Muscle aches and pains are often related to muscle overuse, muscle tension, or muscle injury from exercise or physically demanding work. They are common occurrences and could involve more than one muscle. Muscle aches and pains could also involve the ligaments, tendons, and fascia (fascia are the soft tissues that connect the muscles, bones, and organs).
Muscular aches and pains often become apparent after about 12 to 48 hours of the activity that causes the sore muscles. This phenomenon is what is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
This pain could just be a minor issue or it could be severe enough to prevent you from carrying out your daily activities.
Common causes of muscle pain and soreness include; tension or stress to the muscle, overusing the muscle especially without warming it up before strenuous use, and muscular injury or trauma. Muscle pain could also be caused by fibromyalgia, certain medications or electrolyte imbalance (such as deficiencies in calcium and potassium).
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with sore muscles and muscle pains;
- Try to get up and take a stretch often especially if you are a sedentary worker.
- Endeavor to stretch before and after exercises.
- Ensure your warm up before exercises and cool down afterward.
- Ensure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids throughout the day especially before, during, and after exercises.
- Strive to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep to help hasten the healing process.
- You could also opt for meditation and yoga to also help hasten the recovery time.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for sore muscles and muscle aches/pains;
1. Ice Pack
An ice pack can quickly relieve pain and inflammation. It would constrict the blood vessels of the area to minimize the flow of blood thereby reducing pain and discomfort. Simply take a few ice cubes wrapped in a piece of cloth and apply it to the affected muscle for 12-15 minutes. Reapply after every hour for 2-3 days. Alternatively, you may also freeze some vegetables and put it in a cloth bag. Apply the cooled down cloth bag to the sore area.
2. Stretching Exercises
Stretching the sore muscle helps in relieving the muscular aches and pain. You may do light stretching exercises for 15-30 second to release the stiffness. Avoid overstretching the area as it may worsen your condition. Avoid stretching exercises if it is causing more pain. You can try swimming as it helps to gently stretch the muscles and relieve the inflammation.
3. Chamomile Tea
The anti-inflammatory properties of this soothing herb may greatly help in combating sore muscles and muscle pain. It also helps in relaxing the muscles in a natural way. Prepare chamomile tea by brewing dried flowers of chamomile in water and drink three cups of it in a day. Chamomile balms are an easy way to relieve muscle pain when applied topically a few times during the day. You may also use chamomile oil to massage the affected muscles in an effective way.
Ginger is another great remedy for sore muscles and muscle pain. Ginger helps in improving blood circulation and promotes faster healing. Grate some ginger and put it in a cotton bag. Tightly secure it and put it in hot water for half a minute. Let the bag cool down a bit and apply the warm bag on the affected muscles for 12-15 minutes. Do this many times during the day for at least 2-3 days. Alternatively, you may also reap the benefits of ginger by drinking its tea.
If you are experiencing sore muscles after a workout, beans may help you relieve it in a gradual way. Take some black beans and boil it with water. Once the beans become soft and tender, mix some sugar to it. Consume it to relieve the pain. Avoid adding sugar at the beginning as it may make it difficult for the beans to become soft. Another way to use beans for muscle pain is to put some dried beans in bowl and microwave it for less than a minute. Then, wrap the warm beans in a towel and place it over the sore muscles.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Sore muscles and muscle pain can be effectively treated with apple cider vinegar. ACV has anti-inflammatory properties which help in fighting the condition in a natural and effective way. Furthermore, its alkalizing properties on the body is beneficial for reducing inflammation. For this remedy, take two cups of ACV and mix it with warm water in a bathtub. Soak in it for at least 20 minutes to reduce the stiffness and pain. Do this remedy daily until the pain subsides.
7. Hot Water Soak
A hot water soak is proven to reduce pain in a sure shot way, but make sure you follow this remedy after the first 24 hours have passed. It relaxes the muscles and improves the blood flow to the area. This helps in speeding up the healing process. All you have to do is prepare a bathtub by filling it with warm water. Now add some Epsom salt to it and let it dissolve completely. Soak the affected muscles in it for 18-20 minutes. Repeat the process several times daily.
A deficiency of calcium may lead to constant muscle pain. To relieve the condition, it is important to maintain adequate levels of it in the body. Since milk is a rich source of calcium, it helps in reducing musculoskeletal pain in an effective way. You should drink at least 2-3 glasses of milk on a daily basis.
9. Mustard Oil
Being a rubefacient, mustard oil helps in improving the flow of blood, especially on the surface of the skin. This helps in relaxing the stiff muscles and relieves pain. It also promotes healing in an excellent way. Take 10 chopped garlic cloves and heat them with mustard oil (4 tablespoons). Once the garlic turns brownish in color, put off the heat and add a small camphor piece in it. Let it cool, then, strain it. Apply it to the sore area and massage gently. Repeat it several times during the day.
