What is the first thing you do when you experience any form of pain? Your answer is probably to run to your nearest shop to find over the counter medicine such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. When we experience pain many of us rely on medication, we all relate - they’re easily accessible and work quickly! However, they do come with side effects and are not recommended for long term use without prescription.
Alternatively, natural remedies are also available to help you bridge that gap and give your body some extra nutrition allowing it to function at its optimum level. Have you ever thought of exploring the world of natural remedies? If the answer is no, don’t worry, Fushi has you covered! We are here to help and advise you on some of the natural remedies we have found helpful in relieving joint and muscle pain.
In a rush? Click the links below to skip directly to the relief you’re looking for.
5 Vitamins for Muscle and Joint Pain
5 Natural Supplements for Muscle Recovery
11 Essential Oils for Muscle and Joint Pain
5 Home Massages for Muscle and Joint Pain
Before we get into these natural remedies, it is good to know that aching muscles affect almost everyone from time to time, you are not alone. They can make simple tasks like getting out of bed, climbing the stairs, and moving things around a real pain. Joint and muscle pain can range from a mild ache to a severe, burning, or sharp sensation.
What most of us don’t really know is that joint and muscle pain isn’t always related to an underlying condition or caused by excessive exercising, but that joint and muscle pain has a range of causes:
- Overuse of a particular muscle group
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Excessive physical activity
- Blood flow problems from illness or lack of activity
- Lack of minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium
As a reminder, if your pain is severe or if it lasts longer than a week please do seek medical attention and try to speak to your GP as it may be more serious than you expected.
Here are some natural remedies that will help in relieving muscle and joint pain.
5 Vitamins for Muscle and Joint Pain
Vitamins play a huge role in making sure that our bodies function properly and effectively. Without them our bodies would not be able to carry out key tasks. Vitamins are vital! They aid digestion, metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins whilst also helping to build strong bones, teeth and healthy skin.
Once in a while, our diets or lifestyles may mean that we end up lacking a particular vitamin or a set of vitamins, hence why sometimes we may have to take vitamin supplements.
So, what vitamins can help you with joint and muscle pain?
You can find vitamin A in salmon, pumpkin, dairy, apricots and organ meats, this vitamin is necessary for proper bone growth and development. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to poor bone health meaning that eating the recommended amount of vitamin A can help reduce your risk of fractures.
Vitamin B is known to help break down carbs and proteins, it helps to accelerate muscle repair, and promotes cell development meaning that a lack of vitamin B can in fact cause muscle cramps. You can find this vitamin in foods such as kale, salmon, squashes, and pomegranates.
People are always talking about vitamin C and how important it is, so it’s no surprise that it is also one of the best vitamins for muscles and joints! Usually found in lemons, oranges, raspberries, broccoli, pineapples, blueberries and even sweet potatoes. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to flush lactic acid from the muscles - a buildup of lactic acid happens when your body is not getting enough oxygen and can result in a burning sensation, severe muscle tenderness and loss of strength.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and as we all know calcium is good for building solid bones and muscles. It also works as an anti-inflammatory force in helping to regulate our immune systems. Some good sources of vitamin D may include dairy products, cereals, fish with high fat content, meat and eggs. Another way to get vitamin D is sunlight making it one of the easiest vitamins for muscles and joints that you can get!
When you push your body’s limits as you exercise, a protein called creatine phosphokinase (also known as CPK) enters our bloodstreams. Vitamin E works to improve our blood circulation and flush CPK out of our bodies. And Because Vitamin E is fat-soluble it can actually attach itself to the muscle membrane to prevent free radical damage. The best sources of vitamin E are almonds, olives, wheat germ, avocados and sunflower seeds.
5 Natural Supplements for Muscle Recovery
In order to keep us going and to stay healthy as well as sore-free, our bodies need essential nutrients to rebuild and repair itself. Our muscles require a substantial amount of alkalising minerals to be able to function smoothly and maintain a consistent blood flow. Without this, your body can respond negatively and your muscles essentially start to cramp causing muscle and joint pain. Therefore, being able to supplement the right nutrients into your everyday routine can help with faster muscle recovery, promote muscle repair, and reduce muscle mass breakdown and soreness. Here are some supplements that you can try:
- Turmeric is a good supplement to use as it has a source of curcumin which promotes the formation of the cells in bones ensuring that your bones stay strong and healthy. Turmeric is also known to be an antioxidant that can reduce oxidative stress in the body and help to increase the level of antioxidant enzymes which lead to better bone health.
