Whether you overdid it at the gym, sat at your desk too long, drove a long distance in the car, have sustained an injury, or are ill, muscle tension can be frustrating and painful. Muscle tension is frequently the result of stress and anxiety which makes millions of people around the globe susceptible.
Relax, Stretch and Breathe Deeply
While this sounds too simple to be true – it is actually the very first thing you should try if you are suffering from muscle tension. This is actually the best thing to do before muscle tension turns to outright pain. If you know that you are susceptible to muscle tension and pain, it is critical that you learn how to relax and incorporate stress-busters in your life. Even if you don’t think you suffer from muscle tension, learning how to relax, stretch and breathe are all healthy preventative measures you can take.
To relax, try some simple yoga moves daily. This will keep your mind focuses, stretch your muscles and help to release tense muscles. Many people find that a few moves at night, before bed and a few in the morning, upon waking, help to reduce tension and keep muscle lose. This is is especially true if you suffer from shoulder, neck or head tension or pain.
Even though we may take it for granted, breathing is essential to health – that is correct breathing. If your breathing is shallow (small and short breaths) you can actually exacerbate anxiety and stress which in turn, makes muscle tension worse.
Although you may not feel like moving when your muscles are tense, being active – especially outdoors in the fresh air is a great way to loosen up. Exercise releases endorphins that help combat pain and being outside is often a good distraction from feeling tense and tight.
One of the best things you can do to avoid muscle tension is to adopt a regular exercise routine. The human body loves routine and routine helps us stay sharp both physically and mentally.
Walking outside is one of the best exercises to help prevent and release muscle tension. Just be sure to start slowly if you have not been exercising for some time and do a few stretches before and after.
When done by an experienced and trained acupuncturist, this procedure is generally safe. What’s good about acupuncture is that chronic low back pain is one of the conditions that research suggests acupuncture may be an effective tool for treating. Acupuncture can provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, improve muscle stiffness and joint mobility and improves the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises.
A lot of studies have shown the power of the ancient practice of yoga, which emphasizes stretching, strength, and flexibility, to relieve back pain and improve back function. People who practice yoga or doing specific back stretches are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications for their back aches as people who managed symptoms on their own.
The aim of physical therapy is to decrease pain, increase function and provide a maintenance program to prevent further back problems. Usually a physical therapy program for back pain has two components: passive physical therapy that is done to the patient to help reduce the patient’s pain to a more manageable level, and active exercises done by the patient himself to rehabilitate the spine. These usually include stretching, strengthening exercises and low-impact aerobic exercise.
It has been found that people who suffer from excessive muscle tension, spasms and pain may be deficient in vitamin D. Regular time in the sunlight is the best source of vitamin D but most people don’t get enough of this all year so a high quality supplement is best. You can also get vitamin D from fish, fortified milk and eggs.
Massage therapy is not a new remedy for tension. Massage of some form or another has been part of nearly every culture on Earth since the beginning of recorded time.
Repetitive movement and strenuous physical activity along with injuries and anxiety cause tension and can cause scar tissue in the soft tissue. As mentioned, poor posture can lead to formation of scar tissue as well.
Both sports and remedial massage techniques manipulate soft tissue including muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin. This manipulation helps ease up tight muscles, reduce pain and increase range of movement.