Friday, December 15, 2017

Attack Muscle and Joint Pain Through Relaxation Exercises

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Fitness and Exercise

Use Relaxation Therapies to Reduce Stress-Related Tension:

Muscle and Joint PainIt is well known that anxiety disorders, atherosclerosis, high-blood pressure, heart disease, muscle and joint pain, insomnia, and many other conditions are caused by excessive stress and tension.

A powerful and affective strategy that keeps stress from occurring and reduces its severity when it does is the use of relaxation therapies, two of which are described below.
Progressive Relaxation –

Tensing and relaxing various muscle groups, one at a time, is the core component of progressive relaxation. While there are many ways to group the muscles in the body, one common approach is as follows: (1) feet, leg, thigh and buttock muscles; (2 chest, stomach and back muscles; (3) head, neck and shoulder muscles; and (4) hand and arm muscles.

Begin by sitting or lying down and making yourself as comfortable as possible. Place your attention on the first group of muscles, for example, the muscles in your feet. Close your eyes and sense how tense or relaxed they are. Next, make the muscles as tense as you can and keep them tensed for about five seconds. Release the tension and remain relaxed for about 30 seconds.

Tensing the muscles and then relaxing them enables you to notice how relaxed they feel when the tension is released. Move on to the leg muscles and repeat the process. Continue in this manner until you have tensed and relaxed all of the muscles in each group.

You can try to memorize a script or use verbal cues to guide yourself through the relaxation of the various muscle groups, or you can listen to guided relaxation audiotapes that tell you which muscles to relax and when. These audio programs also prompt you to notice how your muscles feel when they are tense and when they are relaxed.

Using audiotapes is often the preferred method because you are able to focus all of your attention on tensing, relaxing, and noticing your muscles instead of trying to remember the sequence of muscles to work on. An invaluable tool in combating muscle and joint pain.

Deep Breathing

Deep-breathing exercises address many problems that are caused by the fast, shallow chest breathing a person experiences when under stress, including, inadequately oxygenated blood, tense muscles, and shortness of breath. Exercises that encourage deep breathing are extremely effective, in not only reducing stress and tension, but in improving the overall function of the respiratory system.

First, notice how deeply you breathe before beginning your deep breathing exercises by putting one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe as you normally do and notice which hand moves the most.

You’ll know you are chest breathing if the hand on your chest moves more than the hand on your abdomen, in which case, some breathing exercises are in order.

Lie on a mat on the floor on your back with your knees raised to support your lower back. Relax your body, especially your face, mouth, and nose. To make sure you are doing the deep-breathing exercises correctly, put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

Inhale through your nose, deeply and slowly. As you inhale, your abdomen will naturally push up and out, and your chest will remain fairly level. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Continue breathing deeply and slowly in this manner for no longer than 20 minutes.

Check each of your muscle groups after you complete the exercise. They should be a lot more relaxed than when you first started. Deep breathing is easy to perform and can be accomplished whenever you feel tension in your body, no matter where you are.

Photo Credit: d3bz