10. Warm Up
Doing some simple warm-up exercises may help in dealing with sore muscles in an excellent way. Warming up prepares your muscles for some work and helps in preventing muscle pain caused by strenuous physical activities and workouts. Start by biking or doing stretches to prepare your muscles for the exercises and activities that follow.
11. Clove Oil
Clove oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body which is beneficial for relieving pain and swelling in the muscles. It also reduces cramps, thereby providing a faster relief from pain. Take some clove oil in a bowl and warm it a little. Apply it to the area of pain and gently massage the area for 5-7 minutes. Do this several times to deal with the condition.
12. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another readily available ingredient that may help you ward off muscular pain in an effective way. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent way to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain of the muscles. You may use 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil in your cooking to reap its benefits. Make sure you use virgin coconut oil.
Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory constituent called curcumin, turmeric helps in naturally reducing the pain associated with sore muscles. Take a cup of milk and add a teaspoon of powdered turmeric to it. Then, heat the mixture for some minutes and consume it two times a day. It would promote healing and reduce the damage caused to the muscles.
Massaging the area, in a gentle way, may help in alleviating stiffness in your muscles. Massage would also promote relaxation and significantly reduce the pain. For this remedy, mix together wintergreen oil and vegetable oil in the ratio 4:1 and use it to massage the sore muscles. Then, wrap that area in a warm towel to relieve the pain.
Hyssop is another potent herb that may help in relieving sore muscles and muscular pain in an effective manner. Take 8 ounces of boiling water and add a tablespoon of the dried herb in it. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then, strain the liquid. Sip the tea twice every day to reduce inflammation and pain in your muscles.
Bananas are loaded with potassium which is effective in relieving muscular pain in a natural way. Muscular fatigue, weakness, and cramps are often associated with a deficiency of potassium in the body. Since bananas help in maintaining the levels of potassium in the body, it prevents muscle pain. Consume ripe bananas or banana milkshake on a regular basis.
Drinking a cup of coffee is proven to be beneficial in reducing muscle pain after a workout in women. It acts by blocking a chemical called adenosine which is released when there is an injury. However, avoid overconsumption of coffee as it may lead to muscle spasms.
Chop some dried roots of marshmallow and add a quarter cup of it in water. Bring it to boil and simmer it for 10 minutes. Then, strain it and drink the tea. You may also apply the solution topically to the painful area.
Adequate rest is essential to reduce further damage and promote healing. A strain on the affected muscle may worsen your condition by aggravating the inflammation. The best way to deal with sore muscles is to take rest and allow the area to heal naturally.
20. Willow Bark
Willow bark is another remedy that works effectively in treating muscle pain. All you have to do is soak 1-2 teaspoons of the bark in some water for 3-5 hours. Strain it, through a sieve, and consume one-third of the solution three times a day.
21. Tart Cherry
To reduce inflammation from the aching muscles you could use tart cherries. Tart cherry has potent anti-inflammatory properties which reduce pain and swelling. Furthermore, it has a high amount of antioxidants which induces faster healing. Simply consume a cup of juice extracted from tart cherries. You may also eat one and a half cup of the cherries after a workout to relieve sore muscles.
22. Black Tea
The antioxidant called theaflavin, present in black tea, is helpful in relaxing stiff muscles, thereby, reducing pain. Black tea also neutralizes harmful free radicals to heal the body naturally. For this remedy, boil half a cup of water and add a teaspoon of dried black tea leaves. Simmer it for some time. Strain the tea after two minutes and drink it. Add some sugar to enhance the taste.
A tea made with rosemary extract not only relaxes the muscles but also reduces inflammation in an incredible way. Simply add 2 teaspoons of rosemary extract in a cup of hot water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes. Then, strain the solution and drink it 2-3 times during a day.
24. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which is a potent analgesic for muscle aches and pains. Take half a cup of coconut oil and add about 5 teaspoons of cayenne pepper in it. Warm it and put it aside to set for 24 hours. Filter the oil and store it in an airtight bottle thereafter. You can then use the oil, in the airtight bottle, to massage the affected muscles to relieve pain as well as inflammation. You may also mix powdered cayenne pepper with olive oil and apply it to the painful area. Secure it with a bandage and let it stay overnight. Repeat it once every day for 2-3 days.
25. Wood Betony
The relaxing properties of wood betony make it an excellent remedy for stiff muscles. Wood betony also helps in reducing high blood pressure and muscle tension. Steep some dried leaves of wood betony in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Filter and consume it to relieve pain. You may also use it to massage the sore area.
26. Blackstrap Molasses
The high amount of calcium and potassium in blackstrap molasses is helpful in strengthening the muscles. As such, it helps relieve muscle aches and pains in an effective way. Add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a glass of warm milk and drink it slowly to reap the benefits.
Meadowsweet has salicylic acid in it which reduces inflammation and relieves pain. Take some dried meadowsweet leaves and put it in a cup of hot water. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then, strain the decoction and consume it when it is warm. Adding a little amount of lemon juice or honey will help in enhancing the taste. Avoid using this remedy if you are intolerant to aspirin.
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