How to relieve tension in the shoulder muscle

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The shoulders and neck are two areas of the body which bear the burden of tension and pain. Pain and stiffness felt in the upper back can cause discomfort for the person. This condition is not a serious problem but it can slow down the daily activities of the individual and there is difficulty while doing his/her daily tasks.

Shoulder muscle tension happens when there is reduced blood and lymph flow to the area and typically caused by injury, stress and poor posture. Sometimes, tension in the shoulder muscle has similar symptoms of the lower back pain.

Causes of tension in the shoulder muscle

Chronic tension in the shoulder joint can pull the tendons of the muscles and cause inflammation which is known as tendinitis.
  • It can be caused by engaging in excessive activity which results to straining of the shoulder muscle.
  • Poor posture such as sitting for long periods of time at the desk, without taking a break or working on a computer in the same position for long hours can cause straining of the shoulder muscles.
  • A poor ergonomic position at the workplace can make the shoulder and neck muscle short which causes pain and tension in the area. The shoulder is stressed and strained when holding the cell phone between the head and shoulder.
  • A woman wearing high heeled shoes causes straining the lower back and spine, but will also change the biomechanics of the upper back and shoulder.
  • Sleeping postures can also cause tension in the shoulder muscle, usually when sleeping on the stomach.
  • Stress and anxiety are also factors that can cause shoulder and neck muscle tension.

Symptoms of shoulder tension

  • The muscles of the body are always tensed and relaxed. Take note that this cycle occurs indefinitely, but sometimes the muscles continues to become tensed without relaxation and will result to muscle spasm and pain.
  • Chronic tension in the shoulder joint can pull the tendons of the muscles and cause inflammation which is known as tendinitis. There is stiffness of the shoulder and difficulty in moving the shoulder upwards or sideways due to spasms of the muscle.
  • There is weakness of the shoulder along with swelling and tenderness which indicates that the muscles of the shoulders are tensed.

Treatment and home remedies of tension in the shoulder muscles

  • Massage the affected area in order to minimize stress and strain on the shoulder muscles as well as reducing stiffness and pain. Perform gentle massage using olive oil or coconut oil on the area of the shoulder to promote proper circulation. Massage also helps in releasing tension in the shoulder muscles.
  • Take a hot bath since it helps in relaxing tension in the shoulder muscles. Heat relaxes tensed fibers of the muscles. Another way is placing a heating pad or hot water bag over the shoulder to promote relaxation of the muscles.
  • Exercise is helpful in minimizing tension on the shoulders by rotating the shoulder in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions at least ten times in order to minimize tension in the shoulders.
  • Encourage the individual to perform some deep breathing techniques and yoga since these can help in reducing tension in the shoulders.


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