Muscle tension can be something that can make you feel really far from your best, and can also leave you with other symptoms like bad headaches, nausea and trouble sleeping. While it can be caused by all kinds of different factors in your life, the biggest causes for most people are a combination of postural issues, a lack of sufficient exercise for the muscles in question, and stress.
If you experience muscle tension and pain related to this, then here are some tips that may help you to alleviate it when it strikes, and to avoid muscle tension in the future where possible:
Release Trigger Points with Pressure
Ordinary muscle tension can be annoying, but if you also get areas of severe tension, often called myofascial trigger points, which feel like hard knots in your muscles, you can experience acute pain. This can also end up making other parts of the body hurt in what is called ‘referred pain’. A good example is that trigger points that form in your calf muscles can cause pain in the lower back, including sciatic pain. Scientists aren’t yet sure what causes these points of tension in muscles, but it does seem that the way to release them and get the knotted part of the muscle to relax again, relieving the pain, is to apply pressure.
Massaging the trigger point with a focused deep massage is the answer then, and there are a few ways you can do this at home. Some people swear by foam rolling, or using something hard like a tennis ball to roll against the affected muscle against the wall or floor – depending where in your body the trigger points are. It can take five minutes of continued pressure to release a trigger point, so take your time when treating yourself in this way. You may also want to consider investing in a massage chair which can work on your back if this is where you get the majority of your tension issues. Check out this site for a list of the most popular massage chairs that you might want to consider.
Move and Stretch More
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a lot of muscle issues, where some muscles are underused and others become shortened and tighter from sitting down all the time. Your position when you are working or using your computer may also have an impact, and it is very common for office workers to experience tension for all of these reasons. Getting up and doing some light exercise a few times throughout the day can loosen you up, but you may also want to consider adding some muscle focused exercise and stretching to your lifestyle, to help prevent muscle tension.
Improve Your Posture
Postural defects mean that some muscles become too tight and overused to compensate for weaker muscles, and this causes pain and trigger points. There are many common postural defects, and most people have at least one or two of them. Learn about posture for standing, sitting, walking and sleeping, and identify any issues you have, e.g. carrying your head too far forward, walking with feet turned out, anterior pelvic tilt, or over extended knees when standing. You can usually fix these defects yourself once you are aware of them, either by simply adjusting your posture until it becomes natural, or doing some exercises for a while to return the balance to your muscles, and this will improve both the tension issues and your overall wellbeing.
These are just three things you can consider doing to combat muscle tension wherever you experience it in your body. While massage may help get rid of the pain, it is always best to also look for solutions that help address the underlying cause of your tension, too.