HomeHealthWellbeing

How to soothe and soften tense, angry muscles at home

BY READERS DIGEST

3rd Mar 2022 Wellbeing

How to soothe and soften tense, angry muscles at home

We’ve all experienced sore or stiff muscles in some part of our body for some reason in our lifetime.

Soothing touch

Maybe you slept in a strange position and pulled something in your neck. Maybe you pushed it a little too hard at the gym, and now your shoulders are in agony. Perhaps you slouch at your desk and get a sore neck as a result. There are many different reasons that muscles could be stiff or painful, but they aren't all bad enough to send you running to the doctor for a cure! There are lots of ways to handle sore or stiff muscles at home, often featuring the use of arnica products! Read on for the skinny on sore muscles and the different ways that you can treat them from the comfort of your own home.

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Not all sore muscles are created equally

Before we can talk about treating and soothing sore or stiff muscles, we have to mention that not all muscle pains appear for the same reason or can be treated in the same ways. Muscle pain is divided into two subgroups: acute muscle pain (immediate pain) and delayed onset muscle pain. You’ll likely feel the first kind if you’ve turned your head too fast and pulled a muscle in your neck, and the second kind the day after taking it slightly too far at the gym. Chronic muscle pain is an entirely different matter, and treatment advice should be sought from your doctor.

Eat anti inflammatory foods

While the use of anti-inflammatory drugs can be very beneficial in the short term, as the pain of a strained or pulled muscle can be pretty severe, it is more helpful, in the long term, to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Antioxidant-rich foods will be the ones to go for, such as spinach, watermelon, pineapple, cherries, and ginger. More research into the impact of antioxidants on sore muscles is needed, but with these foods, in particular, the results are already quite clear. If you feel that you don't get enough antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, try to eat more or look into an antioxidant supplement like fish oil.

Heat therapy

Use some heat therapy as soon as you feel muscle strain or think that you might begin feeling the pain in a few hours. Run a nice hot bath, throw in some Epson salts or an arnica bath foam, and give your poor old muscles a nice soak. Make a hot water bottle or heat up a bean bag if a bath isn't on the cards. You could also run warm water over a towel and wrap or lay it over the affected area to help loosen up a bit.

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Cold therapy

Counterintuitive though it may sound, switch to cold therapy as soon as you're done with heat therapy. A pack of frozen veggies wrapped in a clean dish towel, a bag of ice, or a cold pack placed directly over the affected area will do the trick. Cold reduces swelling and soreness in most muscle pain issues.

Get a massage

This option is only available if you live with someone who is willing to lend you their hands! Or if you can have a masseuse come to your home. A good rub down with arnica or pain-relieving balm can work wonders to help work out knots and tension in our muscles. You might also consider using some kind of massage device, from a foot spa to a foam roll or wooden beads.

Wear a wrap or pressure garment

Wrapping the affected area tightly (but not tightly enough to cause circulation issues) with a bandage or athletic tape will help support the strain and relieve the pain sooner. You can buy ankle, wrist, knee, etc., guards from your local chemist.

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