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Everyday Ways to Reduce Muscle Tension

By Brian Acton

Muscle tension is a condition in which muscles stay contracted for an extended period of time. It can occur in any area of the body, but is very common in the neck, shoulders, and back. Over time, muscle tension can cause extreme discomfort. While many factors can contribute to muscle tension, one of the most common culprits is stress. If you’re experiencing muscle tension in your shoulders, neck, or back, there’s a good chance that stress could be a contributing factor. Luckily, there are actions you can take to fight muscle tension resulting from stress. Here are six: 1. Get a Massage You probably can’t manage to get a massage every day. But a periodic massage is a great way to relieve muscle tension. A talented massage therapist can work out tense muscles, giving extra attention to the most affected areas. Massages can also help you feel calm, rejuvenated, and relaxed for some time afterward. 2. Take a Yoga Class (or Just Stretch) Whether you take a yoga class or just do some light stretches in the morning, daily stretching can help relieve existing tension and reduce your vulnerability to tension in the future. And while you should always stretch and warm up before a workout, daily stretching can provide benefits no matter what you have planned for your day. 3. Apply Some Heat Applying heat to tense muscles promotes circulation and blood flow, which can reduce pain and help your muscles relax. There are a few ways you can apply heat to tense muscles. One of the best is hot and cold therapy packs, which can be heated and applied to any part of the body. A hot bath is another great method. 4. Use a Foam Roller If you frequent a gym, you might have seen members rolling out tight or sore muscles with a foam roller. But even if your muscle tension is strictly stress-related, you can use foam rollers to roll out the tight muscles in your back and shoulders. Foam rollers are inexpensive and easy to use, and you can roll out just about anywhere with a little floor space. 5. Practice Good Posture If you’re hunching at your desk, slumping to play with your phone, or even sleeping the wrong way, you could be unwittingly making matters worse. At all times, practicing good posture can help you avoid further contributing to your muscle tension. When you sleep, the right pillow can help you maintain proper posture overnight. 6. Relax Relaxation can help reduce the stress that contributes to your muscle tension. This doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go live on the beach. Instead, find some time to do the things that help you relax. There’s no one right way to relax, and your relaxation methods could include mindfulness techniques and meditation, outdoor activities, reading, or just about anything else that helps lower your stress level. In Closing… Ideally, a medical professional should diagnose the cause of your muscle tension and recommend the appropriate intervention or treatment. But if your muscle tension is caused by stress, some of these techniques can help prevent or relieve that tension. Sources: http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/muscle-tension.shtml http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/signs/muscle-tension https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/muscle-tension https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/
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