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Have you ever been going about your whirlwind of a day when, suddenly, you have ten minutes to yourself? At first, it seems great – time to decompress a bit. Then, all the tension and stress that’s balled up in your body begin to release and the muscle pain kicks in. Unfortunately, it’s an all too familiar scenario for many of us – the moment we take our mind away from work or chores, we become acutely aware of the tension, stiffness and pulsating pain in our muscles.
Fortunately, you can help reduce or even eliminate this pain – naturally, too. But before jumping to discussing how to relieve this pain, what’s causing it all?
Muscle pain (or, myalgia) is an extremely common condition and can be felt anywhere throughout the body.  Plus, it can sneak up on you – one day you’re fine and the next day, your body feels tense, stiff or in unbearable pain.
The Most Common Causes of Muscle Pain
The three most common causes are overuse of muscles during physical activities or demanding work, sometimes resulting in injury. But arguably, the pain you can relate to most is the one caused by stress and tension from sitting at your desk all day long.
However, there are also people who live with muscle pain every day that seems impossible to escape. Some of these medical conditions may surprise you and include:[1,2]
- Hypokalemia (i.e., low potassium)
- Infections (e.g., flu, polio, bacteria-caused)
- Using certain medications or drugs (i.e., statins, cocaine)
- Autoimmune disorders (e.g., lupus, dermatomyositis, polymyositis)
- Thyroid disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic fatigue
Natural Remedies for Muscle Pain
Fortunately, if you suffer from muscle pain daily, natural options for soothing relief do exist.
- It’s challenging for many people who don’t want to feel idle or unproductive, but simply resting the pained area of your body can work wonders. This tip includes people who exercise daily, too, especially those who lift weights.
- You can also use an ice pack on pulled muscles or injured tendons in the thigh, back, calf, etc. The cooling effect constricts blood vessels which helps ease inflammation, numb the pain, and limit bruising. After the ice does its job to reduce inflammation, applying a heat pack will increase blood flow which helps ease stiff, tightened muscles. Here’s a rule of thumb: if an injury is less than six weeks old, reach for the ice pack; if it’s older than six week old or more of a chronic muscle pain, reach for the heat pack.
- So long as you aren’t putting yourself in more pain, take part in gentle stress-relieving activities such as: stretches, yoga, and meditation.[3,4,12]
- Have an Epsom salt bath – a solution people have relied on for thousands of years. As the salt dissolves, it turns into two things: magnesium and sulfate. As your body absorbs each of these things through the skin, your muscles relax and stiff joints loosen.
- Another way to avoid muscle pain is to try and prevent it before it happens. One popular supplement people use is magnesium bisglycinate (200mg). Muscle pains are most often a symptom of magnesium deficiencies, so taking this supplement as needed can keep your muscles from feeling so achey.
Essential Oils for Muscle Pain
Sometimes when pain strikes it isn’t possible to have access to an ice pack immediately or take an Epsom salt bath in the middle of the work day. That’s why one of the best natural remedies for when you’re on-the-go is using essential oils!
Essential oils are created by using steam to distil large quantities of plant materials (e.g., leaves, roots, etc.). This produces a concentrated oil which gets diluted and then used in different ways: diffusion, massage, inhalation and more. In the case of muscle pain, wintergreen and helichrysum are two of the best essential oils you can use.
Oil of Wintergreen
Wintergreen essential oil gives off a strong yet soothing, clean, minty scent that’s well known for muscle pain and bound to bring you relief.[5,6]
When you apply it topically and allow your skin to absorb it, the oil’s properties can stimulate blood circulation around your affected muscle tissues. Within a few minutes, you will likely notice a soothing, relieving warmth which also helps to clear potential obstructions in your blood flow.[5,7,8]
Wintergreen oil’s stimulating properties makes it perfect to alleviate muscle cramps, aches or pains, and headaches you may experience because of the pain. Other medical professionals also highlight its wintergreen oil’s ability to promote stronger bone and joint health.[5,9]
Helichrysum Essential Oil
On the opposite end of the minty fresh spectrum, helichrysum essential oil gives off a sweet and fruity smell with overtones of honey or nectar. The helichrysum plant may look like a weed to many people and thus easy to overlook. However, its benefits are impressive.
Research suggests that helichrysum essential oil can effectively decrease muscle pain by reducing inflammation and improving circulation. When you apply helichrysum essential oil topically, it behaves like wintergreen oil, absorbing into your skin and bloodstream. This helps promote the healing of your muscles, joints, and nerves.
Using helichrysum topically may not be enough to completely relieve more serious muscle pain rooted in medical conditions. It is, however, one of the more effective natural remedies to have on hand if you want pain relief from, e.g., arthritis or fibromyalgia symptoms.
How To Use Wintergreen and Helichrysum
While it’s satisfying to make your own lotions, blends and essential oil mixtures, for many of us it can be time-consuming and difficult to source all the ingredients, depending on where you live. So for those times where you need muscle pain relief immediately, this ready-made wintergreen and helichrysum essential oil blend roll-on is a perfect, natural, and effective solution.
DIY Anti-Inflammatory Pain Reliever Rub (Helichrysum Oil)
This recipe below is specific to helichrysum essential oil. We decided not to include a homemade wintergreen oil recipe because pure wintergreen extract can be toxic even in small amounts. So, it’s best not to experiment with this one and opt for a natural, safe, and tested product instead.
What You’ll Need:
Next, Do This:
- Mix all of the above ingredients together
- Take 1 tsp. of the mixture and massage it into the painful area(s)
- Apply more as needed
- Pour remaining mixture into a bottle and store in a cool, dark place
Before diving into using essential oils, keep in mind that they must always be diluted with a carrier oil such as avocado, almond, apricot, olive or coconut oil. When used topically, essential oils on their own can be too harsh and damage the skin.
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