How does stretching or rolling muscles out help them feel better?


How does stretching or rolling muscles out help them feel better?

In: Biology

It loosens the tightness between the myofascia and the muscles. It should be all slippy and slimy but it can get dry and sticky.

myofascia is the membrane of tissue that surrounds all muscles and organs.

Your central nervous system is telling your muscles to “tighten up” because it thinks they need to be tight to avoid injury or harm. Stretching and rolling out can help with the perception of loosening them up, but really it’s your CNS telling them to relax. That’s why you feel better after moving around and stretching when you’re sore because your CNS is toning down.

Edit: I apologize. Your autonomic nervous system is toning your muscles down.


What I’m understanding from these replies is that after exercise when the muscles are tight, it tricks the Central Nervous System into letting the muscles go.

So far, no one has said anything that is supported by evidence.

We only know that individuals report that they “feel better” but there is no quantitative (measurable) changes. This is also hard to compare to a control group in studies.

Honestly it’s likely only placebo.

But why do they ache in the first place?

You got little guys in your muscles that sense if the muscle is lengthening (stretch) or shortening (contraction) and they work together to make sure the muscle doesn’t go in a position that would hurt it. When stretching, those guys feel the change in length and in return send signals to the nervous system that will tell your muscle to relax. But if you stretch too much, the other guys sense it and make sure your muscle contracts to protect it.

And there’s also a release of hormones following that, and this all contributes to tricking your body into feeling better!

I thought it had something to do with spreading lactic acids through the muscle as lactic acid makes muscles sore so rolling it out dispersed the acid healing in faster recovery time?

Maybe someone can help me with a life long issue: I was born early and got sepsis 3 days after birth. It ruined the growth plate in the right leg. Long story short: the knee and femur were deformed and did not grow in length on its own. So I’ve had years of limb lengthening surgery to correct it.

Issue is, due to still not being long enough, and all the muscle scarring, I can’t bend my leg past 75 degrees. This is such a hassle. I want to know, if rolling these muscles may help. Like, what exactly is the issue with these muscles? They are weak, and seemingly can’t bend. But also when I do sorta force the leg to bend I feel a massive stretch in my quads.

Your muscles that are excited or grouchy from a good work out or from repeated moments of pain are told to calm down by your brain after you put pressure on them, as long as the pressure isn’t so much it isn’t causing big owchies.

Physics Girl has a really good video asking this exact question.
It has better answers than what I’ve seen here IMO.

What I have learned from this is that nobody really knows what’s going on.

Nonetheless the results speak for themselves: doing some sort of stretching / mobilization can make you more flexible.