I don’t know about you, but the older I get the more I feel every ache and pain in my body (especially as the colder weather sets in)! Understanding what causes muscle pain and how to prevent it will save you from downing those pain killers and sleepless nights.
Pain always delivers a very effective message and when it comes to muscles, it usually means overuse!
This could be caused from a great workout, playing a sport, using a muscle you haven’t used in awhile or just sitting at your desk all day.
Overuse of the muscle just means that the muscle has been used beyond what it is “normally” used to doing.
The pain is caused when the muscle fibers tear. This tearing when healed, causes a building or strengthening of the muscle so it can handle a greater demand.
But not all muscle pain is due to overuse.
Muscle pain can also be caused from illnesses such as Fibromyalgia (pain in the fibrous muscle tissue), arthritis, thyroid conditions, stress, the flu, a reaction to medication (always check medications side effects) or a sedentary and immobile lifestyle (causes muscle tension).
Today, our lifestyle has changed so dramatically compared to even 50 years ago. Historically, people were very physically active.
Their lifestyle dictated it as they didn’t have all the modern day conveniences that we do today. The body was designed to be active…think about it…man used to chase down dinner!
In some countries, running is still a way to get from village to village. Today we sit in a car, sit behind a computer and sit in front of a TV putting stress on certain muscle groupings, like the neck, shoulders and back!
We have poor circulation from sitting to much! I wonder how many hours a day the average person sits.
Here are a few things that I’ve found that REALLY work to strengthen my body and prevent muscle pain…and in my opinion, it’s worth it!
- Exercise (no, don’t stop reading…)! Exercise is not a bad word; it’s a requirement for health and wellness. Being physically active is necessary to keep the body conditioned and prevent muscle strain. Remember the saying “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”, well today the word apple should be replaced with exercise!Even the smallest amount daily will benefit. Take a walk, walk up or down the stairs 10 times, do anything that requires the body to work for at least 15 minutes a day. Exercise increases oxygen to the muscles and boosts endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers and “feel good” hormones).Yoga is the best thing to do for stretching the muscles, releasing tension and increasing circulation, especially as we age.Get active, get moving…you will feel so much better. Your energy level will increase and your muscles will say, thank you! Yes, you can do it!
- Eat to live, don’t live to eat! Watch what goes into your mouth. You are feeding your body so it can restore itself. Over eating and eating foods that have little to no nutritional value harm the body and cause disease and illness.Shows like the Biggest Loser are awesome…what does this show tell us? Exercise and eating right is what the body needs to feel good, look good and be healthy!Eating whole, fresh foods such as fruit and vegetables (not canned or frozen), proteins (poultry, beef, fish) and whole grains (brown rice, etc.) will give your body the necessary nutrients it needs to survive.Eating foods out of a box, bag, bottle, can or tube should be avoided as much as possible…and don’t forget to drink water!
- Get a Massage! Everyone should get a massage at least monthly. Massage is an excellent way to improve circulation, relax muscles, relieve pain, reduce swelling, eliminate toxins and speed healing after strains and sprains.Massage has been used for centuries for the holistic healing effects on the body.Want to heighten the effect of a massage? Use Plantlife’s Sore Muscle Massage Oil (a specially formulated product that aids in relieving muscle aches and pains). I severed my calf muscle and was in excruciating pain and on crutches for 3 months.I put Plantlife’s Sore Muscle massage oil on my calf every time I wrapped my leg. It was a pain saver!
- Take a Bath! Bathing is a lost science…no one has time to take a bath anymore but you can’t beat a warm bath for soothing the body. Bathing in warm water improves circulation, helps cart off lactic acid (muscle waste that builds up in overused muscles and contributes to pain).Bathing relaxes and calms the body, enabling a better night’s sleep.If you have sore muscles, add some Plantlife Therapeutic Bath Salt to your next bath! This salt is rich in over 84 vital minerals and is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical residues. This pure salt nourishes these fluids as it contains the necessary and primary minerals our bodies require for optimum health.Salt also naturally neutralizes chlorine found in water.
- Sleep! Now who doesn’t want to do that! But when the body is over stressed (high demand lifestyle, lack of exercise, too much caffeine) it’s difficult to fall into that deep sleep and stay asleep. Restful sleep allows the body to restore itself and promotes healing, keeping the body strong.To get a good night’s sleep avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals (don’t eat after 6:00 pm for the best rest). Stay away from strenuous exercise six hours before bedtime and unwind the mind by taking a bath, reading a book or listening to music.My favorite way to relax is to burn an Aromatherapy Lavender Candle or burn some Lavender Essential Oil in a diffuser, while reading. Lavender is so soothing and reading gets my mind off the day! To stay asleep, keep your bedroom cool, dark and quite! And remember, that regular (3 times a week, 30 or more minutes) aerobic exercise helps promote sound sleep!
Have a muscle strain? Remember to put your muscles on RICE. Anyone who has ever been in a sport knows the RICE rules (rest, ice, compression and elevation) but it’s always an important reminder.
When overused muscle pain occurs, rest your sore muscles for at least 48 hours so they can begin to repair. While resting, apply ice (an effective anti-inflammatory). Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth and apply the pack to the sore area for 20 minutes at a time.
Plantlife has an essential oil blend called Sports Relief. It’s a powerful blend that aids in relieving muscle pain. Great to use with compression.
So the bottom line? Treat yourself well, you’re worth it!