Muscle pain can be debilitating and prevent you from participating in your daily activities or getting the exercise you need. Whether you strained a muscle running a marathon, doing too many jumping jacks or bending to pick up your child, knowing how to properly care for it is key.
For many people, the first step is to reach for a bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen for some relief. However, not everyone likes taking pills and using them too often can potentially have negative health effects. Topical painkillers are nothing new, but they've improved over the years, including more natural ingredients with strong analgesic properties. Available as oils, lotions and creams or in roll-on applicators, they're easy to use and convenient.
If you suffer from occasional or frequent pain and are trying to avoid taking pills, these five products are worth trying out:
1. Arnica Massage Oil by Weleda -- 3.4 fl oz for $13.91
This warming oil is made with arnica (Arnica montana) flower extract and organic sunflower oil. When used after exercise, it helps loosen tight muscles -- just make sure to massage into the skin in a circular motion toward the heart. This oil also deeply hydrates the skin and can be used to help you unwind anytime. This product is also available in a smaller size perfect for traveling or carrying in your briefcase or purse.
2. Muscle Treat Liniment by Heritage Products -- 4 fl oz for $6.95
This soothing oil really is a treat for aching muscles. Made with natural ingredients like olive oil, witch hazel and sassafras oil, this product helps reduce swelling and inflammation and pain after injury or strenuous activity. This formula was originally recommended by Edgar Cayce, am educator in holistic medicine. A little goes a long way, so use a small amount at a time and massage into the skin until it's completely absorbed.
3. Muscle Rescue by Peaceful Mountain -- 3.5 fl oz for $6.96
The active ingredients in this patent-pending gel include arnica, poke root (Phytolacca decandra) and one surprising ingredient: poison ivy (Rhus toxicdendron). Fear not, it will help you without making you itch like crazy. Aloe vera, vitamin C and white willow bark have also been added to combat swelling and discomfort. This formula is also unscented, free of parabens and isn't greasy at all, which means it won't stain your clothes.
4. Natural Pain Relieving Gel by Sombra -- 3 fl oz for $10.05
Menthol and camphor are the two main ingredients in this roll-on topical pain reliever. You'll find 3 percent of each of these natural analgesics in this formula, which also contains aloe vera, green tea, orange peel, rose water and witch hazel, which all help reduce inflammation as well. Great for someone on the go, you can use it up to four times a day. This product is also available as a lotion in a pump bottle and smells great!
5. DMSO Liquid Roll-On with Aloe Vera by Nature's Gift -- 3 fl oz for $11.91
DMSO is a solvent with an oily texture that absorbs easily to relieve pain. This solution contains 90 percent DMSO and 10 percent aloe vera. Aloe vera also has soothing properties that aid in healing while providing a cooling sensation and moisturizing the skin. The convenient roll-on means you can use it anywhere, without getting any on your hands. However, it's important to note DMSO does have a stronger odor than other products, similar to garlic.
BONUS TIP: Soaking in a bath made with Epsom salt can also help relieve tight muscles and reduce pain and inflammation. Epsom salt is also a great way to detoxify.
The remaining steps for treating a sore muscle are to rest it, ice it (for 20 minutes at a time), apply a compression wrap and to elevate it (above heart level if possible). You can remember these steps by using the acronym RICE. This combination, along with a topical pain reliever product, will help you stay comfortable while the muscle fibers heal, so you can get back at it sooner than later.
You can find all of these amazing topical painkillers and more at eVitamins. Try them out and let us know what you think!