Muscle Tightness Explained: Why do my muscles feel tight?

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This is not medical advice. The content is intended as educational content for health care professionals and students. If you are a patient, seek care of a health care professional.

You ever wonder: Why do my muscles feel tight?
Are they even tight and if so, what is causing…

38 thoughts on “Muscle Tightness Explained: Why do my muscles feel tight?

  1. hi sir i have muscler tightness in my upper stomach and lower esophagus for years due to stress which is not being recovered. it causes pronunciation problem digestion. please help no treatment is working.

  2. I watched this video because I was experiencing tightness in my muscles. It turned out, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Always check with your doctor when uncertain of your symptoms.

  3. It's been around 9 months. I have stiffness on my shoulders and behind my neck . Which exercise should I do ? Got my MRI done and it's okay. Went thru physio also.

  4. I really appreciate your information though I disagree with some of your conclusions. You said doing myofascial manipulations (foam rolling type stuff) was temporal and wouldn't lead to long term changes as opposed to resistance/strength training. Couldn't you apply the same argument for strength training as you did for self myofascial manipulation? If you only strength train once or in a limited capacity the rebalancing and myofascial support you achieve will also be short lived as day to day repetitive movements and associated compensatory myofascial activity will assert their influence on the skeleton again. Manual manipulation is very effective in balancing joints locally and in relation to the entire musculoskeletal system but consistency is key imo. I think it's also important to note that many people don't strength train properly so they are out of alignment in some or many joints and their associated myofascia helps strengthen their body in certain ways but create compensatory and/or over use nociceptive pain issues in other areas.

    At the beginning of the video you addressed possible reasons for muscle tightness. One of the reasons you had on your white board was "shortness". Biologically I have heard arguments (though I haven't seen many studies) that some people genetically have shorter tissues such as the hamstrings as you mentioned. I agree that genetically shortened muscles are not necessarily a reason for that feeling of tightness but wouldn't repetitive entrainments by the agonist/antagonists around the body create a neuromyofascial pattern that loads certain myofascia vs others and puts pressure on local nociceptors that give that sense of tightness? For example, pecs and general anterior flexion shortening from life activity overstretching and straining the traps/rhombs/erectors/levators?

    Last thing is the posture argument. I would say that improved mechanical realignment of a joint and functional movements does make a big difference with efficiency of movement which reduces tightness and upregulated compensations. I do believe that it's very subjective and that some people feel the pain from this variable more than others and I understand the scientific research doesn't unanimously agree.

    This last one is a personal observation but one that I think might have some validity with research and study. I think metabolic biochemical imbalances play a role in myofascial pain. Subjectively I've seen many people with various digestive disorders who correspondingly have higher rates of myofascial pain and tightness. It could be argued that the body is in a constant sympathetic state which increases the likelihood of pain but I believe there's a biochemical change that adversely affects the homeostasis of neuromyofascial functioning. I haven't found studies that discuss this possible myofascial pain issue. Just an idea.

    Thanks for your videos. They're very helpful.

  5. Hello
    I feel pain-tightness after i play tennis in my right side of neck but it is not tight the muscle. The muscle that i feel tight always is my right adductor but i havent pain there but it is tight the muscle. What do you suggest me? Any muscle to strength to release it? Is there any connection between right adductor and right side of neck? The physios who went doesn't help me

  6. Whenever i lift heavy on benchpress or biceps curls, my whole left arm feels tight and hard but not my right arm. And this affects my strength and size of my pecs and arms.
    It's so depressing to still have this problem and i just feel like shit. It's alot harder to build muscles. I have a good posture during training and outside the gym.

    What do i do?

  7. I appreciate how you brought in the psychosocial component to the subjective feeling of "pain". Well done. Pain is very complex and the latest research is looking more closely at the influence of emotion, trauma, and daily stress and lifestyle on patients reports of pain. Thanks Kai 🙂

  8. I’ve recently come to understand my muscles are very weak. I have stretched and massaged for many months with out any effect. I’m shocked at how many physiotherapists completely ignore resistance training. Yes it does exacerbate symptoms initially but that slowly goes away. Really good video 👌🏻

  9. What about when the muscle is not soft but feel more like a dry rope, when you can grind though it and you feel chunky fibers.. is this hard or tight?
    I don't see the link for muscle hardness in the description.

  10. I don't disagree entirely, but thinking through beyond the "science" and just in observation of the world around us – how many of the super buff gym rats are flexible? Many cannot straighten their elbows to full extension or touch their shoulders due to muscle length limitations. The presentation here would have us assume they'd be the most gumby of us all. Thoughts?

  11. Antibiotics no 1 reason for muscles tightness. I began having different muscular pains/sensations after taking antibiotics, A body muscles builder / weight lifter after taking antibiotics also began to suffer terribly and experience serious changes in his muscular strength to the point he had to stop training for period

  12. thanks for this information, but i got some question.
    how can we diagnose muscle stiff/tightness? can we just palpate the muscle?
    if someone get muscle tightness, is it okay give him Shortwave Diathermy to release that tightness? or what modality we can use to release muscle tightness?

    (answer this. please..)

  13. Keep genetics in mind, also.
    And, this pathology of hypertonic muscles:
    "As to a disorder, upper motor neuron lesions which may result from injury, disease, or conditions that involve damage to the central nervous system. The lack of or decrease in upper motor neuron function leads to loss of inhibition with resultant hyperactivity of lower motor neurons."

  14. So I get that strengthening the affected muscle helps with the "feeling" of tightness, but what about in the cases of postural imbalances? You don't necessarily feel tightness. Like if I want to fix anterior pelvic tilt, should I just train everything and expect them to reach a balance? Maybe that's beyond the scope of the video though

  15. Hi, i was recently watching a video by Dr Robert Naivaux who stated something like ATP outside of the mitochondria blocks the healing response. it seems to fit in with your points above about moving and resistance training vs inflammation. |Any thoughts on this premise?

  16. Great content!
    I just graduated from university, and muscle tightness was regularly related to trigger points. This video claims that muscle tightness can't be related to tissue hardness, what are trigger points then? I regularly perform trigger point therapy, with a good outcome and i 'feel' the triggerpoint/ taut bands. What are these 'knots' then? 🙂
    And what about dry needling?

    Thanks in advance!

  17. But doesn't stretching and foam rolling or massaging increase blood flow in the targeted area? Which then should counteract the reduction of bloodflow that, as you mentioned, might have caused the unpleasant feeling. I really hope someone can explain this to me. 🙏

  18. Can you break down adhesions with press and move techniques? For example by pressuring the forearm muscles firmly and moving the hand? Or what would be the best way to do it, if "scraping" and foam rolling does not work

  19. Bad posture itself causes back pain lmao you cant deny that… in order to be pain free you gotta respect biomechanical physics if not it will cause problems such as {herniated discs caused by spine deviations} which in turn can cause problems with the knees on the long run… so what is the culprit cause? POSTURE!!

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