A Foolproof Formula for Exercising Stiffness Away
It may sound ironic, but it's a fact that exercise can be the cure or the cause of stiffness. You may have noticed that for yourself. Maybe you wake up one morning barely able to move after an intense session at the gym the day before.
On the other hand, maybe you find your sore hip or creaky knees feel rejuvenated after a few yoga classes or lunchtime walks.
It's really not as mysterious as it seems. Just changing the way you work out can help relieve the stiffness you already feel, and prevent you from developing future aches and pains.
Follow these tips so you can stay fit and enjoy more comfort.
Avoiding Stiffness Caused by Exercise:
1. Understand the cause. That achiness that starts several hours after a tough workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You may have heard that it's caused by lactic acid building up, but experts now believe it has more to do with inflammation. In this case, inflammation can be beneficial because the muscle grows bigger and stronger as it repairs itself.
2. Pace yourself. You can exercise effectively without giving up comfort if you work your way up gradually. That means increasing the intensity or length of your workouts by about 10% or less per week.
3. Limit eccentric contractions. Another important factor in DOMS is eccentric contractions, where the muscle lengthens under pressure. Take extra care with movements like running downhill or lowering weights.
4. Wait it out. If you've already discovered that you were a little too enthusiastic at the gym, keep in mind that DOMS is usually harmless. You'll probably start feeling better in about 3 days.
5. Find temporary relief. While there is no cure for DOMS, there are many ways to reduce the symptoms. Experiment with sports massage, foam rollers, and other methods to see what works for you.
Using Exercise to Relieve Stiffness:
1. Build strength. If you're hesitant about working out because you think it will aggravate arthritis and other conditions, think again. Strong muscles support your bones and take stress off your joints. Lift weights or do bodyweight exercises like pushups and dips.
2. Extend your range of motion. Movements like shoulder rolls and leg lifts will help keep your joints flexible and reduce your risk of falling. Add them into your daily routine.
3. Choose low impact activities. To stay safe, focus on movements where you can keep one foot on the ground. Swimming is another way to protect your joints while you burn calories.
4. Lose weight. If you're carrying around some extra pounds, that extra weight could be contributing to your discomfort. Take a load off your joints by slimming down with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
5. Move more. There are plenty of opportunities to burn more calories regardless of whether you have a gym membership. Go for long walks or do yard work manually.
6. Try physical therapy. If you're looking for a natural alternative to surgery and prescription drugs, a physical therapist may be able to suggest exercises that will loosen up your joints and muscles. They can also show you how to perform your daily activities more safely.
7. Talk with your doctor. While a little muscle soreness after an intense workout is rarely a cause for concern, there are times to see your doctor. That includes anytime you notice swelling or sharp pain during or after working out, and addressing questions about how exercise could affect any specific conditions you might have.
Knowing how to deal with stiffness will help you stay physically active so you can lead a longer and fuller life. Exercise regularly, and increase the intensity of your workouts gradually so you can say goodbye to soreness and stiffness.
Pain, stiffness and muscle fatigue can be helped in so many natural ways.....Here are a few of my favorites!
Could shiny steel instruments properly manipulated be the answer to your chronic pain and inflammation? Quite possibly, yes! The Graston Technique® (GT) is a unique and outcome-proven form of soft tissue mobilization using specially designed stainless steel instruments alongside appropriate therapeutic exercise. Graston Technique® is considered an instrument-assisted manual therapy technique just like dry needling and acupuncture, all of which are really gaining popularity these days.
This noninvasive method of healing known as Graston Technique® is used to treat all kinds soft tissue conditions, whether they are chronic, acute or post-surgical. You may have never heard of Graston Technique® before, but other people have, like the 431 professional and amateur sports organizations currently utilizing Graston Technique® on a regular basis. Clearly, some of the most physically active and frequently injured people on the planet must be feeling the relief of this healing technique!
What Is the Graston Technique?
Graston Technique® is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables practitioners to improve scar tissue, fascial restrictions and range of motion. The theory behind this very interesting technique is that by using a tool to introduce microtrauma into an area of excessive scarring and/or soft tissue fibrosis an inflammatory response will occur that will encourage the healing process. The use of tools helps to get to the root of the problem, but it’s also intended to reduce stress on the therapist’s hands.
