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Take The Pain And Stiffness Out Of Muscle Tension

You know that uncomfortable feeling: The muscles in your neck and back bind so tightly you can barely move. But once you understand the causes of that muscle tension, you can work to stop the problem at its roots. Then you can prevent that constricting pain and stiffness.

Muscle tension is a common health issue with many possible root causes. To combat it, you need to understand your own personal triggers. Part of this process involves deepening your awareness, or becoming “mindful.” It means paying close attention to the where, when and how of muscle tension.

Muscle tension and pain often result from poor circulation, inflammation or acidosis (over-acidity in the body). There are many simple ways to prevent and treat these causes.

  • Sitting or lying down allows your body to process metabolites that would otherwise contribute to inflammation and pain.
  • Deep breathing breaks down lactic acid, reduces inflammation and can also improve circulation and relieve tension.
  • Dehydration increases muscle tension. Make sure you drink plenty of filtered water to flush out lactic acid and toxins and keep joints and tendons lubricated.
  • Warming and stretching muscles with movements and exercises, topical heat or hot water can help a great deal. Stretching should follow warming rather than the other way around.
  • A short walk can get the circulation going and warm up major muscle groups. Chi Gong (Qigong) and Tai Chi are also excellent tension relievers.
  • An alkalizing diet high in fresh, organic vegetables offers powerful anti-inflammatory support. Reduce sugars and white flour products in favor of whole grains, legumes, fish, vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. Seek out limited use of healthy oil sources, such as olive oil, fish, krill, flax and coconut.


Magnesium can help relieve muscle tension. Topical magnesium creams and lotions can be applied to tense areas or the bottoms of the feet. Epsom bath salts, which contain magnesium, are a tried-and-true method to relieve aches and pains. Magnesium is a laxative, so increase the dose gradually. Dietary potassium is also important and can be found in beans, yams, potatoes, bananas, greens and cooked tomatoes.

I highly recommend a Tibetan-based herbal formula, which has been extensively researched for its benefits in supporting circulation. Start with two to three capsules, twice daily. Once you feel the beneficial effects, reduce to one capsule, twice daily, on an empty stomach.

Other natural solutions for muscle tension include:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger root
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Bromelain and other natural sources of enzymes
  • Modified Citrus Pectin

Stretching And Massage

To avoid injury, stretch only after muscles are warmed up, and avoid stretches that cause significant or lasting pain. Know your limits and gently push a little further each time. Gentle, slow stretching, combined with deep breathing, is an excellent way to relieve muscle tension.

Massage, particularly craniosacral and trigger point manual therapy, can also relieve tension. Trigger point and craniosacral techniques target specific points in the musculoskeletal system that hold tension, gently manipulating and realigning ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Fire And Ice

Heat therapies, such as warm compresses, hot water bottles and other sources, are recommended when there is no acute injury or inflammation. Heat increases circulation and improves muscle elasticity, allowing more blood flow and reducing stiffness. Infrared saunas or lamps can be a wonderful form of heat therapy, reducing chronic inflammation, improving circulation and reducing muscle and joint pain.

Cold packs are often used for acute injuries, inflammation or swelling. They are best applied immediately after an injury to constrict blood flow to the site and reduce damage caused by swelling and inflammation.

Your Environment               

Posture is important. Take a look at your work environment to identify areas that produce chronic muscle strain. Make sure you take breaks to move, stretch and breathe. At home, make sure your mattress and pillows provide proper support.

Stress reduction and relaxation can dramatically reduce muscle tension. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, Chi Gong, Tai Chi, laughter — whatever works best for you.

As I mentioned, proper hydration, an alkalizing diet, adequate rest and healthy stress relief all reduce muscle tension and improve overall health. If you have chronic muscle pain, there may be underlying issues that need to be assessed by an integrative medicine physician. For many of us, though, muscle tension can be solved by simple changes in our lifestyle, diet and supplements. For more information, visit

Filed Under: Alternative MedicineEasy Health Digest™Pain

About the Author: Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.

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  • http://easyhealth.complusotherstoo George Karout

    That is very true. My life style is super ie food and nutrition is based on fish, nuts (wallnuts, almond etc,,,) fruits and vegies selected from health sites that R rich in minerals mainly Mg, Ca, and Potassium. Also fruits rich in Vitamins too. That is regular and daily. I also intriduced turmeric peppers ie curccumin and cumin with cinamon. Of course flaz seeds in addition to rich cereals. I do heavy exerices daily including cardio and yoga and so have a very good health thanks God. I know my life style is not easy at all but I dont have any kind of pain at all nor medicine which I haven’t taken for the last 16 to 20 years. There R also other taboos in my food. I dont wear eyeglasses though my age is 64 plus.
    I thank all health sites and my will to follow that meticulously with heavy daily exercies
    Super health thanks God

  • Jeanette Foresta

    My Healthy Lifestyle

    I recently started pulverizing my fruits and vegetables with a well known heath master pro. I don’t eat raw spinach because it may not be good for a sluggish thyroid which my first bloodtest showed I have to watch. I am getting the second blood test tomorrow which is a few months since I’ve been eating raw. I am a woman who is looking at sixty in August 2012. I take only vitamin D-3 with omega from flax seed oil and, CO-Q-10 after a meal. I only eat some solid food like veggie chicken or, veggie spare-ribs with lettuce. I use green grape seed oil on it.
    I do not ware glasses. The arthritis I use to have is gone. My finger used to click but, no longer does. I workout on the elliptical machine, stretch and lift weights, once in the morning and, once in the evening. Before sleep I do leg circles, and pull my legs up to my chest and, do what a Chiropractor does when you go to one. When I do I walk It is on the sand only. Since I started this regiment the neuroma’s in my feet are much better.
    My raw fruits and veggies are organic which include but, are not limited to, raw beets, radishes, celery, red peppers, pineapple, avocado, carrot, fennel, organic apples, banana’s, etc.
    Sometimes I make an avocado, walnut, almond, shake using almond non-gluten non-soy milk not sweetened. I add stevia if I want it a little sweet.