Promoting Muscle Health


Muscles play a major role in movement and are essential to body function. The human muscle system is a single entity and can be regarded as the body’s largest internal organ. Muscle tissue has four principal characteristics: excitability (receive and respond to stimuli), contractility (ability to shorten), extensibility (ability to be stretched), and elasticity (ability to return to normal shape). Skeletal muscles are extremely vulnerable to injury and are a major source of pain and dysfunction. A dysfunctional muscle will contract but will not return to its normal shape following contraction. As muscle remains in a fixed shortened position, blood flow, lymph drainage, and movement are reduced. The small blood vessels that supply food and oxygen to the muscle essentially stop providing these necessities to the muscle, resulting in oxygen starvation and accumulation of waste products that irritate the muscle, which responds by sending pain signals to the brain telling it the muscle needs rest. Unfortunately, the damage to the muscle is often significant enough that relaxation and rest of the muscle is not achievable. As the affected muscle(s) are unable to move normally, it causes and maintains spasms in other nearby muscle(s).

Lacking certain vitamins or minerals necessary for lasting relief has been shown to negatively impact muscle health resulting in chronic pain. Critical nutrients include vitamin B1, B6, and B12, vitamin C, folic acid. Minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium are also critically important.

In addition to lacking vitamins and minerals, intake of other substances also negatively impacts muscle health such as smoking, excessive intake of water, alcohol, antacids, and tannin in tea. Low thyroid, anemia, low blood sugar, and high levels of uric acid may also be culprits, as can tension, anxiety, everyday nervousness, chronic infections, and allergies.

The take home message is this; medications are not likely to be an effective treatment. It took a long while for the muscles to get into this state and will take time and effort to restore them to health.


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