Muscles are important parts of the body that help support the spine and provide strength and movement to every aspect, inside and out, of the regular functioning of everybody. There are about 700 muscles spread out across the human body. Many muscles are attached to the skeletal bones, and each skeletal muscle contains tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and skeletal muscle tissue. These skeletal muscles are part of what holds the body together and gives it the ability to put thoughts into movement. Muscles are also an important presence in the digestive organs and the heart. Humans are unable to function without constant motion, whether that motion is voluntary, like walking, or involuntary, like the beating of the heart.1
Types of Muscles
A muscle is a soft tissue made up of filaments of protein that slide and move past each other. They contract and change the shape and length of the cell. Muscles provide the physical force and motion behind every action. They can move food through the body, pump blood through the heart, and they are responsible for movement and posture. The three types of muscles are known as the cardiac, smooth, and skeletal muscles. As previously mentioned, their movements are voluntary or involuntary, depending on their function, with cardiac and smooth muscles being the types that move without thought.
There is meaning behind the name itself, as the word “muscles” is derived from the “musculus”, a Latin term which means “little mouse”. Muscles are derived from such a word because of the movements that they make under the skin, visibly contracting and shifting like a small rodent might.
The cardiac muscle is only in the heart. Smooth muscles are in the category of those muscles which line organs, such as in the case of the digestive tract. Skeletal muscles, which are the voluntary variety, are connected to the bones by tendons.
Skeletal Muscles of Adult Men vs Women
The total percentage body mass of females, or adult women, is made up of skeletal muscle by 36%. On the other hand, males, or adult men, are made up of 42% skeletal muscle in body mass.
Categories of Skeletal Muscles
The voluntary muscles, skeletal muscles, may be further categorized, in that the definition consists of two varieties: fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch are capable of contracting quickly and also powerfully, but fast twitch muscles develop the onset of fatigue very rapidly. They are anaerobic and are used for strength and mass. Slow twitch muscles have more oxygen and are useful for aerobic activity. Carbohydrates and fats are their fuel, and they are built to contract for longer lengths of time but with a much lesser force for optimal endurance. There are about 650 muscles which are specifically categorized as skeletal in the body.
Exercise is very important to all types of muscles; it can be used to increase size, strength, and efficiency. This strengthening is beneficial in every area of the body, allowing the patient to increase their endurance for voluntary physical activities and optimizing the involuntary actions like the strength of the heart.2
Chiropractic, Massage, and Muscles
Sometimes muscles experience dysfunction. People can have the pain and inflammation from an injury, pulled muscles, sore muscles, or muscle spasm. Injury is not always avoidable, especially in the case of accidents. Nonetheless, there are ways of promoting more efficient healing and decreasing the likelihood of avoidable injury recurrence. There are cases where the usual treatments at home, such as rest, ice, elevation, compression, NSAIDs like naproxen, and other over-the-counter options, are not effective in easing the patient’s pain from injury. It is at that point that a patient may need to consult a specialist in the field of noninvasive complementary and alternative medicine, such as a chiropractor or massage therapist.
Chiropractors will palpate the affected area for tightness. Spasms happen when muscles fight each other, such as when a tense muscle pulls at a weak one. The weaker muscle must be strengthened to help counteract this, but the tighter one must also be stretched. Stretching and exercising go together in treating muscular pain. Sometimes a chiropractor will work with a massage therapist to help patients alleviate pain. Massage is often found to be very helpful in allowing the patient to achieve relaxation while also manually releasing tension in the body. Chiropractors commonly work with massage therapists and they either share patients or the massage therapist works in the same office.3
In addition to the usual recommended exercises, regular stretching, and massage, chiropractors may also recommend relaxation techniques. It is not uncommon for patients to forget to just relax for a few moments and release whatever tension was unintentionally putting stress on the muscles.
Other remedies that might be offered at a chiropractic office, for muscle pain relief, include chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, soft tissue therapy, muscular release therapy, ultrasound, interferential current (IFC), trigger point therapy, custom orthotics, and even suggestions on nutrition, including supplements.4
Learn more about treating muscle spasms.