We all experience it, stiffness and aching in the back, neck, or extremities from being in one position too long. Perhaps we were standing chopping vegetables at the counter, or standing at the controls of a machine, or sitting at the computer screen writing blog posts. This discomfort is referred to as static strain.
Strain is a term that refers to extreme stress on a muscle (as opposed to sprain, which affects non-contractile connective tissue, such as ligaments). A muscle is usually strained when it is used too much or is put under an extreme load. Static strain occurs when that load is constant and unrelenting throughout the activity. Constant load promotes fatigue, because the blood flow to the muscle and tendon is reduced, the muscle does not get the required oxygen and nutrients, and waste products are not carried away. This process starts after a just a few seconds. The result is aching in the muscle, pain, and fatigue.
Experiencing this once in a while is probably not going to lead to any long term issues, but if there are activities that you do day in and day out that result in static strain, you may develop inflammation and cause irritation to nerves in the area.
So, what can you do about static strain? Well, common sense would say, “Stop doing that and move.” But what if you cannot because it’s part of your job or you really need to get a certain task finished? In some instances, small, frequent changes in position may ease the effects of static strain. For instance, standing in one place may be eased by simply shifting weight side to side. If possible, alternate putting one foot on top of a stool or an open cabinet. If you have the opportunity to take a 30 second stretch break, consider stretching whatever body part is strained in the opposite direction. For instance, if you find your head bent forward with your arms out in front of you a lot, take a 30 second break and roll your shoulders backward (never forward) and bend your head back. This will relax the overloaded muscles and allow ligaments to snap back into place.
- Make small, frequent changes in positioning.
- Take 30 second stretch breaks every 15-30 minutes, or as needed.
- Stay well hydrated.
- Get sufficient, quality sleep, this is when most repair occurs.
If static strain is part of your daily grind, try these tips first. If the situation persists, consider getting in for treatment to control inflammation. Focused nutritional supplementation to control inflammation and promote soft tissue repair should be pursued as an ongoing strategy. Ligaplex II(TM) and Myoplus(TM) from Standard Process are good choices for static strain and repetitive use disorders. We now carry a new product, Chiroflex(TM), which is clinical strength turmeric. Research has shown that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and may be helpful for a number of conditions. Patients taking turmeric have reported decreased joint pain within days of beginning a turmeric regimen. Enzyme based anti-inflammatory supplements, such as Zymex II (TM) from Standard Process are another option. The enzymes contained in these types of supplements break down the proteins that promote excessive inflammation.
As always, our treatment and supplementation programs are designed to help your body heal itself without harmful drugs. If you struggle with static strain, give us a call today so we can help you start feeling better tomorrow!