is increasing the tone in response to a perceived threat. This may be actual trauma, it may be a weakness or it might be increased activity as other muscles are recruited to help out where the performance of a previously injured muscle is impaired. There will be increased sensitivity that has developed as a result of a previous injury and it is this increased sensitivity that is one of the big “casues” of any pain.
Regardless of the why if your brain perceives that you may be at risk it will respond. This is why you see the surrounding area tighten as in a sprained ankle where the lower leg muscles will tighten to reduce the amount of movement available.
The main aim in our initial sessions is to reduce this perceived threat to reduce the number and volume of the messages being sent to your brain or to decrease the sensitivity. Unfortunately, when this situation has been present for a significant period of time it may take 2 or 3 sessions to really reduce this. It is for this reason that we suggest exercises for you to do in-between visits so as to re-enforce the work done in your appointment and reduce the how much you may regress if you do.
A bit like when you first go to the gym or start a new routine the initial changes are essentially neural. It is for this reason that it is normal that after treatment your brain can resort to its old habit and the feeling of stiffness returns following your first few sessions until the new ways of doing things and the strength has been restored.