The fall season can unfortunately bring with it some frustrating pain. But whether your back is aching or your joints are stiff, we’ve got a natural remedy to help soothe it away. Check out the list below.
Ward off stomachaches with comforting warmth.
It’s not just you! Two in three of us are prone to bellyaches when our diets change or stress levels creep up in the fall. To feel better fast, stretch out for 10 minutes with a hot-water bottle or heating pad on your stomach. Heat is our go-to remedy for achy muscles, but British researchers say it also tames tummy upsets faster and more effectively than medications. That’s because warming heat-sensitive nerves in your abdomen prompts them to release neural signals that stimulate digestive enzyme release and calm intestinal muscle spasms.
Ease back pain with bergamot baths.
When garden cleanup or other fall chores leave you with a stiff, sore back, adding 10 drops of bergamot essential oil to a warm bath and enjoying a leisurely 20-minute soak can cut aches by 50 percent, say Norwegian researchers. The reason: Combining bergamot’s volatile oils with warm water boosts blood circulation to damaged tissues, helping flush out trapped fluids and pain-triggering toxins. Tip: Mix bergamot oil into a dollop of shampoo before adding it to your tub so it disperses properly, instead of floating to the surface of the water.
Try this one from Healing Solutions ($8.49, Amazon).
Tame headaches with a minty massage.
Fall’s barometric pressure fluxes and diminishing sunlight can stress your nervous system, making tension headaches more frequent and longer-lasting. The solution: If you feel a headache brewing, mix eight drops of wintergreen essential oil (like this one from Sun Essential Oils, $12.49, Amazon) into one ounce of MSM lotion (like this one from Sunfood Superfoods, $11.69, Amazon), then firmly massage the mix into your shoulders, neck, and forehead. Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University say this simple strategy can halt a headache in as little as 10 minutes thanks to wintergreen oil’s painkilling ingredient (methyl salicylate) and sulfur-rich MSM, which relaxes spasming muscles.
Nix knee stiffness with sesame wraps.
You’ll cut swelling, stiffness and pain by 59 percent if you massage a sore knee with two drops of warm sesame oil once daily — then wrap it in a warm towel for 10 minutes to boost absorption, suggests research in the journal Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. The study co-author says the oil’s sesamin and sesamol tamp down production of pain-triggering cytokines, plus kick-start the healing of damaged joint tissues.
Heal sore joints with a sweet sip.
Yum! Pomegranates are finally in season, and sipping four ounces of their juice (or nibbling 1/2 cup of their sweet seeds) daily could cut your joint stiffness and pain by as much as 62 percent in one week, report researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University. Explains pharmacist Ben Zhou, PhD, pomegranates are nature’s number one source of ellagic acid — a reddish pigment that’s a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and painkiller.
Soothes tender feet with a soak and stretch.
The temperature is dropping, so we can go for walks, run errands, and work on household projects longer without overheating, leaving us with super-sore feet! Good news: Soaking them in a basin of cold water and then stretching them (by pointing your toes down, then pulling them up toward your ankles several times) can flush out trapped fluids and inflammation, Canadian researchers say, easing even throbbing foot pain in eight minutes.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.