It’s completely normal to have sore muscles after exercising, dancing all night long or lifting heavy objects. But when you’re living with chronic illness, performing everyday chores like doing groceries and cleaning your home can already cause you to overuse your muscles. The result? A burning pain in one or more parts of your body.
Not all muscle soreness is created equal
We’ve all experienced that aching feeling after an active day, but there are different kinds of sore muscles.
Acute muscle soreness is the burning sensation during or after a physical activity. It’s caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles and disappears shortly after you stop working out or carrying heavy things.
The pain and stiffness you feel 24 to 72 hours after being physically active is called delayed onset muscle soreness. When you move your body in a new or intense way, microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibers. To repair this damage, your body responds with inflammation, which in turn causes your muscles to feel sore. As you keep exercising at that level, your body will adapt and you’ll experience less delayed onset muscle soreness in the future.
Both types of muscle soreness are healthy results of physical activity, often localized in specific parts of your body. Systemic muscle pain, on the other hand, affects your whole body. The pain is caused by an underlying medical cause, like an infection, the use of certain medications, or chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders and thyroid problems.
Muscle pain coming from a medical condition or severe injury should be treated by a doctor or physiotherapist. But if you struggle with sore muscles because doing simple things feels like an intense workout for your chronically ill body, then perhaps the home remedies listed below could offer some relief.
5 Tools to Ease Sore Muscles
When you deal with sore muscles on a daily basis, it’s helpful to have a game plan for prevention. Research suggest that an anti-inflammatory diet can help, especially when it includes turmeric, cherry juice and pineapple. A gentle stretching routine also supports the recovery process.
That all sounds great to prevent and manage your pain, but what can you do if your muscles are burning right now? Here are 5 tools to try to ease sore muscles now.
1. Relief Balm
Wouldn’t it be great to have something at hand to reduce the aching and stiffness you feel from that long walk yesterday? Unlike popping an aspirin, pain relief creams and gels are applied topically. Rubbing the balm into the skin even has an additional benefit: it improves the blood flow in the painful area, which supports healing and muscle relaxation.
And what’s best, the Relief Balm from WholyMe only contains natural ingredients like arnica, eucalyptus and hemp seed, all proven to aid fatigued muscles and joints. No parabens, synthetics or fillers – just 12 potent properties in one innovative formula.
2. Epsom salt bath
There’s nothing like soaking in a warm bath to relax and release tension from your body. But when your muscles are sore, you might want to upgrade your tub time by adding Epsom salt. This saline, which releases magnesium when dissolved into water, is an age-old remedy used to restore your body after intense activity. So next time you feel sore and stiff, try a soothing soak.
3. Self- massage tools
If you’ve ever had a good massage, you know how amazing it is to feel all the tension flow out of your body. But what if there’s no one (qualified) around for a back rub? In that case, a self-massage tool can help you out. Self-massage tools are an inexpensive but effective way to target specific parts of your body – even those that are hard to reach.
Which kind of self-massage tool works best for you depends on your needs. Handheld roller massagers and massage balls are portable solutions for localized pain, by relieving tension in the deep tissue of your neck, shoulders, calves and thighs. Over recent years, foam rolling has become a wildly popular post-workout activity to ease muscle soreness and speed up muscle recovery. But even if you’re not a fitness fan, you can use a foam roller to lessen chronic pain, support your lymph flow and reduce inflammation in the body.
4. Heat therapy
Are you in doubt whether you should go hot or cold when you want to ease sore muscles? As a rule of thumb, heat works well for mild muscle pain and stiffness, whereas cold packs treat acute injuries and inflamed joints.
Applying heat on painful body parts improves the blood circulation to that area, which supports the elimination of the buildup lactic acid in your muscles. What’s more, heat warms up stiff muscles and relieves tension from your body.
Studies show that moist heat from a warm bath and steamed towels acts slightly quicker than dry heat. But heating pads and heatable cherry pit pillows will keep you comfortable for hours, while you’re curled up under a blanket.
A few warnings: don’t use heat on an open wound. And if you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, please check with your doctor before trying heat therapy.
5. Compression wear
Maybe you’re familiar with compression socks for medical reasons, but did you know that compression wear could help ease sore muscles too? Studies suggest that wearing compression socks and sleeves after intensive activity reduces delayed onset muscle soreness and speeds up muscle recovery.
Compression clothing also increases your blood flow and oxygenation, which alleviates chronic pain. Depending on what your doctor recommends for your particular health condition, you could try out these spoonie-approved brands to manage your muscle pain.
Feeling a burning pain from doing your daily chores or working towards your recovery is never fun. These 5 tools won’t magically make all your muscle soreness go away, but hopefully they’ll reduce your pain.
I’d love to know, what helps you to ease sore muscles from living with chronic illness?
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like: