Get Quick Relief from Sore Muscles with these Powerful Natural Remedies

Updated on March 16th, 2020
Relieve Sore Muscles

Muscle soreness (also called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)), is the stiffness, tenderness, or dull aching pain you feel in your muscles after strenuous activity, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. Muscle soreness is something everyone has experienced.

If you’re wondering how to relieve sore muscles, there are simple remedies to alleviate. Physiologists refer to the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is perfectly normal (1).

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

Strenuous activity stretches and contracts the muscles and damages them (at a very small scale), which is normal and what causes muscle growth when you work out. In fact, when you work out at the gym by lifting weights, you are intentionally damaging your muscles because when they repair themselves, they grow. Post activity, muscles repair themselves, and that is when you feel soreness.

Naturopathic Remedies for Sore Muscles

Is Muscle Soreness Serious?

If what you are feeling is, tenderness, a dull ache, or limited disability in movement, then no, there is nothing serious to be worried about. Muscle soreness is a sign of recovery and tends to disappear in a day or two. If, however, you feel the pain that is sharp, throbbing, unbearable or restricting movement by a large degree, you might have a torn muscle or some other damage, and you should visit a doctor immediately (2)

[Read: Natural Remedies for Muscle Pain ]

CURE 1: Essential Oils

How to treat sore muscles? Massaging the affected area with healing and soothing essential oils is definitely a great home remedy to start with.

1. Rosemary Essential Oil

Essential oil for Hair
Image: Shutterstock

Why does it work?

Rosemary is a shrub that has needle-like leaves and a woody scent. It’s popularly used as a seasoning, and for its medicinal benefits. Rosemary oil is consumed for its antioxidants, which help eliminate toxins from the body and also boosts the immune system. Rosemary essential oil also has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which is how to heal sore muscles.

How to use it?

If you’re wondering what to do for sore muscles, applying rosemary essential oil directly to aching muscles will help. Some people have found that massaging sore muscles with rosemary oil increases blood circulation to the area, relieving pain. Take rosemary essential oil, add a carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil (if required only) and gently massage sore muscles before bath.

How much to use?

4-5 drops of rosemary essential oil with 2-3 drops of carrier oil. You can increase or decrease the amount depending on the size of the area affected.

[ Read: Stop Muscle Twitching Naturally ]

2. Peppermint essential oil

Why does it work?

Peppermint essential oil is another great way how you can get rid of sore muscles. It has analgesic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties that work wonders in soothing aching muscles. The menthol in peppermint is especially great because it provides a cooling effect that helps relieve all kinds of muscle and body aches.

How to use it?

You can use peppermint oil in a couple of ways. You can mix it with a carrier oil, like jojoba or coconut oil, and directly apply it to the sore muscles than massaging the area. You can also draw a bath and add a few drops of peppermint oil along with a few drops of carrier oil in it and soak yourself for 15-20 minutes. Lastly, you can add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to water and dip a towel to make a cold compress and place it on sore muscles.

[Read: Epsom Salt for Sore Muscle]

How much to use?

Equal parts of peppermint oil and carrier oil can be mixed-used to massage sore muscles. The amount depends on the size of the affected area if you’re drawing a bath, ad 15-20 drops of peppermint oil along with a carrier oil to the bathwater.

3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Why does it work?

Eucalyptus essential oil is extracted from the fresh leaves of a eucalyptus tree. Most benefits of the eucalyptus oil come from a compound called eucalyptol, which has antimicrobial properties. The oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which is what is good for sore muscles. Eucalyptus oil also provides a cooling effect to the area where it is applied, further providing relief from sore muscles.

How to use it?

It’s best to mix eucalyptus oil with peppermint oil and a carrier oil like olive oil or moringa oil and massage sore muscles with this mixture.

How much to use?

Make a mixture with 8-10 drops of eucalyptus oil, 8-10 drops of peppermint oil and 3-5 teaspoons of carrier oil. If you need to make more (or less), make sure to maintain the ratio.

