Muscle soreness is a part of life. At one point or another, we’ve all dealt with a muscle ache or soreness. Sometimes, you expect it—you’re trying a new exercise regimen, and you know you’ll feel the burn the next day. Other times, a sore muscle comes out of left field—you turn your head to make eye contact while you talk to a friend, and suddenly your neck spasms.
Any of the following can lead to muscle and joint aches:
- Post-exercise inflammation
- Stress, nerves and tension
- Repetitive use of a muscle
- Lack of sleep
Understanding the cause of your muscle soreness can help you avoid future discomfort. However, when an ache arises, it’s essential to have tools that help you feel better, faster . Below are our top 7 natural remedies for muscle soreness.
Many wonder if CBD for muscle pain actually works. While there is no direct correlation, CBD happens to be an excellent way to soothe muscle soreness or mitigate an ache. CBD works by interacting with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). When CBD comes in contact with ECS nerve receptors, it helps regulate the following:
- Healthy sleep
- Response to discomfort
This is why CBD has such a wide range of benefits, including relieving bodily discomfort.
Depending on how and when you experience discomfort, you can apply CBD topically or take it orally:
- Topically: Apply CBD directly to sore spots – Whether your neck and shoulders are tense due to stress or your back hurts from one too many burpees, sometimes you need immediate relief in the region that’s aching. To that end, CBD can be absorbed transdermally (through the skin). Rub CBD balm or oil directly on the area) to soothe the aching muscles.
- Orally: Take CBD oil or tablets – Do you experience discomfort without a specific physical cause? If you’ve been sleeping poorly or experiencing random aches, CBD may help. For best results, add CBD tinctures or tablets to your daily routine. Over time, you’ll feel CBD’s full range of effects and experience more comfort in your body.
In sum, CBD can help soothe sore spots, by targeting exercise-induced inflammation topically, and when taken orally, CBD helps to support your body internally. For even more potent results, try both methods together.
#2 Herbal Remedies
CBD is an especially effective plant-based modality. However, it’s not nature’s only tool for combatting discomfort. Botanical extracts are amongst the best when it comes to natural remedies for muscle pain. Many other plants and herbs can provide natural pain relief, such as
- Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to provide natural muscle pain relief.
- Arnica can be toxic when eaten, but topical use can treat bruises and a muscle ache.
- Cayenne has both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Peppermint can decrease discomfort when applied to a sore area. Try applying it topically, or even soothing your nerves by inhaling an essential oil.
- Chamomile is one of the most ancient herbal remedies available, and contemporary studies show its applicability for issues from poor sleep to physical discomfort to stress.
For even stronger results, combine several of these herbs. Try a CBD balm that combines the botanical power of CBD, arnica, peppermint, and other adaptogenic herbs.
#3 Massage and Cupping
You already know that a massage feels good. But did you know it can also help with muscle recovery after exercise and injury? Massage can decrease your overall stress levels, helping your body return to homeostasis and perform its natural healing work quicker.
According to WebMD, a 2012 study looked at cellular changes after a massage. Researchers observed that:
“First, massage switched on genes that decrease inflammation…Second, massage activated genes that promote the creation of mitochondria, structures that are the energy factories inside cells. The fitter a muscle cell is, the more mitochondria it tends to have.”
Best of all, you can experience the benefits of bodywork at home. It’s easy to learn simple self-massage techniques from YouTube and other Internet resources, or to explore your own body using the sense of touch.
Just use a few basic tips:
- Use oil to reduce friction
- Try out CBD oil for added benefits to your massage
- Start with low pressure to avoid causing further damage
- Go slow, breathe and observe your sensations
While massage works by compressing muscles, Traditional Chinese Medicine has another technique for relieving soreness. Cupping uses suction cups to draw muscle away from the bone. After applying oil to the skin, the cups can move freely along muscles in a movement similar to massage. A recent study in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine shows this ancient technique’s applicability for a number of issues, including muscle soreness.
For many people, cupping is relaxing. Additionally, it has become popular amongst Olympic athletes for exercise recovery. You can try it with a licensed practitioner or buy an at-home cupping set. If you try this at home, combine the power of cupping with the power of plant medicine by using a botanical or essential oil to improve your cups’ suction and glide.
