For most people, back problems are almost inevitable. And whenever you have back problems, it can throw off your entire routine. So it is important to know how to relax your back muscles.
Even if you don’t do any strenuous activity that can affect your back, it is always nice to have a few muscle exercises you can do daily to keep your back relaxed and less tense. We’ll go into more detail about what causes your back muscles to tense up, the effects of having a tight back, and a handful of ways you can relax your back muscles.
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Each human body is unique and comes with its own set of complications. No matter what your current physical activity level looks like, there is an almost guarantee that you will find yourself using your back in some shape or form. And because the back is such an important part of the body, when your back muscles tense up, it can throw off your entire body’s homeostasis (balance).
According to a Georgetown University study, about sixteen million adults (8% of the population) experience back pain. This discomfort may come from playing sports, improper posture, or other simple daily activities. And because this is such a common occurrence among so many adults, it is crucial to identify where such pains originate.
Common Reasons For Back Stiffness
- Slept in an odd position: Perhaps you woke up one morning feeling intense back or neck discomfort, and you don’t know why. Well, sleeping in a poor position is a easy way in messing with those tender back muscles. Maybe you tossed and turned in the night enough to change from your starting position into an uncomfortable one. A few ways to prevent yourself from falling into these poor positions is to slide a pillow underneath your knees if you sleep on your back. This will help keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Bad posture: Aside from sleeping in an awkward position, you may find yourself slumping while sitting down, leaning forward, or in another position that can strain your spine make relaxing your back muscles nearly impossible. Having bad posture may reduce the strength in muscles in your upper and lower back.
- Injury: If you have suffered an injury from some strenuous activity, you may have suffered from some muscle tension or shoulder pain. One common way you can injure yourself is by lifting heavy objects incorrectly. This can put stress on the ligaments of your spine. It is always important to lift with your legs whenever you lift heavy objects to not put stress on your back.
- Stress: General everyday stresses may cause your back muscles to tighten. Stress can affect areas of the back, neck, and shoulders. When this tension goes unlooked, it can lead to even worse back pain or other tension.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and muscles in your back, which can be uncomfortable and may cause swelling in certain areas. This condition can cause extreme discomfort and may need proper medical attention.
- Other illnesses: Other conditions such as tumors, kidney stones, and certain infections can be a telltale answer to why your can’t relax your back muscles.
What Are the Effects of Tight Back Muscles?
When your back muscles tighten, it can greatly affect your everyday life and make the most simple tasks excruciatingly painful to do. And when you are unable to do the most simple tasks, it can take a toll not only physically but also mentally. Let’s take a look at some of the effects that having tight back muscles can bring.
Because of an injured back, you only have a limited range of movement. With a stiff back, you may have difficulty turning your head or sitting in certain positions. Other physical activities such as lifting, running, or even stretching can seem impossible.
When having limited mobility, you have to rest the body more often and throw off your daily routine. Things like walking your dog, working out, and other activities may have to be put on the back burner until you feel better.
In addition to losing your ability to move, you begin to lose confidence and feel miserable that you cannot do the things you love. Exercising such as running or playing sports is an excellent stress reliever and mood booster. However, you can feel down in the dumps when your back is out, and you cannot participate in these activities.
When you cannot regularly move about because of an injured back, you may have difficulty doing normal tasks every day. Activities such as cooking and cleaning may be a bit more challenging, leading to you being less productive. Instead of stressing and adding more tension to your muscles, it is best to relax and wait until you are fully healed to start being physical again.
How to Relax Back Muscles
The most important way to relax your back muscles is by taking it easy and getting some rest. Try not to stress over not being able to fully move about without feeling some back pain. Use this time to practice gentle stretching to relieve tension, focus on correcting your posture, and be mentally healthy when ready to get back out there.
Healing and physical therapy take time, and it is best not to force it. In the meantime, there are a few things you can try doing that will help relax your back muscles.
Correct Your Posture
One of the most common ways we experience discomfort is when we have bad posture. Whether we are working at a desk hunched over a computer screen, sitting oddly while watching a movie, or walking with a slumped back, these can all be a cause of your back pain. These are all things we do unconsciously, and they may be difficult to correct. But if you put in the effort to correct your posture, you will feel the results, and your body will thank you.
