Being a runner and one who enjoys strength training, sore muscles are bound to happen. A speed work session at the track, heavy weight lifting at the gym, or just over doing it, can all cause muscle soreness. Lactic acid builds up in the muscles, which is normal. This can aggravate your muscles and cause pain, soreness, and stiffness.
There is also delayed onset muscle soreness know as DOMS. This soreness develops 12-24 hours after exercise. This may be due to microscopic tears to muscle tissue. Inflammation and swelling can also occur.
I always like to find natural ways to relieve pain or discomfort versus taking any type of pain reliever.
I’d like to share 5 natural ways to relieve sore, tender, or stiff muscles!
- Tiger Balm: I found this a few years ago at the grocery store. Tiger Balm has been used for nearly 100 years and is sold throughout the world! The smell reminds me of vick’s vapor rub. It has herbal ingredients and provides heat to the muscle, which I find soothing. I’ve used it on my legs, neck, and back. My husband and kids have used it as well.
- Arnicare Cream: Arnica is a natural, homeopathic medicine. It “works naturally with your body”. Homeopathic medicines have been used for more than 200 years. It states that you can use it before or after exercise, but I’ve only used it after. It comes in a gel, cream, or ointment. I’ve used the gel before, but I prefer the cream. The cream seems to absorb faster and has no odor, which is nice.
- CryoMax reusable cold pack: I bought this years ago when I had a sore hip. It’s been in the freezer ever since and has gotten plenty of use! This cold pack is very durable. I like how it comes with a support wrap, so it stays in place and conforms to your body. I’ve heard some say ice therapy is “nature’s ibuprofen”.
- Compression Socks: Nothing new here. Compression socks are all over social media. I’m not sure if wearing compression socks offers any performance benefits, but I believe they do help with recovery and helps reduce muscle soreness. Last week was the highest mileage running week I’ve ever had. I was sure to wear compression socks after each of my runs and my legs felt fresh and less sore (I slept with them on too). I purchased these socks off Amazon and love them. If you decide to try compression socks, Berkeley Wellness advises to “avoid socks with high compression or going above the knee“.
- Kinesiology tape: KT tape is an elastic sports tape that is light weight and comfortable to wear. It’s “designed to relieve pain“. It can be used on your knee, shoulder, back, or just about anywhere. KT tape provides support without restricting range of motion and also reduces pressure to tissue and helps lessen pain. It is important to apply it correctly!
Stretching and foam rolling are always good options as well. Being physically active, you’ll probably deal with muscle soreness, aches and pains at some point. Give these a try and help soothe those muscles!
How do you deal muscle soreness or stiffness?
Any tips to share?