- Free radicals are molecules that can damage the body’s tissues and cells, including those in your muscles. As we mentioned before curcumin is a natural antioxidant, this means that turmeric could offer some protection against these free radicals. Especially because the older we get, the harder it becomes for your body to tackle them. They can contribute to problems like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation and wrinkles meaning antioxidants like turmeric are important as they work to help protect your cells and tissues.
- The wear and tear of the joints overtime can lead to the production of pro-inflammatory agents. These then lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Inflammation is considered to be a primary symptom of arthritis and studies have shown that turmeric is anti-inflammatory. Therefore, the spice may be of help to block these enzymes and proteins.
- It’s a known fact that if you haven’t done a lot of exercise in a while, or if you take on a new workout regime, your muscles can become stiff and sore. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and is a normal part of exercising. A piece of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that turmeric could ease DOMS when you apply it topically to the muscles. This may be down to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.
- Studies have proved that the curcumin in turmeric juice can alter gene expression, helping to prevent the worsening of symptoms and the progression of arthritis.
- Collagen is probably one of the most effective supplements for muscle pain. Interesting fact - it is the richest protein in the human body and the most abundant component of connective tissues. This means that it can aid in the development of muscle mass. It's also good for your skin, joint pain, heart health, and weight loss.
- Glucosamine is a natural component of cartilage, a substance that prevents bones from rubbing against each other and causing pain and inflammation. It also helps to prevent the cartilage breakdown that can happen with arthritis.
- Chondroitin is a building block of cartilage. It may also help prevent cartilage breakdown from osteoarthritis. Many clinical studies have found that chondroitin can reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with osteoarthritis.
- Magnesium for leg cramps plays a crucial part in relaxing muscles and helping them to function normally. If your body is magnesium-deficient, this can lead to regular spasms, tightness and tension in your muscles and joints.
When taken in appropriate doses supplements can help you get rid of your joint and muscle pain and even contribute to muscle health. However, please make sure that you consult your GP before trying any supplements at home - they could give you the best advice in terms of its suitability, usage, and correct dosage for you!
11 Essential Oils for Muscle and Joint Pain
Since the dawn of time people from a number of cultures around the world have been using essential oils to treat almost every kind of illness, irritation, disease, physical or mental trauma. From colds, flu and allergies to chronic pain, abrasion, stiffness and spasms - there is an essential oil for anything and everything.
When it comes to essential oils there are a number of ways to use them - you can diffuse them, steam them or use them for massages. Essential oils are safe to use, not to mention that they are also affordable and often have multiple benefits for your body and mind.
Pre-warning, essential oils are very potent so you need to make sure that you use them properly as they can irritate your skin and actually add to your swelling if not used correctly. This being said, essential oils must be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil or argan oil. These are to be applied before application to absorb some of the potency. Don’t worry, they don’t interfere with its therapeutic properties, instead they simply reduce your risk from irritation. Recommended carrier oils include coconut oil, sesame oil, argan oil or calendula oil.
Also make sure that you do a patch test before considering applying these essential oils topically - especially if you have sensitive skin. This is to be sure you are not prone to irritation. And of course as mentioned before, make sure you always dilute the oils!
Our favourite essential oils for pain relief:
Peppermint essential oil contains an active ingredient called menthol which helps to reduce pain, pressure and tension. It also has a cooling effect that helps to soothe and relieve your tired, sore muscles.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most widely recognised essential oils having been used for centuries for pain and pressure relief. It too contains anti- inflammatory properties which are perfect for a tired, overworked and strained body. Unlike other essential oils, this one is gentle enough to be used on it’s own so it does not need to be diluted.
Turmeric essential oil contains anti- inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties that all contribute to helping heal and relax your body. Many of these properties help block harmful enzymes that could otherwise affect your muscular and skeletal system in a negative way.
Extremely high in antioxidants, rosemary essential oil is known to focus on inflammation making it one of the best choices for joint and muscle pain relief.
Clove essential oil is one of nature's strongest forms of pain relief. t is known to have warming effects on your body helping to revitalise and reinvigorate your tired and aching muscles, as well as soothe them and allow them to loosen up, reducing tension and pressure. However clove oil is extremely strong so you may need to test it before use to make sure you won’t react negatively to it.
Thyme essential oil contains a compound called carvacrol which is proven to reduce the activity of COX-2, an enzyme linked with inflammation, in the body. Thyme oil offers high levels of analgesic and antispasmodic properties, all which work together to reduce and sometimes alleviate pain.
