10 Natural Muscle Relaxers for Back Pain Relief
From injuries to sharp muscle spasms, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication have been the immediate go-to pain relief. However, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) don't necessarily “heal” the muscle. Instead, they “shut off” communication between your nervous system and your brain regarding the pain.
While there’s nothing wrong with taking pharmaceutical medication from time to time, on-going use can become addictive and dangerous when not used as intended.
If you’re looking for natural ways to both relieve muscle pain, there are many foods, vitamins, and self-care items that can help (many of which you may already have at home!).
In this article, we’ll explore common causes of muscle spasms, 10 natural muscle relaxers you can use for them, and how they work.
What Causes Muscle Spasms?
Muscle spasms (or cramps) are often a result of tearing or overstretching a muscle, such as after vigorous exercise or sports. Sometimes, sore muscles contract involuntarily when you overwork them, causing the spasm.
Spasms and cramps in the body can also be a side effect of dehydration. Since our muscles require water to replenish and heal, they will tense and ache when you aren’t well hydrated.
Most muscle spasms or cramps happen in the hands, feet, calves, and hamstrings, but it’s possible to occur in the stomach, rib cage, and thighs as well. Many women may also experience muscle cramps during their menstruation as a result of the uterine contractions.
In addition to the above, here are other commons causes of muscle spasms:
Incorrect posture and poor ergonomics
A result of chronic health conditions (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis)
Injuries from accidents
Lack of stretching before exercise or sport activities
Incorrect sleeping positions
Best Natural Muscle Relaxers
Now that you have an idea of what may be causing your muscle pain, let’s explore several natural solutions to help relax them.
1. Peppermint Oil
Not only does peppermint oil have a refreshing smell and taste, but it also provides pain relief when massaged into your muscles. This is due to the menthol constituents that peppermint contains, which has antispasmodic properties and creates a cooling sensation
Used for centuries as a medicinal herb, Chamomile is another common remedy for naturally relaxing muscles. Studies show that chamomile flowers have terpenoids and other properties which may aid in muscle spasm, inflammation, and more.
Magnesium is an important mineral that aids in nerve function and is important for our nutrition. Studies show that magnesium is known to reduce stress levels. You’ll find it in foods such as brown rice, bananas, and almonds, as well as in supplements, which can come in handy for stress-related back pain.
Some people enjoy a hot cup of turmeric tea, but did you know it is also used as medicine for muscle pain? Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, is a natural polyphenol with anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that it significantly reduces pain from injuries and burns.
5. Cherry Juice
If you need muscle recovery after an intensive workout, drinking tart cherry juice might be the answer. According to a study, tart cherries have high levels of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may reduce pain in the muscles.
Like most fruit, blueberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that our bodies use for cell protection. In addition to this, blueberries also have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a superfood snack that fights against muscle inflammation and aids in recovery!
7. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne is often used topically in eastern medicinal practices for treating pain relief. Capsaicin, a substance found in cayenne pepper, is known for relieving pain from muscle strains and sprains.
8. Vitamin D
Instead of relieving pain, Vitamin D acts as a preventative supplement to muscle pain. This nutrient is vital for bone health, where studies show that Vitamin D deficiency can lead to joint pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue. To help, incorporate more foods rich in Vitamin D into your diet, such as cereals, salmon, and egg yolks.
9. Epsom Salt
You may have heard about taking a relaxing, epsom salt bath after a long day. This is because epsom salt is made of magnesium, a mineral that supports muscle function and bone health. Although there aren’t many studies to prove the effectiveness of epsom salt baths, it’s a safe and popular home remedy that is widely used.
10. Arnica Oil
Arnica oil is often used as an ingredient in topical ointments for treating muscle aches and reducing inflammation. It’s another homeopathic alternative that is not backed by scientific proof, but widely used and recognized for aid in muscle pain relief.
Additional Alternatives for Muscle and Back Pain Relief
In addition to natural remedies and supplements, there are a few more ways to relieve muscle pain without prescription medicine, as well as prevent them from coming back.
More often than not, pain is a signal from the body when it is under intense stress. Your muscles need to rest after vigorous exercise, such as long hours in the gym, playing sports, or training. Make sure that you’re allowing yourself enough time to rest and recuperate afterward (as well as staying hydrated!).
Therapeutic massages, such as a deep tissue massage, can target those stubborn cramps and aches through firm pressure and slow strokes to deep layers of muscle. It’s a great method for treating stiffness, back pain, sore shoulders, and muscle tightness.
Not only does chiropractic care help with muscle pain relief, it’s also a preventative, on-going treatment for spinal and muscle health. Through muscle manipulation, chiropractic adjustments boost blood circulation, keeping the muscles relaxed and loose.
Whether you need chiropractic care, natural supplements, or both, our team at Aviva has your back. From multivitamins to collagen, you can get exclusive access to the top chiropractor-recommended supplements through our Fullscript account. By signing up, members receive 25% off of all supplement orders, including many of the natural muscle relaxers mentioned above.
Book your next appointment with our team and let us know what you need!
**Fullscript accepts payments from HSA and FSA accounts
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