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8 Easy Self Care Tips to Relieve Muscle Fatigue

We hear a lot about the importance of year round self care, but taking care of our health and wellbeing during the colder months may be even more important. In particular, muscle fatigue and pain can be exacerbated for people with Muscular Dystrophy during winter.

Today I’m sharing my 8 easy self care tips to relieve muscle fatigue. These are simple things I do whenever I’m feeling rundown and experiencing muscle fatigue and pain. Hopefully, you’ll find some of these ideas helpful for easing your muscle fatigue.

An Pinterest image showing two photos of Emma, one of her sitting in bed and another sitting in a hot tub. Text reads "8 self-care tips for muscle fatigue".

Disclaimer: I am not a specialist and don’t claim to be one. I am sharing my own personal tips on how I manage muscle fatigue as someone with Muscular Dystrophy who experiences muscle fatigue regularly. Please speak to your doctor, consultant or physiotherapist if you are suffering muscle fatigue and struggling to manage it.

8 Easy Self Care Tips to Relieve Muscle Fatigue

1. Take a Hot Shower/Bath

There is nothing better than a hot shower or bath when you are feeling sore and achy. I love sitting in the shower and letting the hot water ease my sore, tired muscles. I find the hot water to be great therapy especially when I’m experiencing muscle fatigue. This is one of the reasons I love accessible lodges with hot tubs and a hot tub hoist

Be extra kind to yourself by using your favourite pamper products. If you have a bath, why not enjoy a cosy bubble bath with lots of bubbles and your favourite muscle soak. I remember having baths as a child at my Gran’s house and her pouring in lots of Raddox muscle soak. Ah, the memories!

Emma sitting in a hot tub. She has her dark hair tied up in a bun. She is wearing a pink bikini top and is surrounded by trees.
Emma enjoying a soak in an accessible hot tub.

2. Wrap Up in a Blanket

I love a nice cosy blanket in the colder months but more so when I’m sore and tired. Wrapping a fluffy blanket around my legs while sitting in my wheelchair is pure warmth and comfort for my usually cold legs.

I always feel more relaxed when I have a blanket over my legs and I often lay a heat pad on my thighs underneath my blanket on days when my legs are sore. The heat works great at easing the pain.

3. Exercise and Stretch 

Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you have muscle fatigue. It may well have been the cause of your fatigue. That’s why it’s important to find the right balance for you rather than doing too much or not enough.

However, stretching our muscles is so important and we should aim to do it daily. Stretching can improve muscle recovery, pain, energy levels, and posture as well as relax tight muscles. So it is particularly important to stretch during periods of muscle fatigue.

I do my main arm and leg stretches once a day and additional stretches throughout the day to relieve pain and tension in my arms and neck.

A photo collage. First photo shows Emma sitting in her wheelchair in the livingroom. Her mum/carer is holding Emma's arm up in the air to stretch her muscles. The second photo shows Emma and her mum doing her leg stretches.
Emma doing her daily arm and leg stretches.

4. Take Regular Rest Breaks

It may seem an obvious, easy solution but taking regular rest breaks can actually be the most difficult to implement. Trust me I know! It’s so easy to get caught up in whatever I’m doing and lose track of time, whether it’s working, or any other activity. But honestly, it is vital to stop for frequent breaks to allow our muscles time to rest and change position.

Doing any activity such as sitting at the computer for too long is putting our muscles, especially the neck and shoulder in strenuous positions. I often suffer because of this so I now take regular rest breaks every 30 minutes, sometimes every 20 minutes during periods of muscle fatigue.

Simple things like ensuring my arms are always resting on my armrests, pillow or table help too.

5. Tilt and Position Changes

Just like taking regular rest breaks, I also find it helps to tilt my wheelchair throughout the day. This helps take the pressure off my neck muscles and my back. It also feels good because it’s changing my position from sitting upright.

I don’t always use my headrest, but I will put it on in the evening when I’m sitting watching TV with my wheelchair tilted back. Sometimes when I’m feeling really sore and uncomfortable the best way to completely change my position is to lie in bed for a little while.

Emma sitting in her wheelchair in a tilted position. Emma is smiling at the camera.
Emma using the tilt function on her wheelchair to recline and change position.

6. Eat Tasty Healthy Meals

I know I always feel better and have more energy when I’m eating well. A balanced and varied diet is best as it provides a range of nutrients and vitamins. This as well as getting the right balance of calorie intake helps with energy levels.

7. Massage

Massage therapy works wonders at relieving my sore muscles. The warmth from the hands and gentle kneading of my muscles and soft tissue feels amazing and almost instantly reduce muscle tension. It also forces me to stop whatever I’m doing and just relax and enjoy. Massage also helps improve circulation, and joint mobility and reduces stress. Perfect!

8. Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleep patterns can have an effect on energy levels so having a good night’s sleep is key. But more so for people with muscle weakness like Muscular Dystrophy. This is because our bodies need vital rest during sleep in order for our muscles to recover and repair.

Any type of activity as well as repetitive or high-energy tasks will put a lot of strain on our muscles. When our muscles are fatigued they need time to recover/reset. Whenever I am experiencing muscle fatigue, I make sure I get more sleep. The perfect reason to sleep in late.

Emma is sitting up in bed wearing green satin pj top with flamingoes. Emma is looking out the large ceiling to floor window overlooking the city.
Emma relaxing in bed.

Why I’ve Learnt How to Reduce Muscle Fatigue

Many of the tips above have been given to me over the years by my Neuromuscular Physiotherapist who is a wonderful source of help and support.  I have implemented them into my daily routine, but as Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy is a progressive muscle wasting condition, it means my needs and abilities are gradually changing over time and therefore I constantly need to adapt to new ways of doing things.

Some days are better than others, but these tips help me relieve muscle fatigue. And I hope it helps ease your muscle fatigue and pain. I am not a specialist, so please speak to your doctor, consultant or physiotherapist if you are suffering muscle fatigue and struggling to manage it.

To find out more about what muscle fatigue is, what causes muscle fatigue and more ways to manage it, read this post I wrote Fatigue Management: Ways to Manage Muscle Fatigue with Muscular Dystrophy

You might also enjoy

What is Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (and how does it affect me)?
Love In The Time Of Dystrophy
5 Things I Do Differently Living With Muscular Dystrophy

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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2 Responses

  1. Can you give me the manufactures info on the standing frame/transfer piece of equipment you showed awhile back that you & your sister use? I have very small space in my bedroom & bath …

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