Juniper essential oil is a detoxifying agent, stress reducer, an antioxidant, and a pain and inflammation reliever.
Helichrysum oil relieves muscle spasms, inflammation, and pain.
Marjoram oil relaxes muscle spasms and tension. It’s known for its ability to ease pain and inflammation.
Eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect on your muscles which helps to reduce pain and inflammation.
Cypress oil calms and relaxes muscles spasms and works to soothe inflammation.
Roman and German chamomile oils can help with pain and inflammation. They also help soothe muscle tension and reduce spasms.
5 Home Massages for Muscle and Joint Pain
One of the most obvious ways to treat pain is a massage - you can never go wrong with one! Massages can assist after injury by helping pain, tight muscles and the breakdown of scar tissue. On the more technical side - massages help treat injuries by increasing capillarisation in the blood, breaking down and realigning collagen fibres and increasing tissue elasticity.
Joint and muscle pain often respond well to manual therapies like a massage and can often contribute to muscle and tendon recovery. Research has also shown that stimulating nerves through massage techniques in the area of sprains can improve balance and stability, especially around the ankle.
But what actually is a massage?
The good spa guide defines a massage as “ the stroking, kneading, warming, rolling and pressing of skin and muscles.” They say that there are a variety of different kinds of massage, each with different origins and aims. You may see that some focus on soothing muscle pain whilst others focus on increasing energy levels, some aim to improve a specific physical condition and others are simply to help you relax.
To boost the healing properties of your massage, you could even use some of the essential oils we mentioned beforehand and include them in your massage routine for a more effective treatment. Not only will the oils help to penetrate deep below the skin to relieve pain, swelling, and tension, but combined with the massage techniques it can also help work out knots and quickly release tension! You could even try the Really Good Muscle & Joints Oil - it contains some medicinal herbal ingredients including a powerful blend of traditional Ayurvedic herbal oils that effectively smooth away your muscle aches and sore joints. Consisting of the renowned Ayurvedic Mahanarayan blend, the oil is a powerfully restorative treatment made to support your tired joints and muscles, as well as to energise and boost circulation within your body.
Some other key ingredients include eucalyptus oil which is known for relieving pain because of its anti-inflammatory compounds, such as cineole and limonene, which may act as pain relievers. Eucalyptamint can be found in the leaf and is used to treat muscle and joint pain linked to strains and sprains, arthritis, bruising, and backaches. The really good oil also includes camphor which is commonly used in vapour rubs. Camphor seems to stimulate nerve endings that relieve symptoms such as pain and itching when you apply it to the skin. Additionally, black pepper is another key ingredient, it contains the natural chemical piperine that also acts as an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help to provide relief from joints. Therefore, with all of these combined together they are your natural answer to deep heat!
The 5 Easy Home Massages for Muscle and Joint Pain
A Swedish massage is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word massage, right? We hear it all the time in films and tv shows. This is the most common type of massage and involves long, fluid stroking of muscles and tissues. It is essentially meant to reduce soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints, to reduce anxiety and to improve circulation.
The second most common is a deep tissue massage. Unlike a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage focuses on manipulation of both top and deeper layers of muscles and tissues. This type of massage is designed to address severe tension or pain in your muscles and connective tissues. However, deep tissue massages can sometimes cause some soreness, so it might be inappropriate for some people with arthritis.
Then we have the Shiatsu. This is a Japanese massage technique - better known in the US. Shiatsu therapists apply pressure to specific points of the body using the fingers and palms in continuous, rhythmic motions. Like other Asian massage and healing philosophies, shiatsu is thought to restore the flow of qi, or healthy energy, in the body.
Additionally there is the trigger point massage. This particular massage is designed to relieve pain in particular areas of the body by applying pressure or vibration onto your trigger points - these are points in the muscles where knots can form, and the pinpointed pressure is designed to relax those knots and ease the pain.
Lastly, we have the self-massage - a great way to provide you with immediate relief when and where you need it most. Self-massage involves kneading your own sore joints, pressure points or muscles using your hands, knuckles, elbows or massage tools. Massaging hard-to-reach areas like your back may be difficult, but self-massage works well for sore feet, knees, calves, hands, neck or arms.Discover more health-based lifestyle tips with Fushi, we cover what’s trending, nutrition tips, natural beauty care and more. Also check out our very own collection of natural remedies to help with muscle and joint pain. Ranging from oils, vitamins and supplements we have everything you need to help ease your pain!