Releasing and Retraining muscle contracture
Working with ''weak'' or overworked muscles
What is Muscle Contracture release?
First of all, what is muscle contracture? Muscles are made of several sets of bundles of fibers. Muscles do not engage all the fiber bundles at the same time in order to perform. This means you can have a muscle be partially contracted, or fully contracted. Normal body tone is a contraction of all the mucles in your body that comes with being alive. It is a small amount. However, if a muscle is helping another muscles that isn't working as well, or is holding a bone in place after a dislocation, that muscle may be more contracted. If a muscles is contractd more than the normal amount associated with normal muscle tone, and continues to be contracted all the time, even when you are at rest I consider this a contracture. The practical side of this is if your muscles are in a 70% contracture, if you ask them to do work, they only have 30% capacity left to do the work you ask for. This makes them seem weak. The normal common sense approach would be to work them and build up strength, but this often fails, because the muscles is already strong, just not available. Sometimes working them to strengthen them is also counter productive, because overworked muscles simply go into spasm, and then you have less capacity to do the work. A simple test is if you lying down, at rest and you can find muscles that feel like "little steel cables". These muscle are in contracture.
To release these contractures is a difficult thing. They may be protecting an injury, assisting a muscle group that is protecting an injury, involved in stress response, or in a pattern from an injury long ago, or they may be overworked, or a combination of the above reasons. There are several techniques to release the contracture, but this issue is one that often takes several sessions, in addition to client re-education on how muscles are supposed to be working and how to let them rest in between.