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  • Writer's pictureDr.Clancy Smart-D'Ettorre

Stiffness, the first sign of an underlying issue?

Stiffness is often associated with neck (1) and low back pain, but recent research into the mechanisms of stiffness tell us the opposite is also true. A feeling of stiffness may be one of the first signs of dysfunction, leaving you at risk of injury. Another study found that feeling stiff didn’t consistently line up with flexibility restrictions. This led the researchers to conclude that feeling stiff is possibly an innate protective measure; as people who feel stiff, will move less and be less likely to injury themselves (2). Unfortunately, even while this feedback loop can be protective short-term, if you are experiencing chronic stiffness it may be affecting your day to day life and leaving you at risk.


If you’re feeling stiff, to be sure that there are no underlying concerns it is recommended to seek professional advice. Here at the Spine & Joint Healthcare group, one of our professionally trained Chiropractors will be able to help you diagnosis exactly what is going on and get you moving again.


(1) Meisingset, I., Woodhouse, A., Stensdotter, A.K. et al. Evidence for a general stiffening motor control pattern in neck pain: a cross sectional study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 16, 56 (2015) doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0517-2


(2) Stanton, T.R., Moseley, G.L., Wong, A.Y.L. et al. Feeling stiffness in the back: a protective perceptual inference in chronic back pain. Sci Rep 7, 9681 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-09429-1


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