It is widely accepted that muscle tension, especially around your neck and shoulders, is a negative thing in so much as it causes pain & discomfort. It is also known that muscle tension is associated with headache, joint pain, upper limb nerve symptoms, and shoulder dysfunction, just to name a few. In addition to just being the result of sustained/awkward working postures, or unaccustomed activity, muscular tension is a normal part of your body’s stress response. So anything that causes you stress will increase muscle tension around your neck and shoulders.
Releasing muscle tension, especially before it takes hold, is considered helpful to both release stress and reduce the likelihood of muscle & joint problems.
Based on 6 different techniques, this article will link you to a simple daily program to keep muscle tension under control.
Foam Rolling – Foam rolling the upper back is a great way to both release tight back muscles and release the underlying joints. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a few joint clicks
Diaphragmatic Breathing – Diaphragmatic breathing is known to be a powerful way of inducing relaxation and reducing muscle tension.
Self-massage – Gently kneading muscle is an effective way to release muscle tension. Even better, have someone else perform this for you 🙂
Trigger point release – Trigger points are discrete, focal, painful spots located in muscles. Trigger Point Therapy has been recognized since the 1950’s as an effective technique for reducing muscle tension. Click here for a quick video showing you common Trigger points.
Stretching muscles – Once released, a muscles natural resting state can be maintained by applying stretch to the muscle. Typically, each stretch is held for 20 seconds, and repeated twice.
Nerve mobilising – Nerves interface with muscle. Nerve will not move freely if the surrounding muscles are in a taut state. Some basic nerve mobilising exercises will round out your stress release session.
Other helpful ways of reducing muscle tension and stress include general exercise such as walking, jogging & swimming, applying heat, meditating, practising yoga, receiving massage, power napping, ensuring good quality sleep, maintaining a well balanced diet, and connecting socially with close friends.
For best results, make sure you are warm, especially around your neck and shoulders. Complete this program after you have had a hot shower, or use a heat pack (wheat bag) across your shoulders.