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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain can be divided into two common types-both of which may affect an individual at a same time. In the first type of muscular pain, the person typically experiences a lot of soreness and stiffness in the musculature, this form of the condition develops due to over exhaustion and by overdoing some forms of physical activity-including activities such as running a marathon, things like digging in the yard, or it can also result by simply carrying a heavy bag of groceries for sometime as a part of the day to day activity. The muscular pain of this kind, classified by doctors as the delayed- onset muscle soreness - or DOMS form, usually becomes apparent a day or two after the activity and can persist for about a week at a time.

The second form of muscular pain results due to the sudden contraction of muscles and comes about when the muscles cannot relax-this is essentially the type of muscular pain called a muscular cramp. This form of muscular pain most commonly affects the regions of the body such as the thigh, the calf, or the feet, these muscular cramps may strike a person at any time, and are common even when a person is asleep, often waking a person.

Muscular soreness can come about immediately even when an individual is in good physical shape, thus undertaking any new physical activity suddenly will cause these cramps. Helping somebody move furniture physically will probably tire the muscles in your arms and shoulders ache badly, especially if it is done suddenly-this may still be true even if you are a runner at the peak of physical health. Though the body rebuilds and recovers lost tissue in a few days, the vast majority of medical experts believe the muscular pain to be a symptom arising as a result microscopic tears in the muscles-as the body recovers, these tears are healed. This form of injury is most likely to arise by undertaking any physical activity that lengthens a muscle against force or gravitation- these include activities such as running downhill or suddenly lowering a weight. On the other hand, these forms of movements are involved in almost any kind of exercise or activity undertaken in the course of a day.

While the real underlying cause of cramps is not known, it is believed that muscular cramps are not caused by an injury-in contrast to the muscular soreness described above. One of the causes believed to be responsible for muscular cramps is the development of an imbalance in the essential minerals which regulate muscular contraction and relaxation within the body- thus an imbalance in the levels of essential minerals such as calcium, the important mineral magnesium, minerals like potassium and sodium-or even a sudden lack of fluid in the body may bring on these cramps. Other factors that can also cause muscular cramps to arise in an individual include strenuous exercise during the day which often leads to cramps in the calves which may be painful enough to awaken a person from sound sleep. In addition, continuously wearing high heels, or even sleeping with the toes pointed out and at times even lying with some bedding wrapped too tightly around the legs throughout the night can all cause cramps.

Supplements and herbs

Routine supplemental use of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium can bring a balance to the level of minerals necessary for proper muscular contraction and will lead to a decrease in the recurrence of minerals. Dietary sources provide the vast majority of people with sufficient amounts of the essential minerals like potassium and sodium-bananas for example are good sources for these minerals. In addition to a healthy balanced diet, supplemental use of some vitamin E must also be done on a daily basis, especially for individuals who are prone to develop exercise-related cramps or calf cramps that arise in the night.

The use of effective herbal remedies such as the bromelain and the bark of the white willow may be contemplated, the action of these herbs within the body is similar to the over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, including drugs like the aspirin or ibuprofen and these herbs can be substituted for these drugs as a supplemental measure. The anti-inflammatory action of the herbal compound bromelain-which is an enzyme derived from the pineapple, has a soothing effect on the sore muscles and at the same time it aids in the drainage of the excess fluid removing it from the site of a muscular injury on the body of the affected individual. A controversy exists among research circles as to whether sufficient amounts of the compound are absorbed orally during supplementation. The white willow bark is derived from the inner bark of white willow trees; it is a very effective pain reliever and analgesic-often called “the natural aspirin”. The same caution that is taken with consuming aspirin must be taken by individual using the bark as a supplemental measure-especially if they have a very sensitive stomach.

There is very good evidence indicating the ability of the nutritional supplement creatine in the repair of microscopic tears in the musculature-this is in addition to its known benefit to improve strength in body builders-thus this compound can be used following an injury related to a strenuous physical workout. If the muscular soreness interferes with sleep, it is suggested that the herb valerian which is a natural aid to sleep be used as a supplemental measure. Till such times as the muscular soreness completely disappears from the body, all the given supplements can be used in any combination the patient likes. In addition, all the supplements excepting the willow bark can be combined or used along with the OTC medications such as aspirin in treating soreness.

Additional things you may do

When undertaking any strenuous physical exercise, make sure that you consume abundant quantities of all types of fluids or water before, during, and after undertaking the exercises. The chances of damaging muscles are also increased if you spend some time warming up before taking exercises and this should be followed by stretching after the exercises, these precautions will help the muscles relax and avoid the onset of cramps and soreness. Where the necessity is to bring about a reduction in the inflammation existing in the tissues and where the pain is great,  the direct application of ice on to the sore muscles will provide topical relief.

Usual dosage

  • White willow bark, one or two pills thrice daily as needed for pain.
  • Valerian, 250 to 500 mg of standardized valerian extract at bedtime.
  • Vitamin E, 400 IU daily. If you take anticoagulant medications, check it with the doctor.
  • Magnesium / Calcium, 500 mg magnesium and 250 mg calcium two times daily. Take the minerals with meal.
  • Creatine, one tsp. creatine monohydrate powder daily. Creatine monohydrate powder can be mixed with juice.
  • Bromelain, 500 mg of bromelain on empty stomach thrice daily.

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