Relaxation Techniques to Manage Back Pain: Progressive Relaxation

The majority of relaxation techniques designed to help people copy with general stress and the onset of severe anxiety usually involve a combination of deep breathing exercises along with a mental imagery of a place that brings relaxation or a memory of happiness to the person. Progressive relaxation is one relaxation technique that involves more of a whole body exercise, rather than just deep breathing, to bring the person closer to a state of stress-free relaxation. Progressive relaxation involves targeting the muscles of the body, and alternative exercises of muscle tension and relaxation. Many of the body's muscle groups are targeted in this series of exercises from the head to the toes.

To practice progressive relaxation, begin by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath, filling your chest with clean air, and then breath all the way out from your chest down to y our abdomen. Imagine the stress flowing out of your body as you slowly let your breath out. Next, you will focus on alternately flexing and relaxing the muscles of your lower body , beginning with your feet and calves. Slowly relax and tense your feet and calves. Tense up the muscle groups in your calves and feet, holding a state of tenseness for several seconds, before relaxing them . Then begin to work your way up, until you have exercised the majority of the muscle groups of your body, until you have finally tensed and relaxed the muscles of your neck and face. Continue deep breathing throughout the entire workout and enjoy the feeling of relaxation and euphoria that will begin to come over you by the end of the entire routine. If you don't get the results you are looking for, you may consider making an appointment with a professional to guide you in refining your techniques towards achieving a mastery of this routine.



Progressive relaxation, also known as PMR, may be performed while a person is lying down or sitting. The person usually performs this entire sequence of breathing and muscular exercises with their eyes closed, beginning with the breathing exercises at the beginning of the workout. The entire series usually concludes after 30 minutes. Beginners of this routine should demonstrate patients with both their techniques and desired results, as it may be several sessions before the desired health benefits are experienced.

This relaxation technique was first developed by Edmund Jacobson, an American M.D. Doctor who early on in his medical discovered the link between anxiety and muscular tension. The reader of this article may ask, "If muscular tension is linked to anxiety, how can an exercise that involves contracting the muscles fix the problem?" Ultimately, the act of alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles has an overall effect of bringing about a state of relaxation to the mind and the physical body. The cycles of tension and relaxation involve 10 seconds of tension, followed by 20 seconds of release before moving on to the next muscle group.

While this routine involves a specific physical component, namely exercises to the major muscle groups, there is also the important component of mental imagery. While the person is breathing and actively tensing/relaxing the muscles, they are also focusing their thoughts on thoughts that involve optimistic thoughts about the future success of this routine or persons or places that have brought them happiness in the past or present.