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Chronic muscle tightness

Do you struggle with stretching? Do you have chronic muscle tightness in your legs that will not loosen or become more flexible no matter how much you stretch? Do you find stretching abnormally painful and uncomfortable? 

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, then you may have a difficult to resolve form of chronic muscle tightness. Both from personal experience and as a hands-on osteopathic physician, I have observed that some muscles behave differently. 

These muscles are stuck in a state of chronic muscle tightness and pain. They are reflexively unable to relax and behave differently when they are stretched. It is during stretching that these muscles become easier to identify. 

I have come to call these muscles “reflexive chronic muscle tightness or spasticity.” We’re going to describe how these muscles are different than normal muscles and in the end, we’re going to talk about a solution. So make sure you read to the end if you are looking for relief or are wanting to improve your athletic performance

Characteristics of reflexive chronic muscle tightness

So how can you tell if you have this form of chronic muscle tightness? Below are some characteristics so you can determine if you might have this issue. Before we begin, we’re assuming that you don’t have any injuries or nerve damage that causes your muscle spasticity. If you can’t get more flexible and your muscles are still tight no matter how much you stretch, then see if this sounds like it could apply to you:

You have always had reflexive chronic muscle tightness 

We’re talking about a muscle that likely has never, ever in its existence been able to properly relax. 

I can recall as a five-year-old child not liking stretching. A swim coach getting frustrated with me because of how inflexible I was trying to force me to touch my toes. The result was crying. The point is that I had this problem for as long as I can remember. As I grew up, it got worse. Calling it “muscles stiffness in my legs” was a huge understatement. Eventually, I had to deal with low back pain and tightness that I couldn’t ever fully get rid of. 

My patients have also described having had their muscle tension most of their lives. The importance of this is that many people have never known any difference. They have never experienced the feeling of a relaxed muscle so they may not know there is a problem. 

The chronically tight muscle feels like a rock during stretching

Try this if you have chronically tight hamstrings: Place a hand on the back of your thighs and bend forward. When you get to the end of your stretch, does the muscle you’re stretching feel hard? The more severe the problem is for you, the harder the muscle will feel at the end of your stretch. Also, the end of the stretch will be more abrupt, like hitting a wall. 

In most cases, not every muscle in the body is like this. Try stretching a different muscle that isn’t like this and you may notice that it feels soft throughout the stretch. Also, getting to the end of the stretch is not as abrupt. 

Reflexively chronically tight muscles are painful to stretch

Normal muscles may have some pain but not to the same extent. I have always hated stretching my hamstrings and hips. I didn’t mind stretching other muscles, but hamstring stretches were uncomfortably painful. At that time, I would have preferred running for miles than trying to stretch my hamstrings. 

I grew to despise and avoid stretching my hamstrings because I hated the painful pull. The pull was not even at my hamstrings, it was in the back of my knee and into my calf more. What I believe now was happening was that the sciatic nerve was somehow being overstretched too by the unrelenting chronic contraction in my hamstring during stretching. 

Stretching does not affect reflexive chronic muscle tightness

Have you ever said, “No matter how much I stretch, my muscles are always tight,” or “No matter how much I stretch, I’m not flexible.” Maybe you have tried stretching consistently and regularly. Only to find that you made no progress or at best minimal progress. Then if you missed stretching for a day or two, your minimal progress was lost. 

That was my experience. There have been periods in my life when I decided I was going to be consistent. Stretching left my hamstrings achy and sore. Most of the time I made little to no progress. If I missed a day, my progress would revert. Then I would give up because of how difficult it had been just to get to that point. In the end, I still had chronic, tight muscles in my legs and I concluded that stretching does not work.  

Neither hydration, electrolytes, or manual pressure will relax the muscle

Some like to think that muscle spasms will simply go away with hydration or potassium, magnesium, or whatever electrolyte. People drink sports drinks, eat bananas, and take supplements. This may help when one’s body is depleted, but this is not for the type of muscle spasm we’re talking about here. Reflexively chronically tight muscles do not relax in any way with these. You will not gain more flexibility taking these. 

Also, massages and most bodywork will not work. I am a hands-on osteopathic physician. During my life, I have tried massage therapy, many different forms of stretching (spray and stretch, muscle energy, contract/relax, and more), muscle release techniques such as active muscle release, osteopathic treatments, primal reflex release techniques, and other forms of bodywork. I have been treated by some of the best people in the country and from around the world. Nothing ever worked, until I stumbled across something that did. Make sure you keep reading to find out what it is.  

I also learned working on patients that any changes I could get with hands-on osteopathic treatments, were mostly to get them back to a baseline. They may not have had pain after the treatment, but the tightness and tension were still there. 

How to loosen tight muscles in legs when they won’t respond to conventional methods

So if you have muscle tightness in your legs that don’t respond to all the things that are supposed to help, then what is the answer? Getting rid of this unrelenting muscle stiffness in the legs can help your hips and low back feel better. I have stumbled across one thing that I have found works in this case. The surprising thing to me was that it is a form of stretching that I was very skeptical about. 

It’s similar to other kinds of stretching, yet the differences seemed to be what made the difference. It’s called Hyperbolic Stretching. Hyperbolic Stretching engages certain reflexes during stretching that allow your muscles to relax. 

If you want to know how to release tight muscles when traditional stretching fails, then you need to try it. What surprised me about Hyperbolic Stretching was that I started to have permanent, immediate results. 

After the first or second time doing Hyperbolic Stretching, my muscles stopped feeling so “hard” during the stretch and became less painful to stretch. I was not visibly more flexible, but I could stretch further without feeling like I was “hitting a wall.” 

With my muscles relaxing, I felt a constant tension in my legs and low back go away. This was a tension that I had always know before. The relief was new and amazing. The nice thing was too that with this muscle stiffness treatment, my muscles never reverted to their previous state. 

Even after not doing Hyperbolic Stretching for nearly a year at one point, the changes I had achieved with my leg muscles were still there. I was able to pick up where I left off and make progress from there. Using it on my patients helped me get even better results than I was getting before. 

So if you suffer from reflex chronic muscle tightness in your legs that doesn’t respond to stretching, I recommend trying Hyperbolic Stretching. It took me nearly 40 years to find it, but it got results when nothing else did. 

Grab your copy of Hyperbolic Stretching Here

Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Author Daniel Lopez, D.O.

Daniel Lopez, D.O. grew up with a lot of pain trying many things that did not help. Realizing that if he could not help himself, he would be unable to help others effectively, he dedicated himself to finding real answers. Since that time, Dr. Lopez has found a unique but powerful style where he has patients from around the country and the world that travel to see him for headaches, TMJ issues, eye issues, neck pain, back pain, and more. Daniel Lopez, D.O. is an osteopathic physician with Osteopathic Integrative Medicine. Prior to that he had a private practice in NYC for 6 years. He is the author of the Amazon best seller "Unwinding the Body and Decoding the Messages of Pain: An In-Depth Look into the World of Osteopathic Physicians and How They 'Magically' Use Their Hands for Healing." He lives in Aurora, CO with his wife and daughters.

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