You’ve seen the memes. You know you’re getting old when your back goes out more than you do! Back pain has become a part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, it’s common for middle age and elderly adults to have back problems. In fact, it’s such a normal occurrence that it’s become a socially sharable joke. But back pain doesn’t have to be the standard. You just have to find out how to relax back muscles properly. Luckily, we have the answers!
The first step is to figure out what has caused your back muscles to tense up. There’s a surprising amount of reasons our backs start to ache. Luckily, most of these problems have easy solutions. You’ll be feeling active, healthy, and refreshed in no time!
What Can Cause Your Back Muscles to Tense Up?
The human body is quite complex. Each system works together, usually in harmony. Of course, it seems like it’s quite easy to throw off our body’s homeostasis, especially when it comes to our backs and spines.
Sixteen million adults (8% of the population) experience chronic back pain, which is persistent back discomfort that doesn’t seem to go away and limits daily activities. That’s a lot of hurt backs, which makes the abundance of back pain memes even less surprising. Nothing screams “adulting” like back pain!
But seriously, what’s causing so many of our backs to feel stiff, tense, and sore so often? Why are our muscles hurting? That’s the thing — there are so many reasons for backs to start hurting. The first step is figuring out what might have happened to cause that stiffness in the first place.
- You slept sort of weird: Poor sleeping positions can put pressure on your spine. If you feel achy after waking up, try lying on your side. You can even prop a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position, relieving strain on your back. If you’re sleeping on your back, slide a pillow under your knees.
- Bad posture: If you are often slumped or leaning forward, this adds increased pressure to each spinal segment. It also reduces the strength in the muscles in your upper and lower back.
- Injury: If you stretched or lifted wrong, you may feel tension in your back. Lifting with a rounded back can put stress on the ligaments of your spine. Your muscles may be trying to recover. It’s important to lift with your legs and not your back especially when the object is heavy.
- Stress: When you’re stressed, you involuntarily tighten your muscles. This most often affects your back, neck, and shoulders. Prolonged tension in this area often leads to back pain, mostly in the lower back.
- Arthritis: This can affect the joints in your back, inflaming them and putting you in a world of discomfort.
- Other illnesses: Tumors, kidney stones, and infections can also lead to pain in your back.
What Are the Effects of Tight Back Muscles?
Your tight muscles are likely impacting your life more than you realize! Since you live with the condition every day, you may have grown used to the hindrances that tight muscles cause. Let’s take a look at the consequences of back tension.
When your back muscles feel tight, you’ll notice a significant decrease in mobility. It may be tough to turn your head to the side or sit in a certain position. Running, lifting, yoga — that’s all definitely out of the question!
When people have tight back muscles, they often have to rest, alternating between hot and cold pads. Not being able to go about daily routines — like running errands, working out, attending meetings, walking your dog — can be a real bummer.
Speaking of, that’s one of the other big issues with back pain — we feel miserable! A lot of people rely on their morning stretching or daily jogs with friends to lift their spirits. So when you can’t even move your head to the side without wincing, it can really put a damper on your mood.
When you’re unable to get outside for that hike or bake those cookies with your kids like you originally planned, you can start to feel pretty unproductive. This lack of productivity can also distract and demotivate you at work. It’s best to just take a day off to relax and rejuvenate. That way you’ll be back to kicking butt at work and building that trampoline without feeling held back by discomfort in your muscles.
How to Relax Back Muscles
When you’re trying to figure out how to relax back muscles, the big thing here is getting rest! What your body most likely needs is time to repair any damage or strain. Lay down for a few hours, using heating pads and ice packs to soothe your muscles. If you continue to work out or run around when your back is in pain, it will only drag out the healing process and prolong the discomfort.
Luckily, you don’t have to just lie there and wait. You can do other things to ensure that your back not only recovers quickly but also stops becoming sore in the future!
Correct Your Posture
If you often find yourself hunched over a laptop, leaning over when you play video games, or walking with a slumped posture, this may be the root cause of your back problems. You’re putting additional pressure on different points of your spine, which can lead to soreness and tension over time. Here are a few tips you can use to align your spine and relax your back muscles today!
- Sit with your back straight and shoulders back. Make sure your booty is touching the back of the chair.
- Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold this position for a few seconds. Release the position slightly to find your perfect sitting posture.
- Avoid crossing your legs.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. You might even utilize a footstool to ensure your knees are even (or slightly higher) than your hips.
- Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Get up to stretch and walk around.
- Try wearing a back brace or posture corrector when doing your usual walking routines. This will remind you to keep an upright position while walking and standing.
Try Meditation or Yoga to Relax Back Muscles
Did you know there are certain yoga poses that focus on specific parts of the body? In fact, there are yoga positions decisively created to help relieve you of back pain! Yoga sessions can help you gain awareness of your body and let go of tension you didn’t know you had. The first pose to try is Cat Cow:
- Get on all fours, balancing your weight evenly between your hands and knees.
- Inhale as you look up, letting your stomach drop towards the yoga mat. Stretch your head and neck towards the sky and arch your back in a U shaped curve.
- Exhale, tucking your chin into your chest. Simultaneously, draw your belly up towards your spine, arching your back in the opposite direction (upside-down U).
Downward Facing Dog is another good stretch:
- Get on all fours again.
- This time, press into your hands, get on your toes, lift up your knees and straighten your legs as much as possible.
