Two things happen to muscle tissue: One is they get short and tight, and two is they can remain in contracted state. Shortened muscles are your typical “tight” muscles, which you can stretch to provide lengthening. Contracted muscle on the other hand can be stretched til the cows come home, and they will not de-contract. Muscle spasms are an extreme example of this hyper-contraction. Try to stretch a spasm and all you will do is make it worse, because the muscle will reflexively oppose the lengthening (that’s why they have spasmed to begin with—the incredible Innate Intelligence of the body). Decontraction is best carried out with a technique called post-isometric relaxation (PIR). As the name implies, it involves relaxations (decontraction) after a light contraction. The idea is we need to contract to relax. Watch the video below for a demonstration on this enormously effective relaxation technique:

PIR is so effective, and hyper-contracted muscle so painful, that this technique alone can be the answer for your chronic neck pain–you know the kind: the one that has sent you to a multitude of doctors, chiropractors, therapists and acupuncturists, none providing the complete relief of that painful neck that you’ve just wanted…to…stretch…out, but it never seems to help. That is usually a hyper-contracted muscle and you need PIR.

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