Limping after leg day? Aching after a tough workout focused on your abs? When you go for the burn, your muscles let you know it. Even though the saying goes ”No pain, no gain”, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice some self care and soothe those aching quads and glutes. Plus, the sooner your muscles recover, the easier it will be to get back to your routine. Here are the five best cures for the pain that comes from being hard core.
Himalayan bath salts
Studies have found that warm salt baths can ease inflammation - which includes sore muscles. Himalayan bath salts, in particular, are rich in minerals that alleviate muscle cramping and also act as intense detoxifiers. Add in a bit of essential oils like rosemary or lavender to amp up the relaxation factor.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The magic comes from curcumin, which also gives this spice its bright golden color. Loads of studies point towards its efficacy as a natural inflammatory which can help ease the pain of sore muscles (not to mention a host of other ailments). Golden milk combines this powerhouse ingredient with a few other essential ingredients to create a drink that’s both tasty and soothing. To make a basic version, combine a half teaspoon of ground turmeric with a cup of coconut or almond milk and a pinch of black pepper (to help the body absorb the curcumin). Simmer on the stove, then add honey to taste.
Also called Wolf’s Bane, Arnica is a plant that’s long been used as a traditional remedy for muscle strains, bruising, soreness and even sprains and injuries. It can be applied directly onto the skin as a salve, gel, or compress or taken internally as a homeopathic remedy. One study into arnica’s effectiveness found no difference between it and ibuprofen in the treatment of musculoskeletal arthritic pain.
Heat and Cold
Alternately applying heat and cold packs is a classic remedy to treat muscle pain for a very simple reason: it works! The ice decreases blood flow and therefore helps to ease inflammation and pain while heat helps muscles relax by expanding the blood vessels. Alternating between the two - called contrast therapy - brings both methods together to assist in easing overstimulated muscles.
Sometimes you might not have time to make a tea or have a bath and that’s when our modern pharmaceutical age can rush to the rescue. Taking the occasional NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) like Advil can help to quickly ease muscle pain but making pill popping a habit is not recommended. While a commonly utilized treatment, NSAIDs do carry well-known risks if used too frequently and at high dosages.
While you don’t have to be in pain all the time to get into great shape, sometimes it does happen. The next time that killer workout does you in, try these remedies to help you ease the pain and get back in the game.