3 factors that can cause chronic muscle tension and 3 ways PT can address them

July 29, 2022

The human body is a complex machine of muscles that help us to move. When we move, our brain sends signals through our nerves and into our muscles, telling them to either contract or to relax. However, sometimes our muscles stay partly contracted for extended periods of time, even when we aren’t moving. This muscle tension can often be very uncomfortable and is often accompanied by pain. It can also prevent us from using our full range of motion.

If you have been experiencing chronic muscle tension and you aren’t sure why, it is time to turn to a physical therapy specialist for help. Physical therapists are trained to diagnose and treat many of the common and uncommon causes of muscle tension.

What could be the cause of my muscle tension?

There are a number of reasons why you could be experiencing muscle tension. According to physical therapists, here are three common factors that can cause muscle tension and the ways that physical therapy can help:

  1. Sprains and strains — One of the most common causes of tension is a sprain or strain, which can affect the ligaments and muscles of the body. Strains occur when the muscle fibers are stretched or torn. A sprain is when the ligaments that connect a bone or joint together have been damaged.

A physical therapist can treat sprains and strains using manual therapy techniques. Your therapist may use their hands or special instruments to manipulate your soft tissue, including your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This helps not only to relieve pain but also break up the scar tissue that may be causing your muscles to feel stiff, helping them to relax.

  1. Fibromyalgia — Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that has many symptoms, though muscle pain, tension and fatigue are some of the most common ones reported by patients. These physical symptoms are often accompanied by loss of sleep, as well as an increased risk of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Physical therapy can help ease the physical symptoms of fibromyalgia using a number of methods. Manual therapy is one method that can help relieve tension due to fibromyalgia. Another technique is electrical stimulation. This method uses special equipment to deliver small electric shocks to the affected area to increase circulation, relieve pain, and help reduce muscle tension by encouraging the muscles to relax.

  1. Repetitive stress — Repetitive stress injuries are incredibly common among office workers, athletes and those who use tools during their day-to-day work. Overuse of the same muscle group over a long period of time can result in muscle tension, as well as pain and a tingling sensation due to damaged nerves.

Physical therapy is an effective way to treat injuries due to repetitive stress. Your physical therapists can use techniques such as therapeutic exercise to strengthen the joints and soft tissue in the affected area, as well as postural retraining to prevent future injury.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for your chronic muscle tension

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and who can help you address the root cause of your muscle tension and pain. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.