As the weather warms, and many of us head outdoors to enjoy all sorts of recreational activities or hit the gym as hard as we can to try to sculpt a bathing suit-ready body, the risk of injury naturally increases.
Many people fail to warm up before taking part in active pursuits, which research has found decreases injury risk. If you’re one of many who jump into a workout or sport without taking time to warm up and find yourself injured, the good news is that there are some highly effective, natural ways to treat it.
Stretching can be ideal for pain relief and preventing further injury. It’s one of the best ways to keep the muscles strong and increase flexibility – the more flexible you are, the better it is for your joints.
All of this helps to prevent injury and helps day-to-day range of motion. Performing herniated disc exercises can make a significant difference in pain levels and improve the ability to make everyday movements such as putting on your shoes.
There are simple exercises you can do such as the standing lumbar spine extension, where you’ll place your hands on the back of your hips and then lean backward as far as you’re able to go.
Another option is to lie face down on a yoga mat or towel that’s placed on the floor (don’t use a bed as you need a firm surface). Push up onto your forearms, but don’t raise your hips or strain. Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds before lowering yourself back down. Gradually work up to 10 to 15 repetitions, performing two to three sets, resting in between for 30 to 60 seconds.
Massage is a great way to reduce inflammation in the body, decrease lactic acid buildup, reduce muscle spasms and improve blood flow. It’s especially helpful for relieving lower back pain, but it can also help with any stiff, painful joints and muscles.
In ancient Greece, Athenian athletes were given massages with olive oil to help improve performance before a competition, and gladiators in Rome did the same to assist them in battle.
Applying certain aromatherapy oils can enhance the effects, using essential oils like wintergreen, juniper, basil or sage. These are known to promote better circulation to the injured area while reducing inflammation and helping to heal tissue damage.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest natural healing practices in the world. It’s known to relieve pain and treat an jury by reducing the nervous system’s pain response, increasing endorphin levels, reducing inflammation and swelling, stopping spasms and relaxing the muscles, enhancing blood circulation in the injured area and even alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. This treatment is very effective for sports injuries, including plantar fasciitis, common in runners.
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If you’re suffering from aching, painful joints and/or muscles, ginger offers outstanding pain-relieving effects while reducing stiffness and swelling thanks to compounds called gingerols, that are known to prevent the production of hormones which trigger pain. In fact, a Denmark study published in the journal Arthritis compared a ginger extract to ibuprofen and cortisone for treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The researchers discovered that when the participants who were suffering from aches and pains added ginger to their diet, about two-thirds experienced decreased joint and muscle pain as well as swelling and stiffness.
One of the best ways to use ginger is to slice a few pieces of fresh ginger root and make a tea by steeping it in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.