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How Can Stiff and Tight Muscles Result in Back Pain

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Jan 31, 2023

How Can Stiff and Tight Muscles Result in Back Pain

Back pain is a common ailment that affects many people at some point in their lives. While there are many causes of back pain, one of the most common is stiff and tight muscles.

In this article, we will explore how can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain, and what you can do to prevent and alleviate such pain.


Stiff and tight muscles can happen when your muscles are not used or stretched enough. This can be a result of a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, or even overuse. When our muscles become stiff and tight, they can put extra strain on surrounding muscles and joints, and yes off course, even our back. This can lead to pain and discomfort in our back, as well as other areas of the body.


Causes of how can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain

One of the most common causes of stiff and tight muscles is poor posture. When we sit for long periods of time, whether at a desk or in front of a computer; this lack of movement can lead to poor posture. Not to mention, a majority of people sit in a slouched position adding extra unnecessary tension to their back, on top of the stiffness that accumulates from lack of motion.

This combination of limited-motion and improper spine position can certainly lead to back pain and other serious injuries if not addressed.


Another element of how can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain is overuse. This can happen when we engage in activities that require repetitive motions, such as running or lifting weights. Overuse can cause the muscles to become fatigued and tight, which can lead to back pain.

To prevent and alleviate back pain caused by stiff and tight muscles, it is important to have a good warm-up/recovery routine, especially one that involves mobility exercises. This can help to keep the muscles strong and flexible, which can help to reduce the risk of back pain and other injuries.


How Can Stiff and Tight Muscles Result in Back Pain


Core strength and tight muscles

The root cause of many peoples physical problems is weakness in their core muscles. Our core muscles are a group of muscles that form a cylinder around your spine from your pelvis up to your shoulders. They’re responsible for keeping our torso stable during movement and everyday activities so we don’t injure ourselves.


When our core muscles aren’t strong enough to do this, our upper body muscles have to step in and pick up the slack. Unfortunately, they aren’t built for that kind of heavy lifting and will start to ache and get tired easily.

This makes them more prone to getting injured and creates a vicious feedback loop that perpetuates the problem. The weaker our core is, the more our upper body muscles have to compensate and help out. But that means they’re overworked, get tired faster, and become more prone to injury.


Muscle soreness or out of shape

It’s important to distinguish between having tight muscles and just being out of shape. The former is caused by a variety of lifestyle factors; the latter is mainly about not being active enough to build up and maintain a certain baseline level of strength.

The main difference between the two is that tight muscles feel stiff consistently. When you’re out of shape, you might be sore from time to time, but it’s not a chronic problem that keeps you from moving around normally.


How can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain? Tight muscles are usually a lot stiffer than muscles that are just out of shape. You can’t stretch a muscle that’s already this tight. It’s like trying to stretch a rubber band that’s been wound too tight: it doesn’t snap back to its original relaxed length like a relaxed muscle does when you stretch it out.


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Photo by: Luis Vazquez

Some effective methods for preventing and treating back pain include:

  • Yoga: Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your entire muscles. There are many styles of yoga for different fitness levels and preferences.
  • Pilates: Pilates can help to improve posture and strengthen your core muscles, which can help to alleviate back pain. Like yoga, there are beginner and advanced levels per your capabilities.
  • Walking: Walking is a phenomenal low-impact exercise that can help to loosen up stiff muscles and improve blood circulation. This is ideal for everyone but especially for seniors and people who are just starting out in fitness, and need a good baseline to build upon.
  • Mobility Training: Mobility Training is an effective way to keep muscles flexible and reduce the risk of back pain. Regular practice can improve your range of motion, posture, and help to make your muscles and joints more durable.


In addition to regular exercise and stretching, it is also important to be mindful of your posture. Sitting up straight, engaging your core, and maintaining good posture can help to keep your back muscles from becoming tight and stiff.



So, how can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain? We went over how a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, or even overuse of our muscles & joints can lead to stiff and tight muscles.

To prevent and alleviate back pain, it is important to engage in regular exercise and stretching, be mindful of your posture throughout your day, and if necessary, see a doctor or physical therapist if you are experiencing excruciating pain.

With the right approach, you can keep your muscles strong, flexible, and pain-free.

Please share if you found any value in this article, and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter (BELOW) for tons of free evidence-based content.



No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other licensed clinicians.

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