How To Successfully Fight Muscle Pain

dscn3108In order to treat pain, it’s helpful to know that pain is our body’s warning system, letting us know that our bodies are taking damage, warning us to stop before the damage is irreversible.

However, there are circumstances under which it is very frustrating to have pain!

“Yeah, so I worked out and I’m not used to that, and now all my muscles are spasming and I hurt all over! I did something good for my body! Why is it complaining?”

AND there’s fibromyalgia and other mystery illnesses where excruciating pain develops for no discernible reason.

I do not have fibromyalgia, but I have a lot of friends suffering from it, and I am very sympathetic, because I can also sometimes have debilitating pain all over caused by chemical sensitivities.

Not knowing why you’re in pain can also be the very worst–because if we know why we’re in pain, then we’re halfway to fixing it. Not knowing why makes it almost impossible to fix.

Here’s what I’ve learned about successfully fighting pain from my naturopath (he’s one of the best in the nation) and from a massage therapist who I am very grateful to for teaching me so much!

  • There is never “no reason” that pain occurs. There is always at least one reason! To successfully treat muscle pain, it’s important to find out what is causing it. (more about this further down)
  • fibromyalgia is a “junk drawer” diagnosis. An MD can tell you that you have fibromyalgia, but will he get to the cause of it or give you an action plan for healing? Most likely not! (you’re going to need a naturopath to help you permanently stop that pain)
  • Best emergency pain relieving gel I’ve ever found: Boiron Arnica gel.
  • A great natural pain reliever: Quercetin
  • Pain can be caused by our bodies not getting the proper nutrients to repair tissues. Two of the most important nutrients our muscles need in order not to ache or cramp are:
    1. calcium
    2. potassium

We need to take the right calcium though, or it isn’t as effective. Calcium lactate is what muscle cells need in order to effect daily repairs.

After much trial (and misery), the calcium supplement I found I could take years ago is Calcium 6 plus, but I can’t find a place that sells it online. If you want the company’s info so you can source it locally, feel free to contact me.

What I like about it is that it’s one of the few calcium combinations that includes calcium lactate, and that it tastes halfway decent (if still a little chalky) when I chew it.

If I take enough calcium lactate, my muscles function better, my S/I joint pops out of joint far less often, and I’m in a lot less pain.

While you may end up taking something else, my advice is to make sure that it’s readily absorbable (chewables are best), and that it has some calcium lactate in it for your muscles.

Potassium is easy to get from bananas and potatoes. A banana a day keeps that ol’ Charlie Horse away! Organic is always better–

In order to properly absorb calcium, a supplement needs to have enough magnesium in it. But be careful: too much magnesium, and you’ll get the runs! Some people are more sensitized to it than others. I’m fine with the small amount in the Cal 6 plus, but you may find that you need more.

  • Did you know that Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils are also important for promoting muscle health and pain reduction? It’s true!

Hot Tip: they’re also very good for reducing menstrual cramping and other symptoms of PMS including crabbiness!

Omega 3 is obtained from fish oil. Anchovies and sardines are a high quality source for fish oil, krill oil is even better, but it’s gotten to be very expensive. I used to say salmon was good, too, but that was before Monsanto created the frankenfish cross between a salmon and an eel. Unless you eat a lot of quality, wild caught non-frankenfish salmon (because you’re living in Alaska), you’re probably going to want to take a supplement instead to get enough Omega 3 oil into your diet.

Here’s a high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplement that may be helpful.

Omega 6 oil is obtained from three specific plant sources, but they are not created equal: evening primrose oil is the best quality, then borage oil, then flaxseed oil–which is comparatively poor in quality.

I recommend Akin’s evening primrose oil, because it has worked long-term for me with no side effects and I’m confident of the consistent quality of the supplement. However, you’ll have to source it directly from Akin’s as it isn’t available for sale on Amazon.

Our bodies need both Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils. If we starve our bodies of either one, we can wind up hurting and in pain.

  • Eating dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale is beneficial for our muscles and overall health too.
  • If your body can’t break down and process nutrients, you aren’t going to derive any benefit from any amount of dietary supplementation–and–you will still be in pain. I recommend seeing a naturopath. If you don’t know a good one, I recommend mine!

If you contact me, I’ll be happy to put you in touch with him.

Naturopaths are far better at diagnosing and successfully addressing most issues that cause chronic pain than any MD or specialist. The big exception would be where surgery is necessary.

The best thing I like about how my naturopath taught me how to treat my pain is that most of the time, I don’t have any unpleasant side effects from the supplements and therapies he recommends. If I have a bad reaction to something, I can stop taking it and we can find something better that doesn’t cause trouble.

I can’t do this at all with pharmaceuticals. It’s very difficult to find pharmaceuticals that don’t cause side effects and don’t have bad drug interactions, even for “normal” people!

  • Therapies used to treat muscles aches and pains:
    • massage therapy
    • DIY hot rocks massage
    • DIY ice cube massage

Finding a massage therapist who makes your muscles feel good can be a huge help to stopping the pain. My massage therapist friend has what I like to call “healing hands.” She’d find just the right pressure points, and–suddenly–the pain would be gone, and it wouldn’t come back again for days, maybe even weeks!

While you may not know my massage therapist or be able to visit her (she lives a long way from me now), making a study of the pressure points to turn off pain may help you and your loved ones stop each other’s pain from progressing to unbearable levels and help speed healing.

Here’s a great chart to help you get started.

I also recommend buying one of these hand-held massagers. We really love ours and have replaced the batteries more than once since we bought it!

A great trick my massage therapist friend taught me was to heat up palm-sized smooth river rocks in a small crock pot on low to medium heat covered with just enough water. Putting a little olive oil on one of the warm rocks, rub it around in small gentle circles on knots and sore places on muscles: five minutes in each general area. This softens the knots, loosening the pinching around nerves. When the rock cools off, put it aside (not back in the crock pot) and get another. Repeat until all painful spots have been treated.

Wash the oil off the rocks before re-using.

To follow up a hot rock massage, rub an ice cube (or if there’s nerve damage, a cool wet rolled up washcloth) on the knots and sore spots for five minutes each. This stimulates the capillary system in the tissues to wick away the excess fluid from the irritated tissues, taking the knots down like magic!

There’s more I could say, like how soaking in a hot bath with 1 cup Epsom Salts and a few drops of lavender oil can really relax sore muscles, or how a therapist who practices accupuncture can help. And how regularly eating raw almonds, curry, ginger, and cinnamon (all natural anti-inflammatories) can  help with managing and healing pain–

The important thing, though, is to remember that no matter how much pain you’re in, there is always hope for relief! Never give up on looking for a solution! If you’re stumped and you don’t know where to look for relief next, it never hurts to ask. If you don’t want to ask me, then–ask your friends and family what they’ve done that works! Ask your co-workers, neighbors… Find someone to ask. Keep on asking until you get answers.

Never, ever give up.

And–last but not least: God is my great Healer. I ask Him for healing and strength, and He has continued to provide me that healing and strength, even when sometimes it’s only enough for one day at a time.

I’m happy to pray for your healing too if you want me to. Feel free to contact me any time!

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