Everyone experiences muscle soreness or involuntary muscle spasms at some point in life. The pain can range from mild to excruciating, making you feel as though you cannot move. Spasms mostly occur in the arms, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, or in the lower back. While patience is necessary when it comes to muscle soreness, we all want something that is fast acting.
For quick relief, many people turn to over-the-counter muscle relaxers, which are not designed to help the muscular system. Muscle relaxers target the nervous system and they do not address the problem; rather, they only stop communication between the nervous system and the brain. This temporary “shut-off” isn’t just targeted to the painful area, though; the entire body is affected, which is why many people experience brain fog after taking these medications. And they take more when the pain returns.
You don’t have to get hooked on medications because there are natural remedies that are designed to specifically target the sore muscle. Outside of consistently using an ice pack, which is beneficial for reducing inflammation and soreness, try the following remedies to help naturally relieve muscle soreness.
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper acts as a natural muscle relaxant, offering anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties to reduce stiffness and inflammation. Several studies have found that topical application of capsaicin cream helped manage soft tissue pain. Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper with two tablespoons of warm extra virgin olive oil. Apply this to the painful area as needed.
Arnica has been a powerful remedy for exercise related, inflammatory injuries for quite some time. Topical application of arnica oil, cream, or ointment has helped to reduce pain and muscle damage. Thymol, which is found in arnica, acts as a vasodilator that works to reduce fluid accumulations. It also stimulates white blood cell flow to help disperse congested blood that may be trapped in joints, bruises, or muscles.
If you are experiencing muscle spasms or cramps, you may want to turn to Epsom salt to boost your magnesium levels. Regular muscle spasms or cramps can actually be symptoms of magnesium deficiency. The magnesium in Epsom salt is easily absorbed by the skin, which helps promote muscle relaxation. It also works to relax the nervous system and remove toxins that may contribute to inflammation and pain. Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt in a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes once a week.
Pain is the body’s way of telling you to rest that area in order for healing to begin. One of the best ways to relieve muscle pain is to get a massage. A skilled massage therapist can help to relieve tension in the area and the rest of the surrounding muscles. Recent studies found that massage therapy helped to improve bone and muscle pain management. Get a massage at least once a month to lower stress levels and relieve muscle tension.
A frequent herb used in the Mediterranean diet, rosemary works to calm inflamed muscle tissue and reduce overall soreness. Upon ingestion, rosemary helps to improve blood circulation to promote swift recovery. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties have been effective for those with arthritis and muscle pain. Add one teaspoon of dried rosemary to one cup of hot water, steep for ten minutes, and then strain the rosemary out. Drink this three times daily. You can also add 15 drops of rosemary essential oil to a lukewarm bath and soak in it for 20 minutes.
Don’t Rest Too Much
Unless the pain is extremely severe, you will benefit from mobilizing the muscle to reduce possible inflammation. Moving at a slower pace is perfectly fine, but motion aids the healing process. You may want to try foam rolling to help speed up your recovery time, improve blood flow, and provide myofascial release.