- Keep a slight bend in your knees, lengthening your spine and tailbone. Your heels should be slightly off the ground and your chin should be tucked slightly.
- Your body should be in an upside-down V shape with your hands on the floor in front of you and your rear end being the highest point of the V.
- Hold this stretch and feel the muscles in your back, hips, calves, and hamstrings, decompress!
Now, get on your stomach for the Sphynx Pose:
- Start out lying flat on your stomach. Your legs should be extended behind you.
- Bring your elbows under your shoulders, with your forearms on the floor, palms facing down.
- Slowly start to lift your upper torso and head. Engage your lower abdominal muscles to support your back.
- Lift up through your spine, keeping your gaze straight ahead.
The Locust Pose is a bit tougher:
- Lie on your stomach again. Your arms should be next to your torso, palms facing upwards.
- Touch your big toes together, turning your heels to the side.
- Place your forehead onto the floor, then slowly lift your head, chest, and arms halfway.
- To deepen the pose, you can also use your inner thighs to lift your legs. Rest and repeat!
How to Relax Back Muscles By Applying CBD
Another natural solution to target your discomfort is CBD. This is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in hemp that can really help soothe and relax you. Since it’s non-psychoactive, you won’t experience any of the intoxicating effects of THC. In other words, even though it comes from cannabis, CBD won’t get you high.
Instead, CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), ultimately helping your body reach homeostasis — or balance.
CBD helps your body maintain overall well-being, which includes targeting any discomfort or tension you might be feeling. CB1 receptors are in our brain and nervous system. CB2 receptors are in our immune system. When cannabinoids are introduced to our body, they interact with these various parts of the ECS, promoting wellness.
You can use CBD topically to directly target sore areas. You can also drop CBD oil under your tongue to experience long-lasting results.
Get a Massage
There are certain areas you should target to relax back muscles if you’re feeling pain. Find a massage that targets the quadratus lumborum muscle, which extends throughout your lower back. This is the muscle that helps you bend backward and sideways. Targeting this muscle will help you regain pain-free movement. If you feel an ache in your lower back, this may be the culprit!
If your pain is around your lower back and buttocks, find a message that targets the gluteus medius. This is a muscle in the buttocks that acts as a hip abductor, allowing you to lift your thigh and leg sideways. If you’re having problems in your hip area, you’ll definitely feel it in your spine.
Make these targeted massages even more impactful with CBD salve. This is a strong skin balm that’s infused with CBD. This product can be quite effective since the salve is being rubbed into a targeted, precise location.
The CBD in the salve reacts with the receptors underneath the skin in that specific area, ensuring you feel relief in that targeted spot of your back — usually in less than 15 minutes!
Sometimes we can pull a muscle if we don’t actively stretch that area daily. Your back may feel tight or painful, leading to limited mobility. Gentle stretching can help you overcome restrictions, muscle tension, and reduce discomfort.
Wag Tail is a great stretch that targets sidebending movement!
- Start on your hands and knees, with your knees pressed together.
- Lift your feet off the ground and swing them left to right.
- During this movement, keep your back flat. Try doing this 10 times per side.
Quadruped Sidebend is another great stretch for this are:
- Start in the kneeling position. Your hands should be stretched in front of you.
- Move your hands to one side in a 45-degree angle to your body. You should start feeling a stretch in that direction.
- Move in and out of the stretch about 10 times, holding up to 60 seconds.
Half Pancake is another popular flexibility stretch:
- Start in a sitting position. Stretch one leg out to the side and bend the other in front of your body.
- Rotate your torso toward the bent knee, reaching over your head and toward the foot of the outstretched leg.
- Go as far as you can without feeling pain or discomfort. Switch to the opposite side after.
A-Frame to Squat is another good stretch:
- Start in the Downward Dog position (borrowed from yoga), on your hands and knees.
- Push your butt to the air, forming an “A” shape. You may not be able to straighten your legs all the way.
- Instead, focus on pushing through your hands. Walk your feet forward and then drop down into a squat. Your hands should be on the ground still.
- Return to the A-Frame position after holding it for 10 seconds.
Take a Hot Bath
Nothing is more relaxing for your back muscles than a hot bath. If you suspect that stress has led to your back pain, fill a bath with warm water, set the mood with some candles, and drop in a CBD bath bomb. What’s more luxurious than sinking into a multi-colored, bubbling bath that simultaneously soothes your muscles and skin?
CBD bath bombs combine the soothing fizz of a natural, organic bath bomb and the discomfort-relieving benefits of CBD. Just like using a lotion or salve, CBD bath bombs target your skin and muscles. You’ll feel immediate relief when they interact with those receptors, helping you feel less tense and much more relaxed.
Final Thoughts – How to Relax Back Muscles
Back pain is surprisingly common. You might even have some now and not know it because you’re so used to it! But just because everyone deals with back pain at some point, doesn’t mean you have to endure it any longer.
Luckily there are plenty of ways to relieve back pain, making sure your muscles are not tense and sore any longer. Take a bath with a comforting CBD bath bomb if you’re stressed. Do some targeted stretches if there’s a certain spot that’s giving you mobility issues.
The important thing is to identify what is causing the muscles in your back to hurt and making some easy changes. You’ll be walking, exercising, working, and running around again soon! For now, just relax!