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CURE 2: Foods for sore muscles

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar benefits
Image:ShutterStock

Why does it work?

Apple cider vinegar is a popular supplement among the fitness community, rightly so because it has a lot of benefits. It is known to help with weight loss, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. It is also used externally because of its antibacterial properties. For sore muscle relief, apple cider vinegar can be consumed or directly applied to the affected muscle. It is an anti-inflammatory, and alkalizing properties help relieve sore muscles.

How to use it?

You can dilute (drinking it directly is strongly discouraged because of the taste, but can be done) it with water and consume it, or massage it directly on to the affected muscle.

How much to use?

The dosage can be between 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) and 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) per day, mixed in a large glass of water. If you don’t enjoy the taste, you can add one teaspoon of honey to the drink. Do not exceed the recommended dosage, as vinegar can have harmful effects like the erosion of tooth enamel.

2. Ginger

Why does it work?

A study by online library showed that consuming 4g of ginger five days before a strenuous workout reduced muscle soreness post-workout and accelerated muscle recovery. Ginger contains a compound called rhizome that has anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve muscle soreness. You can consider adding a good dose of ginger to your daily meals.

How to use it?

Ginger can be consumed with food (added or separately), with tea, or through supplements.

You can grate fresh ginger root (amount depending on your taste) and add it to water, then bring the water to a boil. Add tea powder (or a bag), and honey and lemon juice for taste.

You can also chop ginger and add it to food when cooking.

How much to use?

The dosage depends on taste. You can add 1-2  ginger roots or 5-10 g per day.

3. Turmeric

turmeric
Image:ShutterStock

Why does it work?

Turmeric has been a part of the kitchen (especially in Asian countries) for centuries. It is used for its flavour, colour and also its medicinal properties.

Turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help the body in many ways, one of which is in recovering from muscle soreness. Its anti-inflammatory nature also helps with muscle or joint pains, swelling, muscle recovery, etc.

How to use it?

Add turmeric powder to your meals when cooking. The amount depends on taste. There are oral spray supplements also available in case you aren’t able to get adequate amounts through food. Using turmeric with black pepper will yield better results as black pepper increases the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in turmeric.

You can also have turmeric with warm milk.

How much to use?

500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day.

4. Garlic

Why does it work?

Garlic is an age-old remedy for a host of health-related problems. It is actually known as nature’s antibiotic. It has antibacterial properties that help cure diseases. Garlic can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation of muscles post-workout. Garlic contains sulfur and selenium. Sulfur helps relieve inflammation and selenium has an antirheumatic effect.

How to use it?

Add garlic to your food when cooking. You can add peeled cloves directly or crush the cloves and add them. The amount depends on taste.

How much to use?

You can consume 1-4 cloves of garlic each day.

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CURE 3: Herbs for Sore Muscles

1. Chamomile

Why does it work?

Chamomile is a herb that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It contains about 36 anti-inflammatory flavonoids that provide relief from sore muscles. It is also widely used for its antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-allergenic benefits.

How to use it?

You can use chamomile essential oils to massage sore muscles, or also have chamomile tea to reap the benefits of the flavonoids. Consuming chamomile tea gives you added benefits like muscle relaxation, etc. You can buy chamomile tea powder or bags online and brew a cup at home.

How much to use?

2-3 cups a day.

2. Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw
Image:ShutterStock

Why does it work?

Don’t be put off by the name, which the plant gets because of its fruit which bears many small, hook-like protrusions. Roots of the devil’s claw have traditionally been used to treat a huge number of ailments like fever, pain, arthritis, and indigestion. Devil’s claw contains properties that might help with inflammation and swelling of the muscles, and with the resulting pain.

How to use it?

You can purchase multiple forms of this herb in the market, in the form of concentrated extracts, capsules, powders and herbal teas. If you purchase the powder or tea, consume it with warm water.

How much to use?

600–2,610 mg of devil’s claw per day is a safe dosage.

