Waking up full of aches and pains can make you feel 100 years old. Whether it is a stiff neck or a tight lower back that causes you to hobble out of bed and limp around your apartment as rigid as Frankenstein's monster, sleeping funny can definitely ruin your day. But instead of cursing The Fates for plaguing you with this torment, or dragging your mattress to the dumpster, there are a few productive things you can do to relieve the pain.
The way we sit at work during the day may exacerbate the misalignment of our spine. If you are parked at a desk from nine to five, and not standing up to take regular breaks, you could be causing your hips to overcompensate for other muscles, bringing on lower back pain. Same goes for slouching over your laptop for hours (this I am definitely guilty of) which may be causing the muscles around your shoulders to tighten. Take a bad night’s rest, add some tight muscles, and you have yourself a painful cocktail, my friend. But never fear! You don’t have to steal a jacuzzi to comfort your achy back. There are a few proven ways to sooth those angry muscles at home so that you can still be productive and pain-free.
Maintain Good Posture
I know a case of the ouchies make you want to double over like Liz Lemon post-cheesy blasters. But bad posture might have caused the muscle aches in the first place, and could exacerbate them further. When you wake up with muscle pain try to keep your chin up, and shoulders back. Or, as my ballet teacher said, before kicking me out of the class for talking, "Picture there is a string pulling the top of your head up to the sky." If you have the option of a standing desk at work — use it. Even if you're still bitter about ballet, good posture is important to combat the computer hunch.
Medicate To Alleviate
When you sleep on your back funny, the pain is most likely caused by inflammation. A great first step to ease the pain is to take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen with your breakfast. Some of these NSAIDs also can come in topical cream or patches for more location specific, instead of full-body treatment.
Give Yourself A Rub
Give yourself a mini massage to apply pressure to, and loosen up, tight muscles. Take it to the next level by working a homeopathic pain relief cream into the sore space. There are many over-the-counter creams that boast natural muscle relief using ingredients to heat, cool, numb, and increase blood-flow to the affected area. Menthol, camphor, arnica, and even cayenne are typical ingredients, with soothing properties, found in these balms.
Run A Bath
Don't have time to find a hot tub or go for a swim? Run yourself a hot bath and sprinkle in a healthy dose of Epsom salts. The hot water will sooth and loosen sore muscles, and take the pressure off your joints, while the magnesium sulfate of the salts is a folk remedy used to relieve muscle pain.
Harness Your Inner Yogi
Stretching and relaxing meditation can help comfort your achy back. A regular full-body stretching routine, like yoga, has been shown to significantly help chronic lower back pain, as well as supporting posture, and strengthening the core muscles that support the spine. If you don't have time for that sun salutation today, make sure to at least stand up and stretch your legs and spine every twenty minutes or so.
Meditation and mindfulness can also be great tools for reducing physical and emotional pain. A recent study even found that mindful meditation reduced physical pain 27 percent and emotional pain by 44 percent. There are many apps and articles that will lead you through these meditations. So definitely make some time to breath deeply.
Avoid High Heels
If you are suffering from lower back pain, it's time to stow your stilettos and put away your pumps. Frequently wearing high heels can create an unstable posture, forcing your body to overcompensate for being off-balance. High heels that put significant weight on the ball of your foot, can force your body to lean forward, placing your spine out of alignment, and increasing pressure on the lower back.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for my stretching break!