Muscle tension is when certain muscles in your body stay in a semi-contracted mode for long periods of time. Usually a result of stress it can sometimes lead to further complications. It can also be attributed to anxiety and worry. When you are worried about something you don’t really breathe correctly, you remain in a tense position, sometimes without even realizing it, and you find that you just can’t relax and let go.
How do you get it?
- Your stress and anxiety are what are causing your chronic muscle tension. When you can’t let the stress go your body remains tensed up and the muscles do not get any relief, if fact they will start to ache causing a physically painful situation.
- It almost begins a chain reaction. When your back hurts you hold yourself in a rigid manner so you don’t create further pain. You also stay away from any type of exercise that might actually stretch you and help start relieving the muscle tension.
- The same goes for your legs. If you find yourself with muscle tension in your legs, the last thing you want to do is work it out by going for a walk. Staying stagnant does not help chronic muscle tension to magically heal itself.
- Once you add physical pain into a situation that began with holding your muscles tightly because you were anxious or tense, you have a whole new scenario. Now you have to deal with resolving the pain and learning how to deal with stress in a way that won’t shut down your body.
Why chronic muscle tension is problematic
Until you learn how to deal with stress and anxiety without holding your body hostage, you are going to be adding tense muscles to an already difficult situation. You may want to speak to a therapist to find out how you can better handle stressful situations so that you can release the tension in your muscles, calm down, and deal with your situation with calm thinking and a clear attitude.
Trying to handle a situation that has you stressed when your body is wrapped in a knot is just going to make it harder to concentrate. You will end up with a headache at first and the residual tension is going to stay within your muscles even after you deal with the problem at hand. You may have grown too used to holding on to those muscles for dear life as if that will help you deal with anxiety and tension.
Certainly no one expects you to not be concerned about a situation that would cause you to become tense or anxious. But having a clear head that is not distracted by a stiff neck, back pains or chest pains will help you face the situation more easily and bring it to a resolution quicker.
How can you relieve muscle tension?
There are some ways that you can relieve muscle tension and get some relief. When you are experiencing physical pain due to muscle tension, try some of these suggestions:
Over the counter pain medications
Some people reach for an aspirin but more and more are taking acetaminophen as a proven pain reliever. You do have to watch your reactions when taking some pain relievers especially if you have a history of kidney or liver problems. They do have medications you can pick up at the pharmacy without a prescription that are especially prepared for arthritis pain. Something like this could help to relieve your tense muscles.
If you find that you just cannot relax and you need some extra help, speak to your physician. As bad as you may feel that you have to take a pill to relax, the effects of the stress far outweigh taking the pill. Once you begin to feel relaxed from taking your prescription medication, you may learn to enjoy that feeling and begin to practice relaxation techniques so you can one day feel that way without having to take medication.
Your doctor may prescribe something to calm your anxiety if that is what is causing your chronic muscle tension. You might also want to ask about a muscle relaxer if the pain is not going away. That will just create an ongoing tense situation and you will be right back where you started from.
If you have never done yoga you may not be aware of the stretching benefits of this wonderful form of exercise. Just about anyone can do yoga because it is literally a no impact activity. It is really a series of exercises where you work at your own pace to stretch isolated areas of your body one at a time.
Do a search online to start and watch a few simple YouTube videos so you can see how to properly perform the positions. The best part about yoga is that you work at your own pace and each time you do your exercises you will notice that you can reach farther and farther. The yogi believes that you are as young as your spine is supple. If you can provide stretching exercises that will keep your back flexible you will probably be able to keep a lot of muscle tension at bay.
A nice hot bath
There was a reason that there used to be a commercial where a stressed out mom would say, “Calgon, take me away.” Taking a nice warm bath for a nice long soak can ease your physical pain while giving your mind a mental break. When you have quiet time to think, privacy where you don’t have to worry about anything for the next 20 to 30 minutes, and the heat begins to soothe those aching muscles, you will feel refreshed and more in control of any future situations that may arise.
Spending time to learn how to relax is an invaluable tool. Stress is the cause of many illnesses so there is absolutely no positive value to holding on to it.
If you need more help, check out my Boook “Mind over Muscle” now & learn how you tackle your muscular problems from a completly different angle!