We’ve all experienced muscle pain at one time or another. You know, the kind triggered by muscle strain, nerve compression, injury, not to mention joints that are completely worn down.
Whether it happens suddenly or gradually, muscle pain can cause plenty of discomfort – things like tightness, hardness or a bulging feeling in your muscle – during those times you really want to relax and be able to get back to your day-to-day tasks. We all like a quick fix, but turning to painkillers shouldn’t be your first route of treatment. There are foods that are natural muscle relaxers, along with home remedies for muscle relaxants. We’ll talk about those in just a minute.
First, how does that pain and discomfort happen? We’ve all been there! There’s general soreness after exertion, what’s typically caused by micro tears in the muscle. Over a period of time, this soreness fades as the muscles rebuilds itself even stronger to accommodate your physical activities.
A muscle cramp, on the other hand, may be linked to exercise or injury, dehydration, blood flow problems, certain medications, or a lack of minerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. Muscle cramps are characterized by strong, painful contractions or tightening that comes on immediately and lasts anywhere between a few seconds to several minutes.
Then there’s a muscle sprain, an injury to tissue connecting two or more bones at a joint, commonly known as a ligament. In this type of sprain, one or more ligaments is torn if not stretched to its limit. Similarly, muscle strain is the stretching and tearing of a tendon – that’s the tissue that connects bones to muscles. Both sprains and strains generally are caused by overuse or trauma, such as falls, twists and other impacts.
There are two sides to the coin. Whether it’s overwork or underuse – not using muscles is equally as problematic! – muscles will continue to ache and feel spastic during the course of our lives.
But don’t fret; you can try one of these 6 homemade natural muscle relaxers. There are a number of herbs that can help as a natural herbal muscle relaxer, and also foods that are natural muscle relaxers. Each one of these will help to relieve everything from sprains to strains, and muscle soreness to cramps.
1. Massage and movement. A simple massage helps to stimulate blood circulation to an area affected by muscle pain or spasms, speeding up the healing process. Eventually, your muscles will build up, and you’ll be able to do more with far less discomfort. That’s because our muscles tend to want to stay doing whatever they’re doing, unless we force them to change.
In other words, if you feel your muscles tense up, they will remain tensed up. So simply stand up, walk, run, stretch and perform your favorite activities – whatever you can do to stay active as you get older. Massage and movement are some of the most natural muscle relaxants for back pain, especially.
2. Chamomile tea or oil. Containing 36 flavonoids, or compounds, that have anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile is a traditional herbal remedy for many ailments, particularly muscle spasms. You can simply massage chamomile essential oil onto sore muscles in order to provide maximum relief from spasms. Chamomile tea is an herbal muscle relaxer, too!
3. Cherry juice. People who train vigorously place an awful lot of stress on their muscles, but cherry juice can help combat the inflammation and acute muscle pain that long distance runners typically face.
In fact, a May 2010 study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine revealed that drinking tart cherry juice, in particular, minimizes that post-run pain. The study aimed to examine the effects of tart cherry juice as compared to a placebo cherry drink on pain among endurance runners. Simply put, by ingesting tart cherry juice for seven days prior to and during a long distance running event, participants were able to relax their muscles more naturally due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of cherries, according to researchers.
Why not sip a little and reap the benefits? Cherry juice is also helpful as a sleep aid, so you can help ease your pain and get your restorative rest.
4. Blueberry smoothies. Get the benefits of this powerful berry in a delicious smoothie. According to a May 2012 study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, drinking a blueberry smoothie before and after exercise can speed up the recovery of muscles after they’ve been damaged. Blueberries have plenty of antioxidant powers and have been shown to lower stress, inflammation and what’s called exercise-induced muscle damage, or EIMD. That’s good news for the sporting community and aging seniors.
5. Hot peppers: Chili peppers, cayenne peppers and Tabasco peppers all contain a fiery compound called capsaicin, a noted pain-reliever found in many topical ointments. Cook with these beauties for a bit of heat in soups, stews and stir-fries.
A study published in the British Journal of Anaethesia reported daily application of low-concentration capsaicin formulations are supported by meta-analyses of numerous studies. Researchers tested a high-concentration capsaicin 8 percent patch (Qutenza™), approved in the EU and U.S. in 2011.
They found a single 60-minute application in patients with neuropathic pain, for people who’ve experienced shingles, produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks. While we’re not suggesting this patch for joint pain, it shows the power of capsaicin to help manage pain.
6. Magnesium. Mostly found in foods, such as bananas, almonds, legumes and brown rice, magnesium plays an important part in human nutrition. The mineral helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function. Although it happens rarely, early symptoms in those who are deficient in magnesium include – you guessed it – muscle pain.
These homemade natural muscle relaxers just may be the things you need to alleviate your pain, wherever it’s found in the body and whatever the reason. Always remember, though, if your particular pain is severe or even incapacitating, be sure to contact a health care professional straightaway. After all, using these home remedies for muscle relaxants isn’t intended to replace conventional medicine altogether, but offers a first, natural course of treatment.
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