Any muscle that is forced into a shortened position over and over again can lose the ability to fully extend.
For example, let’s say you play a sport that keeps your bicep in motion. Every time you bend your arm, your bicep is shortening, and to straighten your arm your bicep needs to lengthen. The more often you have your arm in a bent position the more LIKELY the phenomenon called muscle memory will kick in. “Muscle memory is not a memory stored in your muscles, of course, but memories stored in your brain that are much like a cache of frequently enacted tasks for your muscles.” according to Lifehacker.com
If you keep your arm in a bent position enough times during the course of your day; working on a computer, or a favorite sports activity that you do often, your memory starts to believe the shorter length is the correct length! It becomes painful to straighten your arm, and because of where your muscle is inserted, it is pulling on your elbow joint and causing pain. The longer you keep your arm bent, the higher your chances are for what is called, Repetitive Strain Injury.
Repetitive strain injury is often the cause of your joint pain and stiffness.
A simple analogy is, if you pull your hair, your scalp is going to hurt. In order to get rid of the pain your scalp is feeling, you don’t need to massage your scalp, you need to let go of your hair!
A more technical explanation is muscles originate on a fixed bone in our body, cross over a joint, and insert onto a moving bone. It is important to understand that all muscles move from the insertion point going toward the origination point. It is because of the placement of the muscles that you can move different parts of your body, but when a muscle is in spasm–(knot) or is shortened as a result of repetitive use– we cannot move the joint it affects without muscle pain and joint stiffness.
Any muscle in your body can shorten. If you are repeating the same motion continually it can result in Repetitive Strain Injury, a common and major cause muscle pain and joint stiffness.
For a deeper understanding, take a look at the graphic of the biceps muscle here. There are thousands of fibers lying next to each other in straight lines. All muscles run in straight, or slightly curved, lines. The biceps originate at the front of your shoulder, cross over the inside of the elbow, and insert onto the forearm. When the biceps contract your forearm moves toward the shoulder.
The muscle at the back of your upper arm, the triceps (see what it looks like), originates at the back of your shoulder, crosses over the point of your elbow, and inserts onto the forearm. When the triceps contract, you straighten your arm.
In order for either of the muscles to fully function, the opposing muscle must completely stretch. If the biceps (A) are contracting, but the triceps (B) are not stretching, you will only move as far as the triceps will allow. Likewise, if the biceps are held in the contracted state by spasms, you will not be able to fully open your arm. In either case, you will lose strength because the muscle fibers are unable to move at their optimum performance level.
The Julstro Method shows you how to locate the muscle or muscles that are shortened by the spasms, how to locate the spasm in the muscle and how to release the spasm (knot), which allows the muscle to lengthen and releases the pressure on the joint, eliminating your muscle pain and joint stiffness.
When a person feels weak, they often think it is necessary to strengthen their muscles , but the truth is they need to release the spasms and stretch the limiting muscles. Exercise and weight training without doing very specific treatments to release the muscle spasms, and stretch the muscles, will only continue the painful cycle.
The Julstro Method has been used to eliminate muscle pain and joint stiffness by endurance athletes to couch potatoes, and you can have the same relief.
See how Julstro Self-Treatment worked for retired electrologist, Bonnie McDermott.
After 10 years of debilitating back and hip pain, and countless daily muscle spasms in my back, hips and legs, I was feeling very discouraged and had little hope of recovery. I hate to admit it, but I was feeling OLD. I tried chiropractic, worked with a homeopath, had physical therapy, worked with a movement educator, took private pilates classes, and even tried traditional yoga, but I wasn’t finding the relief I needed. I had been missing some of my favorite activities…especially golf.
Little did I know that relief was so easily attained until I began working with the techniques Julie Donnelly teaches. Julie taught me how to relieve spasms…almost instantaneously with simple techniques and little equipment. Trigger Point Release is now part of my daily routine and I am feeling amazing, pain free, and ready to start swinging my clubs again. I am finding my body much more flexible and open! Thanks so much Julie…you have given me “hope”.