Chronic tension can have a wide variety of negative repercussions on your health. Among them are chronic tension headaches, which usually last for around 30 minutes and can strike several up to several times a day. The precise cause for such tension headaches may be difficult to nail down, but physicians usually recommend a careful analysis of the physical stressors in your life: hunger levels, fatigue, sleeping position, sources of anxiety, etc. When provided with this information, your physician will be able to make recommendations as to what elements of your daily life may benefit from a course of treatment designed to reduce chronic tension.
Both physical and psychological stressors can have a negative physiological impact on the human body. Chronic muscle tension is one such example. Bearing a certain similarity with tension headaches, muscle tension occurs when a muscle is kept in a flexed or tightened state. Normally, muscle tension is part of what allows the body to execute physical movement: the brain sends signals to muscles, which then flex, extend, or contract to allow us to function in our daily lives. However, when muscle tension occurs for an extended period of time (as is the case with chronic tension), a variety of negative effects occur. Muscles depend on a regular re-supply of blood, nutrients, and oxygen in order to function at full capacity. When a muscle is tensed, the blood supply to the muscle itself is reduced. If nutrient, oxygen, and blood supplies are not restored in time, painful muscle spasms (the muscle’s instinctive response to obtain nutrients) may occur. Depending on where they occur in the body, muscle spasms may cause further damage.
Fortunately, patients suffering from muscle spasms and chronic tension can typically take several in-home measures to improve their quality of life. First, take a survey of your physical posture: how long do you sit or stand in a fixed position on a given day? We are so used to sitting and standing during our daily routines that we sometimes forget these routine motions require tension in many of the body’s muscles. Sustained sitting (especially with an excessive slouch and an absence of movement) is a recipe for chronic tension and eventual muscle spasms. Monitor your daily conduct closely and report your findings to your physician. If psychological stressors (such as worrying over finances or family problems) are suspected, your physician may recommend therapy to address those psychological concerns. If you are in a sedentary work environment, take five minutes out of every hour and perform a series of simple calisthenics. Light aerobics will help to restore blood supply and vital nutrients to the body’s muscles, vastly reducing the potential for muscle spasms.