Coronavirus Update: We’re still open and here to help you, but spaces are limited. Please call ASAP to book your appointment.
Telehealth Physical Therapy Is Available!
Coronavirus Update: We’re still open and here to help you, but spaces are limited. Please call ASAP to book your appointment.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Muscle Tension

Muscle tension is something we are all very aware of. What does it really mean?

You can tighten a muscle to create stability to accomplish an activity like stepping over a box or the muscle tension can be the body’s reaction to a physical or mental stress, like clenching your jaw. So muscle tension can be both useful and counterproductive. What you
want is to find that balance between effectively using the muscles and overusing them.

First Step Is Awareness
Think, or feel, where you actually carry your tension. Do your shoulders ride up to your ears, or just one, and you notice achiness or tightness or fatigue in the top of the shoulder? Is one bulkier than the other? Or do you notice you don’t have as much movement in one ankle vs. the other because the calf muscle might be in spasm – an extended period of contraction?

Once you can identify where your tension is and what is causing it, then it makes it easier to release it and figure out which muscles you should be using instead. If you need assistance in feeling where you may have tension, try using a foam roller and roll out various parts of your body like your legs or back. The sore areas are usually where you are holding tension.

Move Efficiently

When you overuse a muscle or produce too much effort/tension in a muscle, your movements become stilted and effortful. Most movements require little engagement when all the muscles are used effectively. Think of the buttocks, yes I always go back to that muscle. Try squeezing them and walking. You walk a bit like Frankenstein, right? It is not only difficult to walk, but there is too much “muscling through” it. Instead, push off your toes when the foot is behind you and you easily recruit the gluteals to propel yourself forward.

Your standing alignment with weight on the first and last toe and middle of the heel, pelvis in neutral, lifting the bottom rib off the pelvis, puts your body into harmony so all the muscles are working together. If you don’t feel strain anywhere in your body, in other words you feel nothing, now you are standing and using the muscles efficiently.

Muscles Need To Contract And Relax
Finding that balance between contracting/using a muscle and relaxing it is so important to stopping a spasm from occurring. All muscles have agonists and antagonists. The easiest ones to visualize are the biceps and triceps. You may have seen body builders who have their elbow bent when they are at “rest”. Well the biceps, in front of the arm, are overused and the triceps in the back of the arm are underused. Instructing in stretches to the biceps won’t balance these 2 muscles. Instead you have to work on strengthening the triceps, the antagonist, to release the biceps, the agonist.

What To Do Next
Deep breathing releases the muscles that are being overused to free up your movement. Appropriate standing/walking alignment as stated above also puts your muscles into the most effective position to engage them.

If you are still not 100% or are having aches and pains that you can’t eliminate on your own, seek out a specialized Physical Therapist whose skills of observation will be able to get to the root cause of the problem. Our physical therapist can help relieve your pain, ease muscle tension, teach and guide you through invaluable, tailormade exercises to put you on your road to recovery. We can offer you the tools to help eliminate those aches and pains, and help you with your breathing! So, please, contact us today – you are not alone and we are here to help. Give us a call at 301-493-9257 to see how we can start you on your road to recovery.

To Your Health,

P.S. If you are still not 100%, give us a call at 301-493-9257 to set up a time to discuss the health issues you are having and how we can help you.

A Physical Therapist’s specialty is in observing deviations in your movement patterns to find the root cause of the problem, then effectively treating it with individualized exercises to correct the problem. You will understand what the issue is that is causing the problem and be given effective exercises to do, thereby ensuring that how you move becomes permanent in your muscle memory.

We invite you to ask about our Free Discovery Call and look forward to assisting you with anything you may need. This is for those who are still unsure if Physical Therapy is right for them. We offer a 100% Free 30 minute Discovery Visit to answer all your questions and see if you are the right fit for our clinic. Space is limited. Call us at: 301-493-9257 or email us at

Did you know that Maryland has direct access for Physical Therapy? That means you can see a Physical Therapist without seeing your physician first and getting a prescription. We can evaluate and treat you without a referral. Through the extensive evaluation, if I feel that other issues may be involved that may require you to see your physician, I will refer you back or recommend someone who is
appropriate for you.


We offer online Physical Therapy sessions. These are the same 1 hour sessions as in clinic. You still get the personal touch. Contact us for more information or go to the website: for more information.

I have developed 3 Pilates videos if you are not ready to join a class or can’t find a class that suits your timeframe. These videos you can work on at home and at your own pace. Each exercise is explained thoroughly as to what it is accomplishing and what you should feel. Go to: to read more information and to watch the short clips.

Many clients feel that the work we have done in Physical Therapy was so effective that after discharge they want to continue the Pilates and strengthening work to continue improving their outcomes to prevent recurrences. For more information, go here:
We offer 5 and 10 session individual packages of Pilates/strengthening.

We offer a Year of Wellness package for those who would like to have a monthly checkup of their home program to be sure the exercises are still valid and performed correctly or to address any other issues that may arise.

Interested in continuing the work we did or just want to get stronger or be sure you are still on the correct path towards your goals of a fully functional life, give us a call at 301-493-9257 to discuss how we can help you.

Zoom Pilates/Strengthening group classes: 5 class series for $177 September 22nd – October 20th
Wednesdays 12-1 Register for class here:

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 Wellness Rehabilitation Inc.
10410 Kensington Parkway Suite 11
Kensington, MD  20895                    

Cynthia Weiss

We Help Women To Increase Their Confidence In Achieving Their Goals Of Having An Independent & Mobile Lifestyle Without The Use Of Pain Medications Or Surgery.