How Muscle Relaxation Can be Used to Alleviate Pain

Progressive muscle relaxation eases tension and often alleviates pain.

Progressive muscle relaxation eases tension and often alleviates pain.

Pain is the body’s way of telling that something is not quite right. Unfortunately it is not always possible to pin down what exactly is wrong, or what the cause of the pain is. Pain is experienced when certain nerve endings are stimulated to send messages of pain to the brain.

Normally, chronic pain is experienced due to an illness or medical condition, for example arthritis. When pain is localized, for instance a headache, heartburn or toothache, it may be due to temporary ailments. Naturally, injuries also trigger pain.

As a remedy, it was found that progressive muscle relaxation can ease tension and subsequently alleviate pain.

Here is what to do:

1. Sit comfortably in a chair with a straight back, with the body in a 90⁰ relation to the chair. The hands must be in the lap and the feet solid on the floor. All clothes, like belt, tie, and other tight fitting clothes must be loosened. When in a comfortable, relaxed composure, take a deep breath and exhale very slowly.

2. The next step is to extent one of the arms in front of the body. Make a tight fist, and tense the muscles of the hand as hard as possible. Keep and hold this position for a count of 5 whilst concentrating on the tension in the hand.

3. Then, slightly relax the hand for a second or two and tense the muscles again for a count of 5.

4. Now, totally release the tension, relax and take a deep breath and very slowly exhale.

5. The next step is to repeat the sequences in 2-4 for the other hand, then for the arms, shoulders and facial muscles, taking deep breaths between each muscle group until the entire upper body is relaxed.

6. When this is done, the same routine must be followed for the lower body, tensing and relaxing muscles of the stomach, buttocks, legs and feet.

7. With the entire body subjected to the tensing and relaxing of muscles, close the eyes and sit quietly and relaxed for at least 5 minutes. Breathe deeply; concentrate on any word that comes to mind, or a number or even a nice scene.

Just remember, pain that is unusual, very tense and last more than one day, growing steadily worse or is accompanied by fever, vomiting and other symptoms, warrants prompt medical attention.

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