Article by Jennifer Maez
If you have muscle pain, you know what it is: the tightness, soreness, and stiffness that happen the day after a workout. Knots that feel like lumps under your skin but seem to be connected to something. The feeling that you can’t move like you normally can. These are all signs of overworked or stressed muscles. Muscle pain can also be caused by an injury, such as a sprain or strain. Muscles are made up of small, interconnected fibers. These fibers can pull apart during stress, creating tiny tears. This creates an inflammation reaction in the body, and the inflammation and pain are symptoms.
Systemic muscle pain may be a symptom of an underlying illness. It is not usually caused by a local injury or local stress, but is felt throughout the whole body. Among the most common causes are influenza, high emotional stress, or fibromyalgia. Many food allergies or sensitivities may also cause this feeling. Taking an oral antibacterial/antiviral, such as olive leaf extract, can help the symptoms caused by illness. Using methods such as meditation or deep relaxation will lessen, if not eliminate, the symptoms caused by stress. Fibromyalgia and food sensitivities seem to be related in many people, so try eliminating certain foods like dairy products or grains for a week at a time to see if that helps.
Maybe you just played a vigorous game of football with your buddies, or had to lift a heavy load into your car. Whatever the reason, local (in one area) muscle pain can be quickly helped by arnica. Arnica is a flower that grows in subalpine areas, and belongs to the sunflower family. It has been used medicinally for centuries, most notable for sprains, strains, and bruises. It has noted analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-coagulative (reducing blood clotting), and anti-inflammatory (reducing swelling) effects. Topically, it can be extremely effective. Bruises and muscle pain seem to disappear within days. Oral use is not recommended, since the active components in arnica can irritate the stomach lining, and are considered toxic.
Try taking a bath with one cup of Epsom salts in the water. Epsom salts have the effect of drawing out toxins, such as excess lactic acid, that may have built up in the muscles during exercise. Then rub an arnica ointment on the area, making sure to avoid any areas of broken skin. Rub the arnica in 3 times a day for 3 days. You should find relief soon, but make sure to be careful with the area of pain while it is healing.
Jennifer Maez is a freelance writer who, after living in 12 different states, currently resides in Colorado. She has a B.A. in Psychology. Jennifer enjoys hiking, plant identification, and meditation, and is a self-taught student of natural and holistic medicine. She enjoys cooking paleo dishes for her family, and is currently working on a paleo sauces cookbook.