Muscle cramps can be causes of over-use, tension, and injury and intense but infrequent physical exertion often wreaks its revenge the following day. But sore, stiff muscles respond well to a bit of traditional wisdom.
Aching muscles are unpleasant but usually harmless and tend to ease after a few days. In the meantime, heat applications are a good way to alleviate the pain. However, muscle cramps can also be due to other causes, such as circulatory disorders or a mineral deficiency.
You should consult a doctor if cramps are particularly painful or if the pain persists.
SORE Muscles –
- If you develop sore muscles, take it easy for the first 12–48 hours. When sore, muscles do not have full function and continued strenuous demands carry a heightened risk of injury.
- A hot bath can help you feel better. Add 5–10 drops of chamomile, lavender, or eucalyptus essential oil for a soothing effect. The caveat: Avoid heat for 2–3 hours after a tough workout, as it will promote circulation and increase inflammation.
- A warm wrap with a few drops of arnica tincture can ease the pain.
- Massage can help ease sore, stiff muscles.
- Ample fluid intake flushes excess acids from the body and supplies it with important minerals. Opt for herbal teas and vegetable and fruit juices, diluted with mineral water containing little or no sodium. Warm up and rub muscles with diluted tea tree oil before intensive exercise.
Spirits of Juniper –
- 1/2 cup (100 g) dried juniper berries
- 1-quart (1 L) vodka
- Pour the vodka over the juniper berries and let the mixture steep in a clear glass bottle and leave it in sunlight for 3–4 weeks before straining. Rub on sore muscles before bedtime.
- To relax a cramp in the calf, stretch the muscle carefully against the direction of the cramping, then walk back and forth. In stubborn cases, sit on the ground, pull your toes towards you and stretch your leg out fully. Then gently massage the muscle.
- Rubs containing extracts of menthol, camphor, or horse chestnut can add extra power to a massage to loosen up cramps. So can essentially oil of eucalyptus, spruce, or thyme.
- A lack of minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium, is probably the biggest cause of night leg cramps. These minerals are abundant in fennel, broccoli, bananas, dried fruit, oatmeal, nuts, milk, cream cheese, and cheese.
- Cider vinegar provides your body with potassium. Drink 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cider vinegar in 1 cup (250 ml) water every evening for at least 4 weeks.
- If cramps are the result of a magnesium deficiency, taking magnesium tablets is a good idea. Check with a doctor first, however.