Pain of any kind is no fun. When it comes to muscle pain and inflammation, there are soothing techniques and treatments that can make you feel better. Muscle inflammation is usually caused by rigorous activity, unnecessary impact, overexertion, or movements the body is not accustomed to. Tears and sprains can make life unbearable, if only until the muscle regenerations and heals. To say the least, muscle pain can be annoying.
Any injury or soreness that doesn’t subside should be reported to your primary healthcare professional immediately. Muscle tears and sprains can linger longer than needed if not treated by an expert. If you have minor muscle soreness, try these soothing tips for five kinds of muscle pain to apply at home.
1. Minor Muscle Strain
Sometimes, when working at the barn, a twist or move in the wrong direction sends pain to my wrist. Usually, this is caused by lifting a water bucket that is too-full (which could have been avoided in the first place). We have all been there; radical bending and reaching can sometimes result in muscle strain…and pain. The pain is real. It can be immobilizing. None of us want or need down time. Like you, I enjoy being active. Placing an icepack on my wrist for at least 20 minutes really helps relieve the pain. Elevating the area helps, too. If the pain is too great, an Ace bandage compresses the muscle and significantly soothes pain. Nursing strained muscles and taking a rest from strenuous activity and exercise will help the healing process.
2. Sore Knees
If you suffer from sore knees after (or during) physical activity, you are not alone. Millions of people have difficulty with knee soreness and pain. There are many factors that cause the muscle groups around your knees to scream. Don’t mess with knee pain. First, consult with a medical specialist. Don’t make the problem any worse by continuing physical activity. If your knee pain is minor, soothe pain with ice packs, elevating your knees. Compression wraps can relieve symptoms as well.
In his article How to Exercise with Sore Knees, Craig Ballantyne suggests checking your calcium and vitamin levels (nutrition does play a role in muscle wellness). Wear shoes that are adequate and supportive for your activity level. Being overweight can impact joints and muscle function, too. Ballantyne says, “the first thing you need to realize is that your knees are surrounded by a variety of muscles including your quadriceps and hamstrings. By strengthening these muscles, you will give better support to your knees as well as making them healthier and stronger.”
3. Back Strain
Too much sitting and being inactive are two of the hazards that can result in back strain. Reaching, bending and overexerting back muscles are common ailments of people who work hard and workout. For any minor back strain, the best course of action is to stretch and build muscle strength so that pain can be prevented. In the event that you suffer from minor back aches, try soothing back muscles. A hot bath in three cups of Epsom salts will relieve muscle stress. Heat can be a solution as well. A heating pad placed on the affected area for 15 minutes works perfectly for calming muscle soreness. Of course, my favorite remedy for back strain is a visit to my masseuse. A certified masseuse can work the muscle until it relaxes. Ahhh… relief.
4. The Charley Horse
Have you ever had a Charley Horse in your big toe or mid-calf? The muscles constrict and wiggle and… ugh. It’s very painful. I guess it’s from wearing stilettos or other shoes/boots that we love, but shouldn’t wear all day. Being a ‘slave’ to fashion has a price. I have found the best recourse is to stretch and bend my toes and feet first thing in the morning and again before bedtime. This really helps to relax and relieve pain. The experts at WebMD.com expound, “for a Charley Horse in the calf or a cramp in the back of the thigh (hamstring), try putting your weight on the affected leg and being your knee slightly, or sit or lie down with your leg out straight and pull the top of your foot toward your head.” This technique really works.
5. A Pain In The Neck
Maybe you slept wrong on your pillow, or maybe you sat too long at the computer; neck pain due to muscle soreness can haunt you for days. Of course, if you suffer severe neck pain due to injury, see your physician immediately. If you have a minor ache, there are methods to soothe and dispel pain. Pain In the Neck.com says, “if the neck muscle pain is caused by tension then simple relaxation techniques may prove beneficial, such as a long soak in the bath with relaxing lavender oil, a flotation tank session, or simply a good night’s sleep. Engaging in strengthening exercises for both the neck and the core muscles is recommended for everyone, particularly those who have suffered neck muscle pain previously. Activities such as yoga and pilates are excellent for relaxation as well as facilitating correct posture and muscular strength. Products such as neck pain pillows may also help to reduce neck muscle pain.”
There are a myriad of muscle-taming products on the market. Check your local health food store for homeopathy remedies that may work for you, such as herbal soothing patches that are infused with myrrh and frankincense. Diet as well can help relieve pain; papaya is an excellent source of inflammation-fighting enzymes. Analgesics such as vapor rubs and essential oils containing camphor rubbed on the affected area can provide soothing relief.
A discussion about muscle pain and soreness should always include a note about prevention. At the end of the day, you want to avoid muscle cramps and aches. No one wants to deal with stiffness or pain. Be proactive. Stretch before working out. Wear wraps and straps that protect areas where you suffer from overexertion. Consult with a certified fitness instructor for correct form and technique when working out. Extreme work outs are okay, but think ahead and prepare for physical activity and workouts that your body may be unaccustomed to. As the old adage says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
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