6 Tips to Relieve Muscle Tension

Modern life affords us with many comforts and benefits. More and more people are living sedentary lifestyles with more time spent sitting and less time being active. Contrary to what you might expect, living our lives with less activity can actually cause our muscles to get sore and tense. 

At Colorado Massage, we want to help our clients live more comfortable lives any way we can. In this blog post, we will be sharing some of our tips for managing pain caused by muscle tension and stress. Contact us today for more information!

Be More Active

Easier said than done — if you can find ways to be more active in your life, you will likely see a decrease in the amount of tension in your soft tissues. Even if that means just going for a brisk walk every day or doing some jumping jacks throughout the day. Anything you can do to spend less time sitting and more time using your muscles will help get rid of that constant achy feeling you get from sitting in front of  a computer screen all day.

Practice Yoga, Pilates, or Daily Stretching

Yoga and Pilates are excellent practices to implement in your daily life if possible. Yoga has the added benefit of being a sort of meditation, which allows your mind to clear out any stressors while your body replenishes itself. Pilates is a more physical form of stretching that can really help you loosen up tense muscles as well as build muscle strength.

If you don’t have time or resources to make yoga or Pilates a part of your daily routine, that’s okay. Even just taking a few minutes to stretch your hips, torso, and shoulders each day can produce great results in helping relieve muscle tension.  

If stretching out throughout the day sounds like something you are interested in, here are a few stretches that we recommend:

Touch Your Toes – loosen your hips and stretch your hamstrings

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart 
  • Keep your back straight and let your arms hang down
  • Slowly lean over bending at the waist
  • Go as far as you can while still feeling comfortable
  • Push just a bit further so that you can feel the stretch behind your knees
  • Hold for 10 – 15 seconds 
  • Slowly roll your torso back to a standing position
  • (Optional) Repeat two or three times

Torso Twist – engage your abdomen and shoulders

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • (Optional) Hold a basketball or similar sized item in your hands 
  • Reach your arms out straight in front of you
  • Make sure to keep your shoulders rolled back and not scrunching up and pinching your neck
  • Slowly twist your entire torso 90 degrees to the left
  • Return to center
  • Slowly twist your entire torso 90 degrees to the right
  • Return to center
  • Repeat 10 – 15 times

Neck Roll – relieve tension in your neck (move slow to prevent nerve damage)

  • Roll your shoulders back and keep your back straight
  • Slowly drop your head so that chin is tucked toward your neck
  • Roll your head to the left until your left ear is close to your left shoulder
  • Do not roll back — avoid rolling your neck 360 degrees because you could cause nerve damage
  • Instead, return to the center position with your chin tucked
  • Roll your head to the right
  • Roll your head back to the center with your chin tucked
  • Now you can lean your head back and roll from left to right
  • Remember not to roll your neck the full 360 degrees

Lunge in Place – loosen your hips and engage your thigh

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Place your hands on your hips, roll your shoulders back, and keep your neck straight while looking straight ahead
  • With your left foot, step forward 
  • Lower your hips until your right knee gets close to or touches the ground and both legs are bent in 90-degree angles
  • Return to a standing position
  • Repeat with your right foot stepping forward
  • Do 10 – 15 reps with each leg for a total of 20 – 30 lunges

Buy a Foam Roller

A foam roller is an excellent way to help you find immediate short term relief when you are feeling really tense. They are also an excellent way to help you loosen up your muscles after exercise. There are many different exercises you can do with a foam roller but most involve using your own body weight to roll on top of the foam roller where you are feeling sore.

Apply Some Heat

Another short-term solution to sore muscles and muscle tension is to use heating pads. There are several different kinds of heating pads. However, if you are trying to save money, you can simply put some uncooked rice in a sock and cook it in the microwave for around a minute. This produces a cheap heat source that you can place on your neck, shoulders, or back — wherever you are feeling tense.

Change Your Posture

If you are experiencing chronic neck, back, or shoulder pain that never seems to go away, part of your problem might be your posture. How we carry our bodies can have a huge effect on the tension that builds up in our muscles everyday. Making two simple adjustments to your posture can produce major results in relieving chronic muscle tension.

  • Don’t hunch your shoulders.

    Roll your shoulders back — not too far back, but to a comfortable position — and keep your chest out — not puffed up, but to what feels comfortable. If you do this, you will feel your neck and the rest of your spine settle into a naturally straight position. 

  • Stop “tucking your tail.”

    Imagine your tailbone continued out like the tail of a dog or monkey. Keep that in mind the next time you sit down and ask yourself — if you had such a tail — would it be able to stick out toward the back of the chair,? Or would it be tucked beneath your rump? If your tailbone is “tucked,” then you will probably notice that your spine looks much more like a “C” than the skinny “S” that it should resemble. Untuck your tail by pushing your behind out, and you will feel the rest of your spine adjust and return to its proper position.

Get a Deep Tissue Massage

One of the best ways that you can relieve tension in your muscles and soft tissues is by getting a deep tissue massage. At Colorado Massage, we offer many services to help you relax and relieve stress from your mind and body. If you are experiencing chronic pain in your muscles, we recommend our Ashiatsu massage. There’s no better way to help your muscles loosen up and get back to normal. So don’t wait, and schedule your massage today!