Forget Pain Killers: 7 Proven Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles

When our muscles ache, often our first instinct is to reach for the pill bottle. But other alternatives are proven to work just as well.

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Gently stretch

Though sore muscles are tender at first, gentle stretching will relax the tension so the rest of the day is more comfortable. Plus, you prevent further injury from inadvertently pulling a tight muscle as you lunge to answer the phone.

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Open the deep freeze

Apply a cold compress for the first day or two, and wrap with bandage if there’s swelling. One of the best cold compresses: a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas. The bag conforms to the shape of your body. Hold the cold stuff on your achy body part for no more than 20 minutes. And give your aching muscles a rest for a few days too. The pain may get worse before it gets better, but if you’re still hurting after three or four days, see a doctor.

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Go with the flow

Improving lymphatic flow will help remedy muscle soreness faster by draining the recovery. Foods rich in bioflavonoids, such as green, leafy vegetables and green tea, can help, as can staying hydrated (drink 8 to 12 glasses of water a day). Increasing your flexibility with yoga and stretching exercises will also help your lymphatic system drain better.

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Use liniment

There is a wide range of pain-relief liniments available, from gentle herbal salves to “hot” capsaicin rubs. Many work great. For pain in your knee or other sore spots, rub in some liniment and wrap the area with plastic wrap. The wrap will increase the heating effect of the liniment. Make sure to test on a small area first to make sure your skin does not burn.

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Soak in cider

Adding 2 cups apple cider vinegar to your bathwater is a great way to soothe away your aches and pains, or to simply to take the edge off a stressful day. Adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your bath can lend an able assist as well, by providing what has been proven to be a healing scent.

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Apply hot beans

A hot bean or rice bag may be just the cure you need. Fill an old sock with dry rice or beans, and tie the end tightly. Microwave it on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Make sure it’s not too hot, then apply it to your aching muscles. It’s surprisingly soothing.

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Try acupuncture

An acupuncturist will try to bring blood flow to the area to relieve the pain. He may do this with acupuncture, electrical stimulation, topical herbs or even acupressure. These techniques can cut the pain and soreness in half.

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