Many of us suffer from periodic muscle pain
What is it?
Muscle pain could be a dull ache or a throbbing agony. You may call it a “charley horse,” a strain, a cramp, a spasm, or a tear. But no matter what its description, a variety of things cause muscle pain. They are overuse, dehydration, heat, cold, or even a more serious condition that requires medical help.
Symptoms: Soreness, cramps, tenderness, muscle weakness, fatigue
A crick recovery
If it feels like you’re chained to your desk – by a crick in the neck – blame bad biomechanics. Typing without proper forearm support can cause chronic neck pain, reports a new University of California study.
When researchers monitored 182 working stiffs for a year, they found that the people with forearm support were 50% less likely to have neck or shoulder pain than those left hanging.
It’s a domino effect. The weight of your arms pulls on your shoulder muscles, which drag on your neck. Unfortunately, previous research shows that sitting in a chair with armrests won’t help that much.
It might be because the armrests aren’t the right height or are too far apart,” says David Rempel, MD, the study’s lead author. Instead, outfit your desk with a fixed forearm support, like the Morency Rest shown in the linked web site. It was the device used in the study.
Avoid muscle pain in the first place
Exercise consistently: You’re less likely to suffer from muscle pain if you have a regular exercise routine. It’s the “weekend warriors” who suffer a lot. What that means is that if one does nothing all week and then exercises strenuously for two days, you can expect pain to follow.
Loosen up: Many of us are golfers. Do we do stretching exercises before teeing off? For about 97% of us, the answer is no. It’s the same for other activities. If you want to avoid pain, loosen up those muscles before you use and abuse them.
Rest when it’s best: Know the difference between a healthy tiredness and fatigue. Too much activity at one time causes a buildup of waste products in your body and wears out your muscles.
Shed that spare tire: Flab in the middle is hard on your back. Too much belly fat means that your back has to work harder to keep your spine in place.
Strengthen your stomach muscles: Want to avoid back pain? Then strengthen those stomach muscles that help to hold your back in place.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is said to keep your blood vessels strong and flexible. You don’t want tears, so prevent with “C.”
Yoga: Doing yoga exercises is actually doing stretching. They will keep you loose.
Beat back pain with music
Article Review: American Society of Nephrology
Cleveland Clinic researchers found that when people with loused-up lumbar regions listened to music for 1 hour every day, they experienced a 20% reduction in back pain after just 1 week.
“The effect may simply be due to music distracting your mind – or it could be that it induces muscle relaxation.” Says study author Sandra Siedlecki , Ph.D., R.N. “New studies that examine the effect of music on stress hormones such as cortisol may shed more light.
Make it work for you: Don’t just flick on the radio and leave your relief to chance. In the study, those who chose their own tunes experienced significantly greater pain relief than the people given songs selected by the researchers.
And it didn’t matter if the self-styled DJs listened to heavy metal, light pop, or Brahms. “Different types of music had similar effects,” says Siedicki. So make a mix of your desert-island favorites and press “play” when back pain hits.
But keep the volume in check. The research also shows that loud sounds – even the toe-tapping kind – can raise cortisol levels, possibly negating any benefit.
Kill the pain with herbs
Cramp bark: This herb relaxes strained muscles. Try boiling one teaspoon of the bark in one cup of water, then straining and drinking this concoction three times a day. Cramp bark is also available as a lotion.
Valerian: Valerian is actually more for your head than your body. Valerian could help soothe your mind before your muscles tense up.
Willow bark: Try 240 milligrams per day. The ingredient in willow bark that makes it such a powerful painkiller is salicylate, the same active ingredient found ini aspirin. In fact, aspirin became a commercial product upon learning the positive effects of this natural substance.
Prolotherapy for back pain
While we normally focus on natural approaches to health, this new development in treating back pain seems to have great merit without the side effects that go along with surgeries.
What is prolotherapy?
It is a simple, non-surgical injection treatment for chronic pain. The treatment involves a series of injections of a mild sugar solution, which stimulates the body to produce its own collagen and promotes the growth of new ligaments and tendons.
It is used to treat many types of pain, including degenerative arthritis, low back and neck pain, knee injuries, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and torn ligaments and cartilage.
According to a professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, “Prolotherapy is a revolutionary therapy that is radically changing the way we treat chronic pain.”
For more information
For more info on this form of pain treatment click on Wikipedia.
For a listing of doctors who practice prolotherapy by state click here.
Relieve pain after exercise.
Delayed muscle soreness, the discomfort you feel a day or two after an intense workout,8 typically clears up on its own in about 3 days. Until then, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen (Advil, and Motrin) can help ease the pain.
Some experts advocate icing. Others favor a hot bath (to increase circulation and help remove metabolic wastes, easing soreness. Another option is Swedish massage which research indicates may help decrease inflammation and speed muscle recovery immediately after a workout.
Supplements may also help. Dr. Andrew Weil recommends 5 g of D-ribose before and even after exercise. You might also try calcium and magnesium supplements. Together these minerals act as mild muscle relaxants. Dr. Weil suggests 500 to 750 mg of calcium for women after a workout, along with about half as much magnesium.
If pain persists and prevents you from doing daily activities, you may have injured yourself and should see a doctor.
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