To fully understand muscle recovery whether it is work related, induced by training and/or exercise or even from a medical condition, we first need to discuss muscles as compliant and non-compliant.
We will first start with a discussion of compliant muscle. Muscles that are compliant can be shortened, stretched, compressed and twisted without symptoms of soreness or pain. They will exhibit flexibility, strength, good circulation, and the qualities of endurance.
Let’s switch our focus to the qualities of a non-compliant muscle. Non-compliant tissue is tight, stiff and tender. People often refer to this type of sensation as having painful “knots” in their muscles. Their muscles actually feels fibrous instead of long, lean and smooth. Non-compliant muscles exhibit reduced flexibility, weakness, poor blood circulation and they easily fatigue. A non-compliant muscle or group of muscles create barriers which restrict peak performance and blood flow. These, non-compliant muscles are susceptible to injury because they are not functioning properly. In order for the body to perform at optimum levels, muscles must me allowed to expand and contract freely.
The human body contains approximately 690 muscle bellies and tendons. Each muscle has an origin and an insertion. The rule of thumb is the origin is where the muscle attaches to bone and the least amount of movement takes place. Whereas the insertion of a muscle is the opposite end of the muscle that attaches to bone where the most movement takes place. Here is a great website for muscle origins and insertions.
Now that we have some basic understanding of compliant and non-compliant muscles, there are some tough questions to answer:
- Why are some muscles compliant and others are not?
- Why do specific muscle get stiff during weather changes, yet others appear to be unaffected?
- Why do we continually wake up with the same sore, stiff muscle pain in the same place every morning?
- Why does our back hurt in some positions and not others?
- Why do our episodes of muscular pain plague us in the same spot?
- Why does the pain return . . . even after treatment?
The above hypothetical questions all have one common answer. That is… myofascial lesions in the form of barrier trigger points. Myofascia is the tissue that surrounds all muscles. I like to describe it like the substance that holds sausages together. Barrier trigger points are inflexible bands of muscle, usually containing knots. These trigger points (knots) set an artificial ceiling on optimal muscle performance by restricting blood flow to the muscle(s). Muscles need unrestricted blood flow for both high performance and full recovery from muscle activity regardless of the type (athletic, work related or a muscular condition). Simply put, barrier trigger points are usually the primary cause of non-compliant muscles.
Here is where The Stick comes in…
The STICK allows a person to self-administer general as well as segmental therapeutic practices with a great deal of accuracy. By rolling over the muscles with The Stick, muscles become compliant and ready for activity. Due to the bio-mechanical rolling, stretching and compressing of muscle tissue, barrier trigger points become diffused and rehabilitation of non-compliant muscles takes place. Remember that a compliant muscle will perform much better than a non-compliant muscle.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of The Stick as a Recovery Tool.