4 simple ways to soothe muscle pain at home

July 25, 2023 0 Comments

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I don’t know about you, but when I have lower back pain or neck stiffness, it not only makes my style difficult, but it seriously interferes with everything else in my life. It turns out I’m not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults reported that they had recently experienced acute lower back pain that lasted at least one day.

While it may be tempting to pop a couple of painkillers and force yourself to get on with life, pretending the pain doesn’t exist will do nothing to eliminate real muscle pain. If you are experiencing severe muscle pain and want to get rid of it as soon as possible, here are some home remedies that can help you feel relief.

4 simple ways to soothe muscle pain at home

Lacrosse ball on a white background.  It can be used to relieve muscle pain.
(Photo: Ben Haslam/Getty)

1. Trigger point therapy

Anyone who knows me knows that I never go anywhere without my lacrosse ball. That’s because this hard rubber ball is the perfect size and density to relieve common muscle pains with trigger therapy. Trigger points are painful, tense areas of muscle that can be found anywhere on the body and are one of the most common causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain. When you rub your shoulder or neck and feel a tight “knot” in the muscles, this is usually a trigger point.

Massage is one way release the trigger point, but it can take days or even weeks to reach someone. You can use a lacrosse ball in a manner similar to the self-myofascial release technique practiced with a foam roller.

To relieve neck and shoulder tension with trigger therapy: Lie on your back and place a lacrosse ball behind your upper trap, the triangular area from your neck to your shoulder blade to your shoulder. Make sure that the ball does not press directly on the bone. You will understand that it is in the right place if you feel how it “works” on the muscle knot. Extend your arm to the side or above your head to better target the trigger point. Hold for 30-60 seconds or until you feel the muscles relax. Repeat on the other side.

To feel relief from muscle pain in the lower back using trigger therapy: Lie on your back and place a lacrosse ball behind the back of your thigh on the side of your tailbone and above one buttock. Bend the same side of the leg and pull the knee toward the ceiling, then release the knee to the side. Keep the other leg straight on the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds or until you feel the muscles relax. Repeat on the other side.

2. Cold and heat therapy

You may be familiar with the RICE acronym for injury treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. While this may ease the pain of acute injuries like sprained ankles, you may actually be working against your natural body mechanisms if you use it on daily muscle aches.

That’s because using cold to treat these pains can do the opposite of what your body intended, explains Joel Cavagnaro, MS, CEO of Level TEN and co-owner of Fit Coach Pro. “Contrary to popular belief, cold therapy, like ice baths, is not particularly good for muscle recovery,” says Cavagnaro. “We must remember that ice, while it may provide temporary relief, reduces inflammation, which in turn can delay healing and recovery. Acute inflammation is our body’s way of healing itself.”

While you can completely freeze a sprained ankle or other acute injury to provide the temporary relief Cavagnaro mentions, make sure it’s only for a short period of time. “The inflammatory response is crucial for wound healing, recovery and recovery,” says Cavagnaro. “So as you can imagine, ‘icing’ something to control swelling and inflammation is the exact opposite of what we want to do for recovery.”

If your muscle pain is chronic and has passed an acute phase, such as neck or back pain, try using heat instead. Surface heat in the form of a heating pad or warm compress can help increase blood flow to the affected muscle, giving it a better chance to heal and recover, which in turn can provide long-lasting relief.

For long-term muscle pain relief with heat: Surface heat in the form of a heating pad or warm compress can help increase blood flow to the affected muscle. Most recommendations are 15 to 20 minutes.

A man takes a bath with Epsom salt
(Photo: moodboard/Getty)

3. Epsom salt bath

For a more ancient way elimination of common muscle pains, look no further than your bathtub. Epsom salt baths have been used for hundreds of years to treat everything from arthritis to insomnia. When dissolved in water, Epsom salts break down into magnesium and sulfate, which your body then absorbs through your skin. Both of these substances are believed to improve detoxification of the body, and magnesium is especially important for relaxation.

Magnesium is also thought to help increase melatonin, the sleep hormone. Taking an Epsom salt bath before bed can help your body relax and prepare for sleep, which is another underutilized way to relieve common muscle pain.

To soak sore muscles in a bath with Epsom salt: Fill the bathtub halfway with hot water and dissolve 1-2 cups of Epsom salt in it. Soak the affected muscle group for at least 15 minutes.

4. Deep stretching

It’s no secret that stretching can relieve muscle pain and reduce chronic tension. The problem is that most of us don’t effectively stretch to allow relaxation to occur.

Your body has built-in mechanisms to prevent muscles from tearing due to excessive tension or overstretching. Depending on the type of stimulus, your muscles will either tighten to prevent injury or relax. When you only stretch for a short period of time, do a quick “bounce”. stretchingor stretching too hard, your muscles will feel the rapid change in tension and may tense up more in response.

Solution, when stretching for muscle pain, these are long, deep stretches that last longer than 30 seconds, preferably several minutes or more. This technique is even more effective when combined with deep breathing, which is why Yin Yoga is such an effective method of recovery. MMake sure you are in a comfortable position that you can hold for longer.

To stretch your quads: Instead of standing on one leg and bringing your foot up to your glutes to stretch your quads, try lying on your stomach in the same position. That way, you don’t have to maintain your balance, allowing the muscles to relax during the stretch.

To stretch your chest and shoulders: Stand in the doorway and place your hands on either side of the door frame. Step forward with one leg, keeping your hands on your frame to stretch your chest.

To stretch the waist: Stand with your feet hip-width apart or wider and focus on your hips as you bend forward, bend forward, bend your chest toward your hips and your head toward the floor. Place your hands on a yoga block or stack of books if they can’t reach the floor, and bend your knees as much or as little as you need.

RELATED: The Best Yoga Poses for Stretching Sore Muscles

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