3. Arnica

Why does it work?

Arnica is a herbal remedy that is often used to relieve muscle and joint pain, soreness, aches, inflammation and bruising. Arnica should be used as a topical cream and not ingested.

How to use it?

Massage the sore muscles with an arnica-based gel, cream, or ointment.

How much to use?

Massage sore muscles 1-2 times a day.

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CURE 4:  Home remedies for sore muscles

What is good for sore muscles? Try these simple home remedies.

1. Epsom Salt for Sore Muscles

Why does it work?

Epsom salt is a blend of minerals that helps with skin diseases and in relieving body aches, including sore muscles. Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate when added to water. Both compounds are known to help with muscle pain and swelling, bruises, sunburn, etc.

How to use it?

Add two cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub filled with warm water and soak yourself in it for 10-15 minutes.

How much to use?

Two cups in a bathtub of warm water.

[Also Read: Natural Tips For Bed Sores]

2. Warm Compresses

how to relieve sore muscles

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Why does it work?

Applying heat to inflamed, swollen or sore muscles will dilate the blood vessels and promote blood flow, and help tightened muscles relax. The improved circulation also eliminates any built-up lactic acid, further helping in relieving sore muscle pain.

How to use it?

You can dip a towel in warm water and place it on sore muscles. There are other devices like heating pads, bottles, and wraps, that you can purchase and use.

How much to use?

As often as needed.

3. Elevation

Why does it work?

Elevating swollen or inflamed muscles helps with blood circulation. When you work out (especially when you run), blood rushes to your muscles. Elevating the muscle above the heart post-workout helps recirculate this blood buildup.

How to use it?

Lie down on the floor and elevate your legs above your heart level.

How much to use?

As often as needed.

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CURE 5:  Alternative Treatments

1. Rest

Why does it work?

Rest is one of the three most important factors of a healthy body, the other 2 being diet and training. Most often, resting your body and the affected sore muscles are more than enough to get relief from muscle pain. This also means not straining the affected muscle until it is completely healed.

How to use it?

Reduce the movement of the sore muscles and get adequate sleep.

How much to use?

Rest as much as required and get at least 8 hours of sleep a day.

2. Stretches

Why does it work?

Stretching the muscles, you have strained post-workout can actually prevent muscle soreness. If you have muscle soreness, stretching the muscles can give immediate, temporary relief.

How to use it?

Sit or lie down on a yoga mat and stretch the affected muscles. You can also use a foam roll.

How much to use?

As much as needed.

2. Acupuncture

Benefits of Acupuncture
Image: ShutterStock

Why does it work?

Acupuncture is a painless procedure involving inserting very thin sterile needles to a specific location on your body. The piercing causes the body to deliver endorphins and oxygen to the muscle tissues, and this helps reduce muscle soreness and tightness.

How to use it?

Visit a certified acupuncturist.

How much to use?

As prescribed.

3. Acupressure

Why does it work?

Acupressure involves the massaging or pressing or select body points. This increases local blood circulation and promotes the excretion of inflammatory products, which helps in relieving muscle soreness.

How to use it?

You can massage affected sore muscles yourself, or visit a masseuse or an acupressure specialist.

How much to use?

As prescribed.

Although sore muscles are a positive sign or muscle repair, they can inhibit daily activity. Fortunately, the soreness in muscles usually goes away in a day or two, and this recovery can be expedited with the remedies mentioned in this article.


FAQs

1. My muscles ache after an exercise, am I injured?

If the ache is dull, and the restriction to movement is minimal, you just have delayed onset muscle soreness which will go away on its own. If the pain is unbearable and lasts for more than two days, visit a doctor.

2. If my muscles aren’t sore, does it mean I haven’t worked out properly/enough?

No, it doesn’t. Once your body is used to the workout, the soreness is minimal or none at all.

3. Can muscle soreness be prevented?

A good warm-up before working out and cool down/stretching post your workout can help prevent sore muscles.

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