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How can I Relieve Muscle Tension?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Muscle tension is a common problem for people all over the world, and many people find themselves seeking out ways to relieve it in the long and short term. A number of things can lead to tension, including physically demanding jobs, poor posture, stress, repetitive motion, and the use of poor body mechanics. While there are several techniques that can offer some relief, it is also important to correct the situation or behavior that leads to the problem.

One of the best ways to relieve muscle tension is massage. Massage therapy involves manipulating the body, working with the muscles and other soft tissue to improve mobility and health. A massage can work out areas where the muscle is contracted, sore, or not being used to its best ability. Techniques such as acupressure or acupuncture can also free up areas of tension and soreness in the body. To be effective, massage treatment should be undertaken at least once a month.

For advanced adjustments, a chiropractor may be preferred to a massage therapist. A chiropractor can adjust the alignment of the body and help to identify behaviors that are leading to increased tension. He or she can also teach patients how to protect their backs and other sensitive areas while living their daily lives. In addition, many health insurance plans cover chiropractic visits but not massage therapy.

Taking a spa or hot bath can also help to relieve muscle tension. The heat helps the muscles to unwind and relax, and in a bath you can add bath salts with essential oils that will target areas of stress and soreness. Individuals with persistent muscle pain may want to use a jacuzzi or hot tub several days a week, or to use hot packs on areas of tension. Do not use heat therapy without consulting a medical professional, as it may be contraindicated for some conditions.

One of the most important thing you can do to relieve muscle tension is to change your behavior. If you are in a high stress environment, research ways to relieve or reduce the stress, and communicate your needs clearly to people sharing that environment. You may also want to consider psychological counseling to help you reduce your stress levels. You should also set up an ergonomic workspace and use your body correctly.

An ergonomic workspace includes support for your body, such as a neck pillow or elevating cushion. Make sure to stretch your body and move around frequently, especially if you work at a desk or use the phone a lot. Consider measures to change your work environment, such as using a headset instead of cradling the phone with your neck, sit in a specially designed chair, and rework the way your desk is laid out. Learn to use proper body mechanics with the assistance of a physical therapist, who can show you how to work, move, and lift in efficient ways.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon170446 — On Apr 26, 2011

There are many natural pain relief products that help with muscle tension. I use Rejoice Essentials, Muscle Tension Relief and found that it takes care of my pain for longer than even an advil or aleve.

I had foot surgery and need to massage my feet and I use it. it works well on that and because I am so out of shape my knees like to hurt and I stop them dead in their tracks. I also love it because its base is shea butter which is my favorite! Hope this helps.

By anon147310 — On Jan 28, 2011

Very insightful article.

By Sunny27 — On Sep 01, 2010

Cupcake15-Cupcake15- I think that a great resource for those with chronic neck or back pain is the Relax the Back store.

This store sells ergonomic products that were specifically designed to relieve pressure points in the neck and back.

They offer a wide variety of products and are most known for the Tempur- Pedic mattress and anti gravity chairs. They also sell memory foam pillows and neck roll pillows that are designed to ease the pressure off the neck and align the spine correctly.

These pillows are expensive and start at $100, but if you suffer from neck pain and can’t get a good night’s sleep, these pillows are important to your health and well being.

By cupcake15 — On Sep 01, 2010

Mutsy-I agree with you. I have a Kingsdown mattress myself and it is so comfortable that it makes it difficult to get out of bed.

I have the Indulgence pillow top model and it is fabulous. It also gives relief for neck pain too.

It really relieves neck pain because your neck is not strained when you lay down. I think learning how to relieve muscle tension is important when you can’t lie down because muscle tension relief is important to the overall quality of life.

I also use muscle rub and try to massage my neck muscles. Usually the neck muscle pain is a result of some stress or tension build up.

I also try to move my head side to side in order to stretch the neck muscles. I move my head forward and back. While neck pain pinched nerves are uncomfortable, a combination of these tactics really is the best neck pain remedy to ease the pain.

By mutsy — On Sep 01, 2010

Upper back muscle pain is really uncomfortable. It usually comes when I pull a muscle, but no matter how much I flex my back by moving my shoulders forward and back, I still feel the pain.

I normally lie down and wait until the pain subsides. I think back muscle tension whether it be the upper or lower back has to be the most uncomfortable pain.

For tension relief in the lower back, I usually use a heating pad and place it on my lower back. Also, a small amount of muscle rub does the same thing.

It applies heat to the area and begins to relieve the pain. Lower back pain can also be relieved with pain relief medication like Tylenol.

Sometimes even a change of mattress might help with the pain. A coiled mattress offers support to the body and provides the proper alignment that helps to take the pressure off the lower back.

This reduces or may even eliminate the pain over time and allow you to get a more restful sleep. For soft mattresses, Kingsdown is among the best. For firm mattresses Simmons is best, while for memory foam, Tempur-Pedic is excellent.

These mattresses might appear pricy but they usually offer a twenty year warranty that really speaks to the quality of the mattress.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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