In naturopathy, several courses of action are possible to prevent and relieve muscle pain. A healthy lifestyle remains the best way to avoid inflammatory conditions. As a preventive measure, it is important to maintain a toned, flexible, and oxygenated muscle mass.
To do this, regular exercise including muscular work and stretching must fit into the daily schedule; tense, stiff muscles tense up much more easily, for a thousand and one reasons! In addition, movement activates the circulatory and lymphatic systems so that cellular waste is better evacuated by our elimination organs. Muscles will naturally be less tense if they are not engorged or surrounded by acidity and metabolic waste.
In order to better manage stress but also to oxygenate the blood, conscious and deep breathing is an essential element for our health. Allowing the body to experience a period of relaxation during the day facilitates muscle relaxation. Indeed, as soon as stress sets in, various parts of the body tense up, and breathing becomes faster and shallower. As a result, the movement of the diaphragm becomes restricted and many adjacent organs and muscles suffer. Imagine if this state of stress lasts almost all day, 7 days a week!
What about digestion?
A lot of back pain is caused by digestive problems. Many people have their backs treated on a regular basis while their digestive organs are crying for help! Swollen and bloated intestines put pressure on adjacent tissues as irritated and inflamed intestines tighten and pull on surrounding tissue. All this leads to tissue congestion and poor oxygenation of the cells. In addition, these organs can come only to emanate from non-eliminated waste; the acidity released is thus transferred to the surrounding tissues, causing further inflammation.
In another view, a stressed organ, such as an overloaded or diseased liver, may become tense and then, in turn, cause continuous strain on the nerves connecting it to the spine and then to the brain. Thus, treating the organ or organs connected to a painful vertebra improves the results.
In order to calm inflammation while applying the basics of healthy living, a few herbs can help reduce pain. Oftentimes, less pain makes it easier to get back into shape and this is how the wheel can start to spin again. The plants will be chosen according to your type of pain, its location, the health of your organs, and other factors such as taking medication; it is, therefore, advisable to seek advice from an accredited herbalist therapist before venturing there. Turmeric, meadowsweet, valerian, hops, birch, black cohosh, willow, wild yam, celery seed, wintergreen, angelica, and feverfew are just a few examples of plants that will be able to give a helping hand, for a few days or a few weeks.
Aromatherapy is a sensational medicine for treating pain and inflammation. There are many essential oils with antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Whether applied in the prevention or in a curative manner, these treasures of nature have accompanied human muscles and their whims for hundreds of years. Think of the very popular “Tiger Balm” made from peppermint and camphor. In Quebec, “Antiphlogistin” is popular with its scent of “pink paparmans” from the essence of wild tea or its main anti-inflammatory molecule; methyl-salicylate.
In the Quebec pharmacopeia, balsam fir and goldenrod are excellent anti-inflammatory drugs. Their essential oil will be massaged on the painful region at the rate of ten drops in a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Among one of the most therapeutic, the oil with the flowers of St. John’s Wort arrives hands down. To prepare this highly therapeutic massage oil, the flower buds are harvested around the summer solstice and then macerated for 1 to 2 months in high-quality vegetable oil, such as organic olive or sunflower oil. This oil, even without added aromatic essence, will be effective in treating any form of stiffness, elongation, or tension.
Depending on the type of pain, antispasmodic and circulatory aromatic essences will be best suited to relieve a cramp or spasm. Wintergreen and lemon eucalyptus can be massaged neat on the painful muscle area. For people with a tendency to have calf cramps, applying a circulatory essence such as red pine before going to sleep will reduce the risk of experiencing a nighttime cramp.
Essences composed of phenylmethyl ethers are good antispasmodics in addition to bringing balance to the central nervous system. Thus, when diluted in a fatty substance, star anise, exotic basil, tarragon, and noble laurel will have good effectiveness.
Then, to further relax the muscle, certain essences rich in esters will help to calm and act as a muscle relaxant. The noble chamomile, the lavender, and the small grain bigarade can be added to an aromatic formula or simply massaged in the pure state. Finally, let’s not forget the ingredients of the popular tiger balm; peppermint and camphor which will offer an incomparable freshness effect, then cineol rosemary and Copaiba balm for their undeniable anti-inflammatory property. It only remains to massage!