Starting a new workout routine can seem like a daunting task, especially when you know you’ll be sore after. While researchers aren’t quite sure what causes delayed-onset muscle soreness, they suspect it’s the result of microscopic tears in your muscles, coupled with the inflammation that follows an injury. By instinct, we want to immediately relieve the pain the moment we first feel it, looking for a quick remedy that will go to work fast. Some forms of pain require more intense remedies, but there are some natural remedies that you can use to help with muscle and joint pain.
When muscles tighten (as they do when they’re overworked), they hamper the circulatory system, thereby preventing nutrients from reaching the muscle cells in adequate quantities. Moreover, lactic acid builds up in the stressed tissue, causing soreness. It makes sense, then, that the first step toward bringing some vitality back into your aching frame is to get the blood pumping to those undernourished cells again by using natural herbs remedies for sore muscles (1).
When it comes to addressing sore muscles what might work for one person may not be suitable for another and as a result, we cannot say that one home remedy is better than all the others. That being said, there are a number of different ways to address discomfort in the muscles.
Arnica is a perennial flower found in the mountains of Europe and Siberia. Its bright yellow flowers have a long-standing traditional use of relieving muscle and joint pain, as well as the appearance of bruising. It’s used in Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Dit Da Jow recipes, a topical trauma wine, created to treat muscle pain, bruises, and internal damage. Arnica contains lactones which, in the herbal format, contribute to an anti-inflammatory effect (2).
The turmeric root has been shown to have great anti-inflammatory properties and many people add turmeric powder to sauces, smoothies, or tea. But curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, only makes up about 3% of it, so experts often suggest that people take curcumin supplements in order to get an effective amount (3).
Chamomile is an ancient herb that’s used to treat a variety of ailments, including muscle spasms (4). It contains 36 flavonoids, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. You can massage chamomile essential oil onto affected muscles to provide relief from spasms. Chamomile tea can also help relax sore muscles.
Ginger is another common spice that you can easily find by opening up your kitchen cupboard! Traditional uses of ginger include treating nausea and digestive issues however, ginger is now up-and-coming for another amazing benefit – pain relief. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to function as a COX-2 inhibitor in a similar way that some arthritis medications function (5).
Capsaicin, a substance found in cayenne pepper, is a natural muscle relaxant that’s often recommended to people who live with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis (6). It can be added to food or you can find cayenne pepper in capsule form and as a cream. When used as a cream, you can apply it to areas affected by muscle spasms.
People who have regular muscle pain or spasms might be deficient in vitamin D (7). This vitamin comes in many forms, including liquids, tablets, and capsules. You can also get it in foods like eggs, fish, and fortified milk. Getting regular exposure to sunlight is another way to get vitamin D!
Magnesium is essential for human nutrition, as it supports normal muscle and nerve function (8). Although it’s rare, early symptoms in people who are deficient in this mineral include muscle pain. This mineral is mostly found in foods such as bananas, almonds, legumes, and brown rice. It’s also available as a supplement.
Many people with soreness want to treat their pain without the expense and potential side effects of medications. There are several natural ways to decrease pain and improve day-to-day living. Perhaps the best and most natural way to relax your muscles is to rest. Make sure to get lots of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and try not to overwork the affected muscle.