Get back on your feet with home solutions for muscle soreness

July 29, 2015

If your workouts are few and far in between, you're likely no stranger muscle soreness. These home remedies should get you up and running again.

Get back on your feet with home solutions for muscle soreness

Are you limiting your workouts to the weekend? Then you've probably learned that infrequent physical exertion often reaps its revenge the following day in the form of sore, stiff muscles.

Achy muscles are a harmless but unpleasant phenomenon that usually disappears by itself after a few days, and is best alleviated through heat applications. If you train regularly and feel fit, you're not likely to suffer unduly from this malady. But muscle cramps can also be due to overload, or other causes such as circulatory disorders or a mineral deficiency.

  • Take it easy during the first 12–48 hours. Sore muscles don't have full function, and continued strenuous demands carry a heightened risk of injury.
  • A hot bath can help you feel better. Add some hay flowers or moor mud, plus spruce needle or mountain pine extracts for a soothing effect. The caveat: avoid heat for two to three hours after a tough workout, as it will promote circulation and increase inflammation.
  • A warm wrap with arnica tincture can ease the pain. First moisten a cloth with hot water and wring it out, then put a few drops of arnica tincture on the cloth and apply to the sore muscle.
  • Massage can help ease sore, stiff muscles.
  • Ample fluid intake flushes excess acids from your body, and supplies it with important minerals. Good choices include herbal teas and vegetable and fruit juices, diluted with mineral water containing little or no sodium.

Muscle cramps

  • To relax a leg cramp in the calf, carefully stretch the muscle against the direction of the cramping, then walk back and forth a few paces. In stubborn cases, sit on the ground, pull your toes toward you and stretch your leg out fully. After that, gently massage the muscle.
  • Rubs containing extracts of menthol, camphor or horse chestnut can add extra oomph to a massage to loosen up cramps; so can essential oils containing St. John's wort, eucalyptus, spruce needles or thyme.
  •  A lack of minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium, is probably the biggest cause of nighttime leg cramps; they are abundant in fennel, broccoli, bananas, dried fruits, oatmeal, nuts, milk, cream cheese and cheese.
  • Cider vinegar provides your body with potassium: drink 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of cider vinegar in 250 millilitres (one cup) of water every evening for at least four weeks.
  • If your cramps are the result of a magnesium deficiency, taking magnesium in the form of effervescent tablets, in consultation with a doctor, is a good idea.

Recipe: spirits of juniper

  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of juniper berries
  • 1 L (1 qt) of vodkaPour the vodka over the juniper berries and let the mixture steep in a clear glass bottle in the sunlight for three to four weeks before straining. Rub on the sore muscles before bedtime.
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