Progressive muscle relaxation


A whole body experience

When you’re in pain, often your muscles become tense and sore, adding to your overall pain. Progressive muscle relaxation helps you ease this muscle tension. It’s also a useful technique to use if you’re having problems getting to sleep.

Here’s a progressive muscle relaxation exercise for you to try:

First you need to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Make the environment as relaxing as possible – turn the lights down if you can and put some soothing music on to block out any distracting noises. If you’re comfortable to do so, close your eyes. It can help you focus.

Relax your body. Breathe slowly and gently. Take your time and focus on smooth, even breaths.

Starting at your feet, point the toes of your right foot, slowly flexing and tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold this for a few seconds. Then relax.

Now slowly point the toes of your left foot, flexing and tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold this for a few seconds. Then relax.

Move on to your calves. Slowly curl the toes of your right foot towards your right calf, tightening the muscles. Notice the tension. Hold for a few seconds. And relax. Repeat for your left calf.

Continue to work your way through your muscle groups, tensing the muscles as you go, noticing the tension and holding for a few seconds, then relax.

Right foot – point your toes, relax

Left foot – point your toes, relax

Right calf – curl your toes towards your calf, relax

Left calf – curl your toes towards your calf, relax

Right thigh – tighten the muscles, relax

Left thigh – tighten the muscles, relax

Buttocks – squeeze the muscles, relax

Stomach – suck it in, relax

Chest – breathe in deeply filling your lungs and chest, then breathe out

Back – pull your shoulder blades together, relax

Shoulders – shrug your shoulders up to your ears, relax

Neck – pull your head back slowly as if you’re looking at the ceiling, relax

Forehead – raise your eyebrows as far as possible, relax

Eyes – squeeze your eyes closed, relax

Jaw – open your mouth wide, relax

Tips

  • Don’t tense your muscles so hard that they cramp or make you feel additional pain.
  • Don’t tense and relax areas where you’re having intense pain. You might want to try an alternative form of relaxation, or skip that muscle group.
  • This relaxation technique can be done anywhere and can be done while sitting or lying down.

Personal perspectives

I learned this in primary school and have used it ever since. It’s second nature now. – Lisa

Back To Contents




Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

Useful Links


Key Conditions

Copyright by Musculoskeletal Australia 2018. All rights reserved

SITEMAP
ABN: 26 811 336 442ACN: 607 996 921