Being tense is often regarded as an emotional state but did you know that tension manifests itself physically? Tight shoulders, clenched jaws, and achy low backs are all physical symptoms of what is referred to as neuro-muscular tension.
Neuro-muscular tension is the the product of meeting the demands of our day. Maneuvering traffic is a tense process, dealing with Ron in accounting creates tension, worse yet, being in pain creates tension.
What is the remedy for this very apparent yet very abstract concept of neuro-muscular tension? The answer might surprise you.
The title of this blog would lead you to believe that exercise is the answer. It’s the answer to most questions directed at PT’s. However, the honest answer is it depends.
Exercise is a stressor. Stress in all its forms creates tension. This is necessary in order to meet our demands in life but can result in adverse effects. Exercise, dosed properly can result in the release of endorphins and ignite a de-stress mechanism in our bodies, both physically and emotionally. Not dosed properly, it can add to our stress level and build more tension.
What I would be thinking at this point is, really? Is exercise really that specific? The answer is yes, but you don’t have to worry about it.
Why don’t you have to worry about it?
Because you are a living human being. You have the ability to adapt to stress and go through states of extreme disarray and back to a normal. To some degree you do it every time you put in a big workout and beat up your muscles and cardio system.
The body is strong, resilient, adaptable, and most importantly ever changing. When neuro-muscular tension builds up and needs to be broken there are specific means to get to that end as fast as possible.
Here is how. Flex.
Flexion (referring to your spine) is a calming position for our nervous system. This about the time that you got yelled at as a child and needed to release the tension produced by your angry parent. What position did you assume?
This is why the ability to flex through a full range of motion is vital for managing stress and injury. If you train your body to be able to express full ranges of flexion at the spine, shoulders, neck, and ankles you will down regulate your stress level and create a neurologic environment that is prime for healing. You will also be able to squat like a pro, and that is good for all things.
If you are curious to know if your body is primed for healing check out the free movement assessment we offer on our website homepage humanfunctionandperformance.com.