Many of the following options have been used for centuries, we got it right the first time and have been trying to make pain relief easier ever since. Drugs are great when used properly and very convenient, but if you can try one of these methods it will most likely bring long-term relief instead of just putting a band-aid on it.
I love taking a weekly detox bath to carve out time for myself, put on a hair mask, a face mask and to soak uninterrupted for 40 minutes. Soaking in hot water no matter what you add to it can help relieve pain, lower blood pressure and make arteries more flexible for vascular health.
DIY Detox Bath
Mix all these ingredients in the hottest water you can stand to sit in and soak for anywhere between 20-40 minutes. Your heart rate will go up and you may get a little sweaty, but power through it. Initially, you may only be able to handle 20 minutes but if you make it a routine you will be able to watch an entire episode of your favorite show. Drink a ton of water before, during and after.
The Epsom salt relieves inflammation that could be causing pain, and soaking in it can also helping with bruising and allow you to absorb magnesium through your skin. Magnesium can help give you some good feels and offset depression. Apple Cider Vinegar can also help with joint pain but I really add it for the skin benefits. It’s also a fungus fighter and can help with hemorrhoids since sitting in the bath is kind of like a big sitz bath. We all know and love Bentonite clay as a face mask mixed with water or apple cider vinegar, but your skin if your largest organ and extends past the face! Soaking your whole body in it is great for the skin and is a big part of the detox process since it draws out the toxins.
Boiron Arnica Gel is one of my favorite topical muscle pain relievers. This one is not greasy and it doesn’t have a strong scent like tiger balm, yet it still is nice and cooling. As a bonus, it works on bruises and stiff joints as well!
Peppermint lotion is a nice, natural way to soothe soreness due to it’s tinging and cooling sensation. I love this one by Dr. Bronner’s, their products are all natural and use high-quality oils very liberally. You can also take any one of your favorite lotions and add Peppermint essential oil to it, just don’t be too heavy handed with it and make sure you mix well before every use! One of my favorite combos is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and peppermint oil, it smells like mint chocolate!
Infrared Saunas use a modest 115-130 degree heat that penetrates your skin to heat you up internally, sounds scary but it’s really not compared to a traditional dry sauna that can get between 170-200 degrees. It helps relieve pain by improving circulation while detoxing and aiding in weight loss. The benefits are huge and you don’t even have to leave your home to get to one, you can get one of these portable infrared saunas that fold up under your bed when you aren’t using it.
Acupressure consists of laying on a mat of plastic spikes, or a “bed of nails”. This stimulates the skin and accesses pressure points that release endorphins to relieve pain. You can lay on it, you can stand on it, though admittedly that is hard, and the neckroll pillow feels great. They also have a neck and head pillow that cradles the back of your head and an acupressure body strap you can apply anywhere, even at work.
Anyone who has been in a gym or a physical therapists office has seen a foam roller, but they are great for targeting muscle pain from lactic acid build up. Those couple days after a hard workout can be pretty brutal, so invest in a foam roller and embrace more pain because foam rolling is not a walk in the park. I contributed to a Kickstarter for this travel foam roller called Neofit, and it’s now on pre-order.
Yes, the heating pad has been around for a while, but its effectiveness in soothing a variety of muscle pain makes it a popular option for many people. Just don’t rely on it too much or you put yourself at risk for toasted skin syndrome! This is when you slowly and minimally burn the top layer of your skin and it creates and splotchy pattern. This can happen if you sit in front of a fireplace for too long as well. Using a heating pad before stretching or foam rolling can help loosen up those muscles.
Yes, folks, studies show swearing can get you through a painful situation. So when all else fails, use your favorite expletive, it increases your heart rate and decreases your pain reception.
How do you deal with muscle aches and pain? Any tips I missed?