Natural Approaches to Post-Exercise Pain
There’s nothing like a full body workout to get your blood moving, your endorphins flowing and your muscles toned. Exercise, anything from simply going to the gym to playing a team sport to a long, brisk walk at lunch, can bring a number of benefits to your body and should be a part of your daily routine.
Active people of all stripes often experience aches and pains post-workout and sometimes even during. Those aches and pains often come in the form of cramps, spasms and sore muscles.
Fortunately, there are some very easy, natural ways to ease and even prevent the pains associated with physical activity.
Types of Post-Exercise Muscle Pain
Many active people experience cramps or spasms because of over-exertion, but do you know the difference between the two? Both things happen to your muscles, but there is a way to differentiate between these two types of athletic pain.
On Health says that “Skeletal muscles attach to the bones and are used for voluntarily movements of the body. Muscle spasms occur when a skeletal muscle contracts and does not relax. Muscle spasms are forceful and involuntary. A sustained muscle spasm is called a muscle cramp.”
According to M.D. Andrew Weil, another form of muscle spasm that can be caused by strenuous exercise is involuntary muscle twitching. This happens when your muscles contract and release rapidly in one target area.
There is another type of muscle pain that can come with exercise as well — delayed onset muscle soreness is the most common muscle issue to come from exercise of any kind.
England’s National Health Service says “Sore muscles after physical activity, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can occur when you start a new exercise programme, change your exercise routine, or increase the duration or intensity of your regular workout.
When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to, or in a different way, it’s believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness.”
So now you may understand what kind of pain you’re experiencing, but do you know why you may be experiencing it?
What causes muscle cramps, spasms and soreness?
Most muscle cramps and spasms, according to the Mayo Clinic, develop in your leg muscles, particularly in your calves and thighs.
The causes of cramps and spasms can vary. They range from overuse of the muscle, dehydration, muscle strain, muscle fatigue, mineral depletion, holding your muscle in a position for a prolonged period of time, exercising in high heat, inadequate blood supply and muscle injury or strain.
Sometimes, though, the cause of a cramp or spasm can be unknown.
The problem with muscle cramps and spasms, other than the fact that they can be painful, annoying and disrupt your sleep, is that they can also impede your ability to continue being active.
In terms of sore muscles, the cause is a lot more straightforward. Any movement your body isn’t used to can cause sore or inflamed muscles. This kind of pain is experienced by nearly everyone who exercises from time to time.
So, how can I prevent these aches and pains?
The good news is, there are natural remedies for soothing athletic cramps and spasms some can even prevent them from affecting you in the future.
Of course, it’s always important to stretch before and after exercise and drink plenty of water around the clock. These are the first steps to a better workout experience.
One of the top natural remedies, though, to both soothe and prevent muscle cramps and spasms, is coriander oil. Many people know coriander for how well it helps with digestion but you may not know that natural compounds found in coriander, including some volatile oils, have antispasmodic effects.
Drugs and herbal remedies known as antispasmodics are often used to relieve the involuntary spasm of muscles.
According to Pain Doctor, antispasmodic muscle relaxants “work by reducing the number of spasms experienced, which in turn reduces the pain caused by spasms. Although it’s not clear exactly how antispasmodic muscle relaxants work, they have been proven successful at treating chronic pain from frequent muscle spasms. Antispasmodic muscle relaxants are best for spasms caused by musculoskeletal issues.”
Musculoskeletal issues include injuries or pain in the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back.
According to the Natural Ingredient Resource Center, coriander oil is widely used by athletes due to its ability to calm muscle spasms and cramps.
Both coriander essential oil, used topically and edible (i.e. cold-pressed) coriander oil, taken internally AND used topically can help when it comes to muscle cramps and spasms because of its antispasmodic effects.
In terms of sore or inflamed muscles, coriander oil can help with that, too.
Coriander also soothes muscle soreness (and even alleviates joint pain). When you rub coriander oil or essential oil on sore spots, the oil has a warming effect that can alleviate pain or discomfort your muscles may be feeling. Plus, taken regularly, coriander has anti-inflammatory benefits.
How do I use it?
If you’re using coriander essential oil there are two important things to note. One, it should not be ingested. Two, when using it topically, it must be combined with a carrier oil.
To use it in this way, put a couple of drops into a quarter-sized dollop of carrier oil (organic, unrefined sunflower, flax or coconut oil are all good choices) and rub that between your palms. Use this mixture to massage sore, spasming or cramping areas.
The advantage to choosing an edible coriander seed oil, like
Perfect Press® Coriander Oil, is that you can use it topically without the use of a carrier oil. This oil contains the volatile compounds that make up an essential oil but they are already diluted in coriander’s own naturally-occurring fats.
Plus, since you can add an edible coriander oil to your smoothie or take it orally straight from the dropper, you only need to buy one product in order to use coriander both ways.
For more on the differences between essential (or volatile) oils and edible seed oils, check out our recent post.
Where can I get it?
Anything you’re putting on or into your body should be top quality.
Perfect Press® Coriander Oil is Perfectly Pressed from certified organic, non-GMO seeds. It’s also 100% coriander seed oil, with no additives. Each bottle contains the oil of thousands of coriander seeds, so each serving is packed full of nutrients and valuable volatile oils.
Helping with your muscles isn’t the only thing coriander oil can do. There are dozens of health benefits associated with this powerful oil.