Graston allows a practitioner to get deep into the problematic tissue yet be sensitive to a patient’s level of pain tolerance. As the instruments are moved over the affected area and come in contact with adhesions, they help to break up scar tissue and restrictions of the fascia. In time, this process can reduce or eliminate the adhered fibers, restoring range of motion and eliminating the associated pain. The aim and ideal outcome of Graston is to help transform your soft tissue injury into healthy functioning tissue once again.
Why does Graston aim to reduce scar tissue? Scar tissue is thick, dense tissue that appears after injury or trauma. It can limit your range of motion, cause pain and lead to dysfunctional movement. Graston aims to break up this scar tissue to interrupt and break the cycle of pain and dysfunction.
Graston Technique® is never used completely on its own. The full treatment includes brief warm-up exercises, the treatment, followed by stretching and strengthening activities. Ice can also be a part of the follow-up portion of treatment if subacute inflammation (inflammation that lasts longer than acute inflammation but is not chronic) is present.
Who is using this healing physical therapy? Currently it is being used by more than 24,500 clinicians worldwide in 3,042 outpatient facilities and is included in the curriculum at more than 45 respected universities and colleges. It is also utilized by over 431 professional and amateur sports organizations and on-site at 86 major corporations.
It depends upon the specific patient, but it typically involves one to two treatments per week during the span of four to five weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the third or fourth treatment session. For more chronic conditions, the average number of sessions per episode of care averages between six to 12 treatments. You can locate your nearest Graston Technique® provider on the official Graston Technique website.
When it comes to a natural remedy for almost anything, from sore muscles and burns to insect bites, a poultice is a great way to tackle it. As a kid, I remember my grandmother creating this remedy when I had my first bee sting. I had no idea what she was doing, but it worked and I went from a teary-eyed kid to back to playing in no time!
Grandma didn’t just make this stuff up either. Poultices have long been noted as traditional medicine, with some poultices made from what I would call some not so pleasant ingredients. In fact, the most frequented poultice historically recorded was made with cow manure mixed with clay for abscesses and burns. Don’t worry — I’m not suggesting you go out and find cow manure, and my grandma did not use cow manure. No, this poultice comprised a sock filled with hot salt, known as a salt poultice, which was a recommended treatment for mumps and toothaches.
Now that I have sparked your curiosity, a poultice is totally safe and easy to make. So what is a poultice, exactly? It’s a natural, at-home remedy that’s typically filled with beneficial herbs that can quickly heal an area, fight inflammation and improve blood circulation. Using a combination of ingredients, such as powdered clay, salts, charcoal and even essential oils, along with leafy herbs, you can make a poultice by wrapping these types of healing combinations in a piece of cloth and placing it directly on the affected area or the bottom of the feet.
A poultice is a great option because the affected area gets direct contact with these natural remedies, allowing healing through immediate absorption through the skin and, ultimately, drawing out any infection. Additionally, the bottom of the feet is an area where the skin is able to more easily absorb the natural remedy you apply.
The magnesium found in epsom salts may help alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by injuries, such as sprains and strains, as well as swelling that may be the result of a sting due to a biting insect. An epsom salt poultice can help reduce pain associated with sore muscles or help relieve pain from bruises. It can also help draw out the pain associated with an insect sting.
A poultice is great, but be aware of the ingredients before applying. If you have sensitivities to any of the ingredients, remove immediately. If heating a poultice, don’t apply it while it’s hot. Make sure it cools first so that you do not burn your skin.
Try this DIY poultice remedy below, and start the healing.
DIY Healing Poultice Remedy
Total Time: 10 minutesServes: 1 application, but may be re-used a few times
1 ounce freshly grated or chopped turmeric
1 ounce chopped lemongrass
1/2 cup small raw sliced onion
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 ounce freshly grated or chopped ginger
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 drops oregano essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus
White cloth, muslin or a waterproof food wrap
Thick string (optional)
In a pan on low heat, add the coconut oil and lightly sauté the ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, onion and garlic. You can put a lid on it for a few seconds to let it steam. You want it to remain mostly dry or slightly moist from the coconut oil. You can use a tiny bit of water if needed as you do not want it to burn.
Turn off and move the ingredients to a bowl to cool.
Add the essential oils and stir to blend well.
Next, lay out your cloth. Take a big spoonful of the mixture and place it into the center of your cloth.
