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Pain Away!

Pain Away!

Try these low-tech remedies for muscle soreness

So you overdid it shoveling snow (winter’s finale, we hope!), hunched over your computer late-night trying to finish that project, or throwing that last punch in your boxing class. Or maybe you have lupus, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia, three medical conditions which can cause muscle aches and pains. No worries; we’ve got cures for you!

Stroll the pain reliever aisle at your local drug store. Over-the-counter (OTC) meds such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve pain. Note that ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory that also helps reduce swelling. Or give a medicated cream—Salonpas, Bengay, Tiger Balm—a try. The American Academy of Family Physicians has given OTC remedies the OK for healthy adults.

Rest an aching muscle. If you keep using a strained muscle, you could exacerbate the problem or cause more damage. Take a 48-hour break from the activity that made you sore. And get a good night’s sleep. It reduces stress and provides downtime your body needs to start self-repair.

Go cold, then hot. Ice sore muscles for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day for the first 24 to 72 hours. Ice numbs the pain and reduces swelling. If you’re still sore after that, apply heat compresses. Heat relaxes the soft tissues.

Take a nice, long bath using this muscle pain relief mixture: Mix 2 cups of Epsom salts with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil in a bowl. Stir the mixture into running, warm water. Soak until your skin wrinkles. The magnesium in the Epsom salts helps relax muscles, while the menthol in the peppermint essential oil blocks pain receptors

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BHM Edit Staff