#4 Movement and Stretching
When you’re in physical discomfort, you may want nothing more than to spend all day on the sofa watching TV. In fact, you might have heard that the best treatment is RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. However, Dr. Gabe Mirkin tells Outside that this method can actually delay healing and prolong discomfort: “You’ll increase healing by movement without pressure.”
It’s important to increase blood flow to the area of your soreness, as well as gently lengthen the affected muscles to avoid inducing stiffness. Try to stay away from any movement that puts pressure on your affected muscles, such as weight lifting.
The following are usually good options:
Take it slow, and remember to pause if your movement triggers pain signals and becomes uncomfortable or exacerbates muscle soreness or muscle tension.
Magnesium is an essential vitamin that plays a role in everything from regulating your heartbeat to building bone. When you lack magnesium, it can lead to a muscle spasm and discomfort. Taking magnesium can help with muscle tension, muscle cramps, soreness and discomfort. In addition, this natural remedy aids healthy sleep and can even improve your mood.
There are two ways to use magnesium to manage discomfort and support your overall health:
- Orally – Take a magnesium supplement, or eat magnesium-rich foods like almonds, spinach, cashews and kidney beans.
- Topically – Take a bath with Epsom salt, which breaks down into magnesium. To make your bath extra-nourishing, considering adding herbs and CBD oil, too.
#6 Heat and Cold
Almost all of us have grabbed a bag of frozen peas or a heating pad to soothe our soreness. But which is better? The short answer is it depends. The research is mixed on whether heat or cold is best for muscle recovery.
- Heat increases circulation to an affected muscle, and can also help to promote relaxation. However, some studies suggest that it should not be used on new injuries, as it can increase inflammation. If you use heat, be careful not to leave your hot water bottle or heating blanket on for more than 20 minutes.
- Ice can decrease inflammation by reducing blood flow. Thus, it may help prevent discomfort at the site of a recent muscle strain. Be sure to stop use if an area becomes numb or starts to spasm.
However, these general guidelines can vary depending on the source of your muscle pain, as well as where you’re experiencing it. For best results, you can try alternating hot and cold. Listen to your body to see which provides more relief, and adjust accordingly.
Of course, if the pain feels concerning, the best thing you can do is consult your primary care physician.
Sometimes, the best remedy is time.
Maybe you woke up in the morning with a sore muscle and immediately made a CBD-almond milk-spinach smoothie. Then you followed up with a walk and some light stretching. You spent the afternoon in an Epsom salt bath, and topped it all off with a full-body CBD oil massage to get yourself as relaxed as possible.
Even with all of these good for you measures, you’re still experiencing muscle soreness.
In situations like these, continuing to poke, prod and obsess over your sore muscle will likely have diminishing returns. The body takes time to heal, and you need to give it rest.
If you’re unable to focus elsewhere, take our CBD Drops+Sleep oil and drink a hot cup of chamomile tea. Get a good night’s sleep and let your body heal naturally.
Plant People Natural Alternatives
CBD oil, balm and capsules are excellent natural supplements for any muscle recovery routine. Whether you’re looking for a CBD balm to incorporate into self-massage or CBD capsules to promote your overall health, Plant People has the CBD product that’s right for you.
Our high-quality, 100% organic hemp-derived CBD products combine the power of CBD with adaptogenic botanical extracts and herbs. Soothe your sore muscles, improve your sleep and experience greater overall health with our line of premium CBD products.
WebMD. Ginger may soothe aching muscles. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100920/ginger-may-soothe-aching-muscles
WedMD. Arnica. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/arnica
Verywell Fit. Cayenne. https://www.verywellfit.com/cayenne-for-low-back-pain-can-it-help-88928
Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. Comparison of the effect of topical application of rosemary and menthol for musculoskeletal pain in hemodialysis patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684790/
Molecular Medicine Reports. Chamomile. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
WebMD. Massage may help sore muscles recover. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20120201/massage-may-help-sore-muscles-recover#1
Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Cupping. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488563/
New York Times. What are the purple dots on Michael Phelps. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/what-are-the-purple-dots-on-michael-phelps-cupping-has-an-olympic-moment/
Medical News Today. Heat and cold treatment. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29108#alternating_cold_and_heat
Outside. The cure for sore muscles? https://www.outsideonline.com/1926271/cure-sore-muscles-more-movement