There is a multitude of reasons why back muscles tighten and stiffen up. Muscles pull the bones and joints. Overuse and/or injuries can pull the bones, joints, and tendons out of place, thus causing the muscles to stay in a flexed or stretched position, the inability for the muscles to relax and return to their normal position, resulting in symptoms of discomfort, stiffness, and pain. Individuals can have reoccurring bouts of tight muscles, eventually becoming chronic. Chronic muscle tension can pull the spine out of alignment even if there is no specific injury. The Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Wellness Team can relieve tight back muscle tension and restore positioning, mobility, and function.
Table of Contents
Muscles make the body move and greatly impact the skeletal and nervous systems. When a muscle is overstretched or pulled, there is not just injury to the muscles but the potential for injury to the bones and tendons in the area. This, in turn, can pinch nerves and cause problems with the nervous system, especially in pain signal transmissions.
Symptoms will depend on the cause and severity. The most common include:
More serious symptoms may include:
The older a person is, the more likely they will experience back discomfort symptoms. Back issues most likely occur in 30- to 50-year-olds.
Constant pressure on the spine can lead to general back discomfort symptoms. Practicing unhealthy posture can generate this pressure. The muscles and ligaments must work harder to keep the body balanced because the muscles are out of position, and the other muscles can’t perform their job properly. Overworking and overuse lead to tight back muscles, aches, and pain.
Sprains are the tearing or stretching of ligaments. Strains are the tearing or stretching of muscles and tendons. Lifting heavy objects without proper form can easily cause a back sprain or strain. Sprains and strains can also occur after an awkward, sudden, or jerking movement.
A herniated, slipped, or ruptured disc puts pressure on a nerve/s. This can stress the surrounding muscles causing tension to build up.
Tight back muscles can result from the following:
Added weight stresses and pulls the body down. This causes unhealthy posture and muscle tension.
Usually, tight muscles can be relieved with a hot bath or cold therapy. Reoccurring bouts of, or chronically tense back muscles, are signals that something is wrong and should not be ignored. Chiropractic care can release and relax tight back muscles and get them back into a natural state by re-aligning the spine through tissue manipulation, decompression, massage, and adjustments. The various treatment methods will relieve the discomfort, pain, tension, and realign the spinal column, and strengthen the body. When spinal components are put back into their proper place, the surrounding muscles no longer need to provide a counter-balance to the misalignment and begin to relax. Chiropractors can also recommend ways to improve posture and strengthen muscles to incur less wear and tear.
Furlan, Andrea D et al. “Complementary and alternative therapies for back pain II.” Evidence report/technology assessment,194 (2010): 1-764.
Geneen, Louise J et al. “Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of Cochrane Reviews.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 4,4 CD011279. 24 Apr. 2017, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011279.pub3
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Back pain: Symptoms. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/basics/symptoms/con-20020797
Miake-Lye, Isomi M et al. “Massage for Pain: An Evidence Map.” Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) vol. 25,5 (2019): 475-502. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0282
Nahian, Ahmed, et al. “Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment: Facial Muscle Energy, Direct MFR, and BLT Procedure – for TMJ Dysfunction.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 12 September 2022.
Rahman Shiri, Jaro Karppinen, Päivi Leino-Arjas, Svetlana Solovieva, Eira Viikari-Juntura, The Association Between Obesity and Low Back Pain: A Meta-Analysis, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 171, Issue 2, 15 January 2010, Pages 135–154, doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwp356
The information herein on "Tight Back Muscles: EP Wellness and Functional Medicine Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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