Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, Sports Medicine Questions Muscle Strain

ā€œWhat is the best way to get my muscles to relax?ā€

I think I strained my neck when working out. How do I get my muscles to relax without taking any medication?

12 Answers

Foam rolling and stretches/exercise is a great way to work out tension in the body.
Iā€™m always going to suggest getting that evaluated by your chiropractor, but a nice, cheap, home tool you can use is putting two tennis balls down a sock and tying the end off so the balls stay next to each other. Lay face up with the tennis balls under your neck. You can roll that up and down to gently massage those muscles.
There are many options to alleviate muscle tightness such as massage, stretching, exercises, ice, etc. Resting and not straining the muscles again is a good start and if the symptoms don't relieve themselves within 48 hours I suggest consulting with a Chiropractic physician to assess and evaluate your symptoms.
Best "old school" remedy is Epsom salt baths. I tell every patient about this! Epsom salt is one of mother natures best anti-inflammatories. There is also a large amount of magnesium as well. Magnesium is one of natures best muscle relaxers. So this is how you should use it. Don't read the packaging, instead, pour no less than two pounds of salt into the tub and run full hot water and stir with a wooden spoon. Once dissolved, adjust the temperature to toleration and soak till your finger prune. You will be amazed!
You would first need to be evaluated to better access your individual needs.
Magnesium can be helpful for relaxing muscles. Take the recommended dose. Stay hydrated.

Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 15-20 minutes until the pain feels numb. Be sure to stay awake to avoid frost bite. Take a warm shower and allow the moist heat from the shower to stimulate the neck strain for about 10 minutes. Sleep supine or on your back with pillows low. Get a chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic adjustments help tremendously by removing tension from both the exercised muscles as well as normalizing the nerves that actually control the muscles. You can also heat the affected muscle with a heating pad over a wet wash cloth for up to 20 minutes.
Hope that helps.

Jeff Gilbert, DC
Take a hot bath with Epsom salts

Dr Leonard
A lot depends on if the muscles are just tight or actually strained. For tight muscles, you may use heat to draw in circulation and loosen the tightness. Soaking in Epsom salts bath will provide magnesium salts that will assist loosening as well. If there is swelling/acute inflammation you will want to avoid heat therapy. In this case, the rest is most important. Allowing adequate time for the muscles to heal/repair is crucial. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet including lots of vegetables antioxidants is key. Avoiding aggravating movements is necessary as well to prevent aggravation of the injury. Try to avoid long sustained postures which will cause increased tightness. And of course if you suspect injury, consultation with a licensed chiropractor/physician is recommended.
Slow stretch.
Massage is a great way to relax your muscles. Deep tissue massage is best if you can tolerate it.