Tendons are bands of connective tissue attaching the joints and muscles which can be found in every part of the body. Some of the tendons most frequently experiencing tightness are those running between and attaching the hip and the knee joint, those on the side of the knee, those in the neck and those in the back. 80 % of this condition is found in the tendons of the shoulders or shoulder blades.
Tightness and stiffness is when the tendons tighten and there is a contraction of the muscles, causing them to stiffen and become inflexible. If the muscles are left in this contracted state for too long without release, they become hardened into knots that are painful to the touch. This condition is commonly found in office workers and also in older people who do not exercise. It is usually caused by repetitive body motions or remaining in the same position or posture for extended periods of time, as well as performing actions or movements incorrectly.
Massage can help to alleviate the symptoms or provide a temporary treatment and help to relax the muscles. For treatment to cure tendon tightness and stiffness and bring about lasting, effective results, the stiffened muscles must undergo stretching along with some real changes and modifications to the patient’s lifestyle and habits. The patient must be willing to cooperate fully with his or her doctor.
Treatment can be carried out by means of an injection of medication into the area of tightness in the muscle in order to relax the muscles in that particular area and help them regain flexibility. Treatment by medication injection can be likened to using the expressway, because as soon as you receive the injection, your symptoms will immediately improve. However, it has to be done in the right way for it to be effective in the long-term—you must change your habits and lifestyle and begin to exercise regularly in order to prevent recurrence of the condition and, if you do, you will definitely see improvement. However if you receive the injections and then go back to the same lifestyle you had before—the symptoms and pain will return and you will not achieve your desired outcome; you will keep going around in circles and will never be truly cured.
Exercise is at the heart of treatment for tendon tightness and stiffness. If you do not want your muscles to tighten or stiffen, then you must help keep them flexible by stretching them gradually with stretching exercises or yoga. Stretching will help your muscles to relax and loosen and remain flexible.
There are many more stretching exercises you can do in addition to these. Take some time to study them and put them to good use by exercising and stretching frequently. The tightness and tension in your tendons will soon subside. Be aware, however, that in the beginning you may experience some pain or inflammation in your muscles, as since the tendons have been tight for so long, it will take time for the muscles and tendons to adapt and adjust. After just a short time, though, this will disappear as your muscles become accustomed to it.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Rangsit University, 2003.