6 natural remedies that can help manage pain before you reach for the painkiller

It can be easy to reach for an OTC painkiller every time you’re feeling a twinge of pain, but it may not always be the best call. Too much of it can disrupt gut health and cause ulcers too. If you’re struggling with discomfort from muscle aches from sitting in front of the computer for too long, or an overzealous workout routine, you may want to try a more natural method of pain relief before you move to the next level. Here are six you can try now.

1) Massages

“When carried out correctly, massage reduces nerve compression and stress and helps in tissue relaxation to relieve pain. Generally, when a muscle has micro-tears, inflammation can lead to swelling and pain. That is why it is always a good idea to massage the affected gently with warm mustard oil since it has anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr Babina NM, chief medical officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute. “A combination of nilgiri oil with camphor also works wonders on painful points, while some experts like using a massage oil with lavender too.”

2) Epsom salts

According to experts, a warm bath can help alleviate muscle pain as the heat gets the blood flowing in the body to help the tight or sore muscles relax. “Adding epsom salts in your warm bath can reduce the inflammation and swelling induced by muscle pain. It is recommended to soak the body’s affected area in the warm water for around 15-20 minutes to get relief,” adds Dr Babina.

3) Cold compression

Cold compression helps reduce pain and inflammation resulting from muscle injury. “The best way to do an ice massage is to wrap some ice cubes in a towel and gently massage the affected area for about 20 minutes. The ice numbs the nerve endings that reduce the pain and also combats muscle inflammation. It is essential to rub the muscle towards the direction it runs to avoid any further damage,” says Dr Babina.

4) Magnesium

According to Dr Babina, magnesium is a natural calcium blocker, helping your muscle cells relax after contracting. When your magnesium levels are low, muscles may contract too much, which can cause cramps or muscle spasms, leading to all-over pain.

5) Arnica

Arnica, used as a gel or cream, helps heal and decrease inflammation, relieves pain and soreness and reduces bruising as well. It is best for application on ligaments and tendons to reduce pain too. Doctors say that applying arnica while massaging it in a stroking motion towards the centre of the injury can be very effective.

6) Anti-inflammatory herbs and adaptogens

Herbs have been used for the treatment of muscle pains and swellings for a long time. There are different types of herbs available that can assist with natural pain relief. Dr Babina shares her top go-to anti-inflammatory herbs to alleviate pain: “Cayenne has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Ginger contains phytochemicals that stops inflammation and reduces muscle pain. Ginger is also effective against pain resulting from different conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Chamomile is an ancient herbal remedy is quite effective against muscle soreness, stress and poor sleep,” she shares, adding that you can brew these in water and have this decoction for slow but steady relief. Turmeric is also a great anti-inflammatory ingredient thanks to its main ingredient curcumin, which improves healing.

The article was first published in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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