Soreness and joint discomfort shouldn’t prevent us from enjoying everyday life. Thankfully these six natural ways to reduce aches and pains are sure to bring some much-needed relief!
Banishes Backaches: A Little Wiggle
Warmer days mean a sudden uptick in activity, which can trigger back pain for up to 55 percent of women. Fortunately, Boston University researchers say taking one minute to relax and loosen the muscles around your spine-by standing tall while rolling your shoulders, swiveling at the waist and wiggling your hips-can bring instant relief, plus cut your risk of back pain flares by 62 percent if you move around every half hour. Explains pain researcher Christine Wiebking, PhD, gentle stretching flushes pain-triggering inflammation out of tight back tissues.
Loosens Shoulders: A Midday Stroll
A weekend drive or an afternoon tossing a ball for Fido can trigger a stiff neck and tight shoulders. Happily, Cornell University researchers say a 15-minute midday stroll can loosen achy muscles faster and more effectively than OTC meds, reducing pain by up to 50 percent the first day — and cutting the risk of future soreness in half if you make it a habit. Neurologist Andrew Moore, MD, says pairing gentle motion with UV light prompts the release of muscle-relaxing serotonin, plus boosts circulation of nutrient-rich blood to heal neck and shoulder tissues.
Quiets Creaky Joints: This Powerful Sip
It’s not just you — at least 52 percent of us have an achy joint (or two!) sidelining us from our favorite spring activities. Thankfully, turmeric tea can bring relief to reduce aches and pains more effectively than aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen if you sip two 6-ounces cups daily. Cornell researchers say turmeric’s curcumin tamps down the production of pain-triggering hormones (prostaglandins). Tip: Adding a slice of lemon and 1 tsp. of honey to turmeric tea (hot or iced) improves fluid and nutrient absorption.
Soothes Tired Feet: A Cold Rollover
It’s so nice to be out and about in the sunny and mild weather, and to ditch practical, dreary-day footwear for fun sandals. But if time on your feet in less-supportive footwear leaves them achy and swollen, Stanford University scientists say cooling and massaging them can soothe overactive pain nerves and flush out trapped fluids to bring relief in as little as five minutes. To do: Fill two water bottles with ice and water, relax in a chair and firmly roll the bottles under your feet.
Stops Muscle Soreness: Boswellia
When allover muscle soreness saps your spirits, boswellia to the rescue! Doctors at Manchester Memorial Hospital say this Ayurvedic pain remedy (a tropical tree extract) cuts stiffness and pain by as much as 70 percent in one week if you take 250 mg. twice daily. Thanks goes to its boswellic acids, which raise pain threshold and shut down genes that trigger inflammation in muscle cells.
Reduces Wrist Pain: A Comfrey Rub
Yikes! Just one weekend of gardening can double the risk of a carpal tunnel flare, caution Canadian scientists. The good news: Simply massaging sore wrists with 1⁄2 teaspoon of comfrey cream can reduce stiffness and pain by 33 percent in the first hour — and using it three times daily can cut pain by 95 percent in four days, say British researchers. Credit goes to comfrey’s allantoin and rosmarinic acid, which reduce swelling and encourage tissue healing.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.