Sitting at a desk for hours on end can cause excessive stress on structures in our body. Without taking adequate breaks or changing up our posture, these structures often become fatigued. These repetitive stresses often feel like ‘tight muscles’, and the subsequent discomfort draws our attention to the issue of constantly sitting while working from home. A common fix that most people will try is stretching out the tight muscles. While this may give temporary relief of those muscles at the time, the feeling of tightness or tension will often come back.
What do we mean by ‘tight’? Is there an actual restriction of our range of motion due to that tightness or do you still have full range even with your muscles feeling tight? That feeling of tightness does not always mean that the muscle length is inadequate, in fact it is quite common to have this feeling when the muscle length is fine.
So why do we have that feeling of tension or tightness? This feeling is typically to alert us to something and quite often it is excessive workload and fatigue in a muscle. With more people working from home and sitting at a desk for hours on end, a common feeling of tightness often occurs in the trapezius muscle, between the neck and shoulder. With this tightness, however, we often find that full range of neck motion is unaffected but the feeling of stiffness will last throughout. There can be various causes for these symptoms, ranging from a muscle length issue elsewhere, joint stiffness, and/or muscle weakness.
If you’re experiencing the feeling of muscle tightness, have stiff neck and shoulders, and are finding that simply stretching it out isn’t helping, we recommend speaking to a physiotherapist! For those in the Mississauga and Port Credit area, contact us and we will work together to find out what is really causing that persistent tightness and work on an individualized treatment plan!