We all overdo it sometimes and pay later with aches and pains. That’s when many people reach for their NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. This may be alright if we are talking about occasional use, but prolonged use of these drugs is not recommended. For those looking for more natural solutions for aches and pains, read on.
What Causes Aches and Pains?
Sore muscles are often caused by doing some type of work or exercise that your muscles are not used to. I usually am sore when I first get out each Spring and start working in my garden using muscles that have been pretty dormant all winter. According to Ethel Frese, PT, DPT, CCS, associate professor of Physical Therapy at St. Louis University, this type of soreness comes from microdamage done to muscle fibers and connective tissue. You feel the resulting aches and pains within 48 hours. Sore joints usually are caused by inflammation from overuse or an injury. Inflammation is the body’s response to foreign invaders, irritation or injury and is characterized by redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Sometimes the body attacks itself with inflammation even when there are no foreign substances. Certain types of arthritis are good examples of the body misinterpreting the need for defensive action. These types of arthritis are called autoimmune diseases, in which the body’s normal immune system attacks and damages its own tissues.
Natural Solutions to Aches and Pains
Frese recommends doing warm up exercises before engaging in an exercise that will cause soreness and once muscles are warmed up from the exercise, then do stretching. You can also support your joints by strengthening muscle through weight bearing exercises. This can help prepare your muscles for whatever activity you will be engaging in that your muscles aren’t used to. Stretching your body on a regular basis can improve the oxygenation in your body, relieve muscle tension and fatigue and increase your physical stamina. Doing just 15-20 minutes of light yoga or stretching in the morning regularly can help prepare your body for whatever physical activities lie ahead.
Muscle and joint pain can stem from inflammation due to damage from free radicals in your body. Free radicals result from conditions such as stress, heavy exercise, overwork, poor nutrition, and environmental toxicity. They damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Antioxidants attack free radicals and get them out of your body, relieving pain, inflammation, and chronic symptoms in the process. Adding antioxidants to your diet can help give your body a fighting chance against free radicals, so when you know you’re going to be doing extra physical workouts, load up on fruits and veggies. Vitamin C is one antioxidant that has especially been linked to helping prevent sore muscles. Research shows that spices like ginger and curry are natural anti-inflammatory spices so adding those to your diet can also help relieve soreness due to inflammation.
Magnesium is an essential ingredient for muscle relaxation and overall body calm. Many of us lack magnesium. If your muscles are sore and tense, and you find that you just can’t relax, consider adding magnesium to your daily regimen. Just be sure to start slowly, since once your body has absorbed enough magnesium it will release the rest via your colon, usually in the form of diarrhea. Magnesium rich foods include green vegetables such as spinach, cereals and grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and bran, lentils, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and fruits such as bananas and figs.
Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps your body produce insulin which is needed for muscle building. They also help replenish your energy after an extreme workout by replacing glycogen and glucose. Many experts also recommend adding a lean source of protein such as chicken or dairy to your after exercise complex carb grain snack.
Supplements That Do It All
Here’s an easy solution for dealing with your aches and pains from an active lifestyle, exercise, sports or overdoing it physically. This box of 60 packets gives you 30 packets of supplements to take before a workout and 30 to take after a workout – two packets each a day for a month’s supply. The capsules in these packets have a variety of ingredients already measured out for you that:
- provide a nutrient rich, whole food source for physical energy
- have amino acids useful for reducing muscle damage
- have anti-inflammatory properties
- support joints and cartilage
- have antioxidants to aid against damage from free radicals
- provide protein rich plant sterols that support sports performance
- provide cellular nutrition
- nourish and protect the body from tissue breakdown resulting from the intensity of post-workout
Don’t let your aches and pains keep you from doing the things you want to do and from keeping an active lifestyle. Using some or all of these natural solutions for aches and pains can help keep you active without all the sore muscles and achy joints afterwards.
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