After a long stressful day of work or taking care of your kids—or both—you might feel tension in your neck, shoulders, and back. Muscle tension, when muscles remain semi-contracted for an extended time, is often caused by stress and can cause back pain and more. The good thing is, there is plenty you can do to relieve muscle tension, reduce back pain, and redirect your stress.
Symptoms of muscle tension
- Aching muscles
- Tender knots in your muscles
- Difficulty sleeping
Muscle tension is very common, especially in between ages 30 to 60, and can lead to Myofascial Pain Syndrome. If your pain lasts longer than a few days, see your doctor so you can know what to do for your specific pain. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new kind of exercise or treatment.
1. Roll out on the Chirp Wheel+. The Chirp Wheel+ was designed to fit between your shoulder blades so it can reach those hard-to-get-to knots in your back and shoulders. The wheel features a spinal canal, which gives your back a 4-way stretch. The best part is, the wheels are easy to use. Roll out on the wheel for just 5 to 10 minutes a day for quick, easy results. Depending on what you need, you can also customize your massage; the wheel comes in three different sizes. The 10” Gentle provides the biggest stretch and softest massage. The 6” Deep Tissue provides the least stretch but the deepest massage for your trigger points. Not sure what you need today? Start with the 10” Medium Chirp Wheel+ and see if you need a deeper or more gentle massage. Go watch this video to see a routine on how to relieve your muscle tension with the Chirp Wheel+.
2. Practice yoga often. Adding yoga to your exercise routine might be just what you need to relieve muscle tension and back pain. You might think that yoga isn’t for you because you aren’t flexible or for countless other reasons, but yoga is for everyone and some researchers think that people have practiced and benefited from yoga for over 10,000 years. Yoga increases flexibility, muscles strength, and muscle tone; improves your energy and respiration; balances your metabolism; helps with weight loss; contributes to your endurance in cardio and your circulatory health; and can help protect you from injury when you have muscle tension. It can also help to relieve your stress and reduce anxiety. The mind and body benefits will help with your muscle tension and back pain. You can even use the Chirp Wheel+ in your yoga practice to help increase your flexibility and balance. Read this blog post to see how to use the wheel to increase flexibility.
3. Try heat therapy. Ask your doctor if heat therapy is right for your muscle tension. Heat therapy can be very beneficial for muscle tension because it allows your mind and your muscles to relax. Try a hot bath with epsom salts (a healing substance that helps with lactic acid build up), which you can usually get at your local grocery store. Or use a warm rice bag to place on your aching muscles. Whatever form of heat therapy you choose, make sure to do it safely in 15 to 20 minute intervals a few times a day. Taking breaks will help your body heal.
4. Swim to pain relief. Aquatic therapy or water therapy can help ease tension as you exercise; ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Sometimes exercising on land puts too much pressure on your joints and strains your muscles. Water offers a solution by taking the weight off your body and still allowing you to move around. Doing simple swimming strokes or just walking back and forth in the pool can help reduce tension and relieve back pain. And if you have access to a hot tub after swimming in the pool, it can be an added bonus. Read this blog post for ideas on how to practice water therapy.
American Osteopathic Association. (2020). The benefits of yoga. Retrieved from https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/benefits-of-yoga/
Berry, J. (2020, January 27). Home remedies for fast back pain relief. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322582#exercise
Burgin, T. (2020). History of yoga. Retrieved from https://www.yogabasics.com/learn/history-of-yoga/#:~:text=The%20beginnings%20of%20Yoga%20were,by%20Brahmans%2C%20the%20Vedic%20priests.
Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Chronic myofascial pain (CMP). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10437-chronic-myofascial-pain-cmp
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Myofascial pain syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myofascial-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20375444
Spine-health. (2020). Muscle tension definition. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/muscle-tension