Tight shoulders (muslce aches, cramps, pains, twitches and spasms) can be a very debilitating and annoying complaint. It can result in a reduction the range of movement as well as increasing the likelihood for headaches, inflammation and spinal conditions. Muscle tension is caused by the muscles bunching after contracting. The muscle fibres are then tense, rigid and stiff causing pain. Long term muscle tension may contribute to many other chronic conditions in the future such as migraines, postural imbalances, sciatica, repetitive strain injuries, backache and cramps.
Diet tips for muscle tension
- Ensure adequate hydration as dehydration is a contributor to pain and inflammation in the body
- Avoid acid forming foods as these contribute to inflammation of the muscle-skeleteal system. Foods which are acidic are sugar, alcohol, dairy, wheat, preservatives and caffeine
- Increase your daily intake of essential fatty acids found in oily foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, fish oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and avocados
Lifestyle factors for muscle tension
- Stretching, yoga and swimming may help to relax the muscles and let go of tension. These activities also help to improve blood flow
- Epsom salts baths contain Magnesium and are a great way to warm the muscles and ease tension
- Regular massages may help to reduce any tension in the muscles
- Acupuncture and Acupressure are ideal ways to invigorate the blood, reduce inflammation and encourage relaxation of the muscles
- If your work or exercise entails repetition of movement be mindful to also do the opposite movement to counter balance the muscles. For example if you are constantly using you right arm to do a task then even out the muscle usage by stretching and strengthening the left arm also
- If you sit at a computer or desk for many hours be careful to have the correct posture, chair (ergonomic), desk height and make sure that you occasionally move from your chair and do some neck stretches also.
Natural remedies for muscle tension
- Magnesium is indicated for any cramps, pain, spasms or tensions in the muscles. Magnesium plays a role in the relaxation and contraction of muscles. It also improves nervous conduction which influences muscle contraction and relaxation further. Supplementation with Magnesium Phosphate or Magnesium Chelate may be helpful to reduce nerve and muscle tension
- The following are a list of herbs which may be of benefit in reducing muscle aches and improve blood circulation: Chamomile, Passionflower, Daimiana, Kava, Vervain, Devils Claw, Cramp Bark, Ginger, Hops, Lavender, Willowbark and Skullcap
- Topical ointments such as Tiger Balm, Wintergreen, Cajuput, Eucalyptus, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Marjoram and Cayenne are rubefacients which help to bring blood flow to an area and provide temporary analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects
- Electrolytes (Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium) are important minerals to nourish and fortify the nerves and muscles
- Fish oil contains Ecosapentanoic acid (EPA) which is a natural and potent anti-inflammatory for the muscular system
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