Here are some tips for you to acquire a better posture to relax those back muscles.
- When sitting in a chair, sit with your back straight, shoulders back, and feet flat on the floor. Make sure you are seated all the back so your butt is touching the back of the chair.
- Avoid crossing your legs.
- Try to keep your knees bent at a right angle. You can use a footstool to help ensure you keep your knees bent and above your hips.
- If you are working at a computer or in a position where you are sitting for longer than 30 minutes, try to take a break, stretch and go for a short walk if possible.
- Wearing a back brace can help correct your posture when doing your routine. As you are wearing a back brace, this can remind you to focus on having the correct posture.
Try Meditation or Yoga
Yoga and meditation can be excellent ways to keep those back muscles relaxed. A 2016 study found that meditation works better than painkillers in soothing chronic low back discomfort. Practicing these calming exercises can help relieve pain and tension throughout the body.
Here are a few positions you can try!
- Cat-Cow: To attempt this position, get on all fours and balance your weight evenly between your hands and knees. Inhale as you look up as your stomach naturally drops towards the yoga mat or the floor. Stretch your head and neck towards the sky and arch your back, making a U-shaped curve. Exhale as you tuck your chin into your chest. As you do this, draw your abdominal muscles, arching your back in the opposite direction (upside-down U).
- Downward Facing Dog: This is a famous position but is extremely effective. Start on all fours and press down with your hands, get on your toes, and straighten out your legs as much as possible. Keep your knees slightly bent when lengthening your spine and tailbone. The heels of your feet should be slightly off the ground and tuck your chin in. The shape your body should be making is an upside-down V with your hands in front of you on the floor and your rear end set to the highest point of the V. Hold this stretch for as long as possible and feel your back, hips, calves, and hamstrings loosen up.
- Sphynx Pose: For the starting position, start by lying flat on your stomach with your legs extended behind you. Bring your elbows under your shoulder with your forearms on the floor and your palms facing down. Start to slowly lift your torso and head to tighten your lower abdominal muscles as they support your back. Lift using your spine and keep your gaze straight ahead.
- Locust Pose: Still looking to relax back muscles? Try the locust pose. For this pose, lie on your stomach with your arms next to your torso, palms facing upwards. Touch your big toes together as you turn your heels to the side. With your forehead on the floor, slowly lift your head, chest, and arms halfway. Use your inner thighs to lift your legs and find your balance.
Another fantastic way to relieve tension on your back is with CBD. CBD is a natural compound found in hemp that provides soothing and relaxing benefits to the body. The best part about CBD is that you will not experience any intoxicating effects because there is little to no THC present.
The way CBD works is by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS promotes many of the body’s natural functions, such as appetite, sleep, mood, and much more.
There are many different forms of CBD, such as topicals, edibles, and flowers, that all provide relieving benefits. Depending on the type of experience you are looking for and the designated area to reduce pain, there is a CBD product out there just for you!
Get a Massage
Getting a massage can help target certain problem areas and provide pain relief where you need it the most. Especially if you have pain in your lower back or other hard-to-reach places, having someone else massage and provide relief can be extremely helpful.
While getting a massage, you can also try a CBD salve or CBD oil to increase the relief. CBD topical products are designed to target a specific area when rubbed into the skin and provide quick relief, usually within 15 minutes.
Another way to relax your back muscles is to do daily stretches. This can relieve any tightness or discomfort throughout your body. These stretches are simple and are incredibly effective when done correctly. Here are a few great stretches you can try for yourself!
- Wag Tail: helps target sidebending movement
- Quadruped Sidebend: also great for improving sidebending movement
- Half Pancake: helps with flexibility
- A-Frame to Squat: helps improve your core muscles and leg muscles
Take a Hot Bath
After a long day of stretching and fixing your posture, one of the best ways to wind down is by taking a bath. You can also add a CBD bath bomb in the mix to provide maximum relaxation with soothing aromas. Baths are an excellent way to immediately relieve your entire body and loosen up tight muscles that you could not stretch out.
Final Thoughts – How to Relax Back Muscles
As we go throughout our daily lives, it’s crucial to remember how important our back muscles are and that we should do everything we can to make sure they are relaxed and strong. We use our back muscles for almost every type of physical activity, so we must take care of it by having the correct posture, stretching, and using CBD products.