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After a long, hard day it can be hard to unwind, especially if your muscles are tight or tense. You may have pulled them while exercising or just strained them from too much movement during the day. The good news is that your muscles will heal with a little time and rest. To make yourself comfortable in the meantime, read through our tips for loosening your muscles.

Things You Should Know

  • Take a relaxing shower or soak in a bath to relax your muscles while you wash up.
  • Some light cardio, stretching, or yoga will stimulate blood flow and help your muscles relax.
  • OTC pain relievers and magnesium supplements will help ease any pain you’re experiencing.
  • A deep-tissue massage, acupuncture, or a realignment at a chiropractor’s office may resolve specific muscle pains you’re experiencing.

3
Hold a heating pad or electric blanket against the muscles. Download Article

5
Work through progressive muscle relaxation. Download Article

6
Perform stretches or yoga. Download Article

  1. Basic yoga poses and gentle stretches reduce stiffness and get the blood flowing. Get comfortable and take a deep breath as you slowly get into a pose or stretch a tense muscle. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and slowly release the stretch. To target specific muscles:[6]
    • Pull the top of your foot toward your torso with your leg outstretched. This stretch targets your calves.
    • Stand with a leg stretched out and toes pointed down to work the muscles in the front of your legs.
    • Slowly rotate your ankle and foot in circles for a good stretch along your lower legs.
    • Raise your shoulders up toward your head and drop them back down. Then, rotate your shoulders in small circles. These stretch muscles in your shoulders.
    • Lean your head to one shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Then, lean your head to the opposite shoulder for a good stretch along your neck.

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Add a magnesium supplement to your diet. Download Article

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Apply a topical muscle relaxant to the area. Download Article

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Visit a chiropractor for an adjustment. Download Article

  1. Tell the chiropractor where you're experiencing muscle pain. They'll manipulate the small joints of your bones so your muscles are properly aligned. This can relieve pain and improve your flexibility. Some chiropractors also use massage therapy, so talk with yours about what services you're looking for.
    • You might feel better after just one visit, but if you've had lasting muscle pain or tightness, it might take a few more visits to get the results you want.
    • Check with your insurance company to see if you've got chiropractic coverage. You may have to see a chiropractor in your network to have it paid for.
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Try acupuncture to release tension. Download Article

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Talk with your doctor about prescription treatments. Download Article

  1. Schedule an appointment if you have muscle pain that doesn't improve. Usually, your muscles will loosen over time with a little rest, but if you're in pain or your muscles constantly seem tight, contact your doctor. They'll probably want to do an exam to figure out why your muscles are strained. As a treatment, they may prescribe a strong topical or oral muscle relaxant.[12]
    • For example, they might prescribe carisoprodol or cyclobenzaprine for muscle spasms. If you're in severe pain, they may give you diazepam.
    • Many of these medications are very effective but habit-forming so it's important to take them exactly as your doctor directs.
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  • Question
    How do you loosen tight muscles?
    Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT
    Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist
    Jason Myerson is a Physical Therapist and a Certified Orthopedic Specialist. He is affiliated with Performance Physical Therapy & Wellness with clinics located in Connecticut. He serves as adjunct faculty in the Physical Therapy Department at Quinnipiac University. Jason specializes in helping active people get back to hobbies, activities, and sports they love while utilizing an integrated approach to wellness. He holds an MA in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Arcadia University. He is Residency and Fellowship trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, achieved a Doctorate in Manual Therapy (DMT) and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT).
    Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist
    Expert Answer

    Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer.

    The heat from a hot pack or hot shower can help relax your muscles. You can also try massaging the area. Doing a light workout with gentle range of motion exercises can increase blood flow to tight muscles and loosen them up as well.
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      Warnings

      • If you've had heart trouble in the past or are over 65, talk with your doctor before using a steam room or sauna.
      • Talk with your doctor before adding a supplement or taking prescription medication. They can explain possible side effects and risks that are associated with the product.
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      References

      1. Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 April 2020.
      2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/reasons-to-take-a-bath/
      3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3808259/
      4. Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 April 2020.
      5. Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT. Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 April 2020.
      6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350825
      7. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/za1086
      8. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
      9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/self-care-approaches-to-treating-pain/art-20367322

      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Physical Therapist & Certified Orthopedic Specialist
      This article was co-authored by Jason Myerson, DPT, DMT, OCS, FAAOMPT and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Jason Myerson is a Physical Therapist and a Certified Orthopedic Specialist. He is affiliated with Performance Physical Therapy & Wellness with clinics located in Connecticut. He serves as adjunct faculty in the Physical Therapy Department at Quinnipiac University. Jason specializes in helping active people get back to hobbies, activities, and sports they love while utilizing an integrated approach to wellness. He holds an MA in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Arcadia University. He is Residency and Fellowship trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, achieved a Doctorate in Manual Therapy (DMT) and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT). This article has been viewed 186,448 times.
      7 votes - 71%
      Co-authors: 22
      Updated: September 24, 2022
      Views: 186,448
      Article SummaryX

      To relax stiff muscles, try taking a deep breath as you squeeze the muscle with your hand for 5 seconds, then exhale as you slowly release your hand. Keep doing this for 5 minutes to increase blood circulation, which will help relax the muscle. You can also try soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt for 15 minutes, since Epsom salt is known to help reduce inflammation of the muscles. Alternatively, lie flat on your back or sit up straight with your legs crossed, and take slow, deep breaths to mentally reduce muscle tension through meditation. For more advice from our Medical reviewer, including how to relax muscles with nutritional supplements and pain medication, keep reading.

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      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 186,448 times.

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