No pain, your gain: easing achy muscles and joints


Earle Logan
@EarleLogan2


30 July 2014

Why choose natural methods?

The go-to treatment for sore muscles and joint pain is all too often pain medication like paracetamol and ibuprofen. However, taking these long term can put an extra strain on your liver, and ibuprofen can damage your stomach lining, potentially causing ulcers.

Natural treatments aid the body's own healing process, giving it the time to heal properly, rather than trying to hurry the process up and causing weaknesses and the potential for further injury. For the most part, they can be used long-term with little to no side effects.

So what methods are there for easing your muscle and joint pain naturally?

PRICE

Firstly consider PRICE, which is a well-known acronym for muscular and joint pain relief, especially after sporting injuries:

  • Protect – your joint from further injury by ceasing the activity you are performing
  • Rest – the joint and only begin to use it again gently and once the symptoms have cleared
  • Ice – the injured area. It is important to wrap your ice-pack or frozen peas in a tea towel or you may injure your skin. Keep re-applying ice packs at least over the next 24 hours
  • Compress – using a bandage to support the injury and to prevent further swelling
  • Elevate – if you can. Keeping the injury above the level of your heart will minimise the swelling.

HARM

It is also important not to do any further HARM within the next 72 hours, therefore you should avoid:

  • Heat – which is usually not good to apply to a sporting injury such as a sprain or strain, as it encourages blood flow around the injury, increasing swelling. Heat is great for easing stiffness in older injuries, but not so good for fresh injuries
  • Alcohol – consumption can exacerbate the injury as it slows the healing process
  • Running – or any other exercise or sudden movement of the joint will only cause further damage
  • Massaging – immediately will increase blood flow and cause more swelling and pain.

Pain-relieving supplements

Preparation is key to pain reduction, with many sensible supplements available to help soothe those newly agile limbs as they fight their way from trembling to toned.

  • Glucosamine sulphate – this is a chemical found naturally in the body, which helps to strengthen ligaments and tendons around joints. When exercising and training, it is important to have sufficient quantities of this in the body, to ensure full repair of your joints. You can take glucosamine sulphate in doses up to 1500mg daily as a handy buffer for your joints if you are pounding on hard surfaces for several hours
  • Ginger – although this is a herb commonly used to spice up your food, some people also find that it is effective as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory for painful joints
  • Vitamin C – know that feeling when your muscles become stiff and sore a day or two after intense exercise? Well, it may be that vitamin C supplements taken shortly before and after exercise may reduce that symptom, particularly if you are new to exercise
  • Magnesium – this is important for good muscle function, by ensuring that they relax sufficiently to prevent cramping. It is important to include enough magnesium in your diet, but if this is not working, you could also try a magnesium supplement

Therapeutic massage

While a massage at any time sounds like a nice idea, after exercise, a massage may prevent muscular pain and stiffness. When we exercise, tiny micro-tears appear in the muscles, causing inflammation as the body repairs the muscle. When muscle is massaged, glucose is converted into energy which has a key role in muscle repair.

Conventional anti-inflammatory and pain-killing drugs help to ease symptoms, but do not encourage muscle repair, making you more prone to developing injuries. It is for this reason, that many people prefer a therapeutic massage, as the long-term results are likely to be more effective.

Herbal helpers

Arnica has been used for many years as ‘first-aid’ treatment following injuries, helping ease inflammation and bruising. It also has painkilling properties. Arnica can be found in licensed herbal remedies such as Atrogel Arnica Gel, which is applied directly to the injured or painful area. Have Atrogel handy to smooth onto these areas for the symptomatic relief of muscular aches, pains and stiffness, sprains, bruises and swelling after injury, exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Extremely swift in action, it reduces inflammation and the pain that accompanies it, allowing joints and muscles to recover without undue fuss, allowing a slightly more dignified step than the usual hobble of the day-after-the-match.

While team sports and contact sports are great fun, they can end up with you showing off a range of spectacular bruises. When other people’s elbows or knees take to your ribs as their goal, make sure that Atrogel Arnica Gel is spread onto the afflicted area as soon as possible. This will avert the worst of the bruising, reducing the need to wince at all contact for the next week.

If your muscle and joint aches are more chronic (long-term), for example from a poorly healed injury or a condition such as arthritis, you can take Atrosan, our fresh Devil's Claw extract, licenced for relieving muscle and joint aches and pains.

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Atrosan® – Devil’s Claw tablets for muscle and joint pains

30 tablets

£ 9.99

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Relieves muscle & joint pain, backache and lumbago. Also available in 60 tablet size.
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Here's what I recommend

As the A. Vogel Muscles and Joints advisor, I recommend Atrogel® for the effective relief from aches and pains.

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