Now, just fold or lay the outside pieces on top of each other so you have a pack. Some like to pull long pieces up into a “handle” at the top and tie it with yarn or thread. It doesn’t really matter as long as you keep the ingredients nestled tightly in the cloth so nothing falls out or becomes loose when in use.
Next, place the poultice on the affected area for 20–30 minutes two or three times a day.
You can place it in the fridge and reheat in a steamer or microwaves, using it four or fives times, before making a new one.
Now how about some spicy foods for killing the soreness and pain of muscle fatigue?
If you’ve got a taste for hot stuff, you likely know some level of pain is involved. Interestingly, though, hot foods like wasabi and cayenne pepper can actually act as natural painkillers. Cayenne pepper benefits include several types of natural pain relief. The powerful pepper actually helps alleviate post-operative pain, including pain relief after a mastectomy or amputation.
Cayenne pepper is also a potent candida killer. Scientists found it’s active against 16 different fungal strains, including candida, a common internal infection linked to joint pain, among other candida symptoms. Cayenne also provides external pain relieve. Capsaicin, an important natural painkiller found in cayenne, helps treat muscle soreness, tension and even skin infections. Look for it in natural painkilling creams.
Wasabi is another spicy food with natural painkilling properties. Scientists are studying the isothiocyanates in wasabi as potential pain relievers. Researcher from University of California San Francisco made a recent discovery suggesting that isothiocyanates could block an inflammation receptor, making it a potentially important natural painkiller.
Lavender & Peppermint Oils for Muscle Pain & Headache Relief
One of the benefits of peppermint oil involves its natural painkiller and muscle-relaxant properties. It’s even been shown to help alleviate fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.
For natural headache relief, two essential oils team up for natural pain relief. Peppermint oil improves circulation and lavender reduces muscle tension — two ways to quickly stop a headache in its tracks. Try placing a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil into your hands and then rubbing the blend on your forehead, temples and back of neck. You can also dilute a few drops down by mixing the essential oils with almond, grapeseed or coconut oil.
The peppermint-lavender combo also teams up to reduce post-workout muscle pain. This handy homemade muscle rub recipe also helps alleviate sore muscles:
Homemade Muscle Rub
*this has been a staple for many clients, check out my custom blends
Total Time: 30 minutesServes: 30
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grated beeswax
2 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoon ginger or turmeric powder (Note: While turmeric is an outstanding anti-inflammatory, be aware that it will cause some temporary skin discoloration)
15 drops peppermint essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
Pour all oils (except essential oils) in to a jar. Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium low heat.
Place jar in saucepan and allow contents to melt. Stir to combine. Add the cayenne and ginger/turmeric.
Once combined, allow to cool slightly and then add in essential oils. Mix well.
Pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers and allow to set.
**Note: Certain essential oils posses incredible pain-reducing qualities. (As always, it’s important to use essential oils according to directions because these plant-based compounds are potent. So be sure to mix with carrier oils accordingly when appropriate.)
You may already know that magnesium-rich epsom salt is a natural painkiller for bone and joint pain and muscle soreness. (It’s a go-to remedy for heel spur pain, specifically.) But epsom salt can also come in handy when you’re dealing with a painful splinter or even post-childbirth soreness.
Soaking an area affected with a splinter in warm water and epsom salt helps painlessly draw out splinters. A sitz bath including epsom salt can help increase magnesium and quiet inflammation associated with soreness after childbirth.
Let me know if you have questions about your muscles soreness or natural pain relief!
I understand there’s no doubt that prescription painkillers help reduce your pain. The problem is you often need more and more to quiet the pain associated with chronic symptoms. Worse yet, overdoses and addiction are becoming even more prevalent, meaning natural painkillers are more important than ever.
The three most common prescription painkillers involve oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. Try seeking natural painkillers before opting for these potentially addictive and harmful solutions.
Prescription and over-the-counter painkillers help relieve pain but come with a whole bunch of side effects. Aspirin side effects include stomach ulcers and breathing problems, while prescription painkillers are blamed for an increasing amount of overdose deaths.
Natural painkillers that focus on breaking up muscle adhesions and trigger points, along with posture improvements and pain-fighting essential oils, can go a long way in helping you feel better without resorting to addictive and damaging over-the-counter and prescription pills.
Much Love Suzanne
Find out more about the only essential oils I use in my Holistic Healing Practice HERE
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