sore-musclesDTWhether you suffer from Fibromyalgia, or you pushed it too hard at the gym, or you’ve run down your immune system and the latest virus has left you feeling weak and sore, there are a number of natural remedies you can use to relieve your muscle pain or soreness.

Here are the most effective treatments I have found – that have all been tried and tested by myself and my family members:

1. Topical Arnica Cream or Gel – this homeopathic remedy provides instant relief from aches, bruises, sprains and tissue damage. I’ve used it after all 3 childbirths, my husband and son use it after soccer injuries. Traumeel is another excellent topical cream that contains arnica along with other powerful homeopathic remedies.

2. Magnesium – many times muscle soreness, stiffness, cramping or lethargy can simply be a deficiency of magnesium. And since 40% of the population are already deficient, it doesn’t take much to tip the scales on this mineral!

If you tend towards constipation, or your bowel movements are normal, then you can use Magnesium Citrate: 250 – 1000 mg/day – adjust dosage according to bowel tolerance. If your stools get loose, then cut back the dosage. Available in capsule form that you can swallow or add to smoothies, or as a Raspberry-Lemon flavored drink called Natural Calm.

If you tend towards diarrhea, or more than 1 bowel movement per day, then you may not tolerate ‘regular’ magnesium – or you may not be able to ingest a high-enough dose to remedy deficiency. In this case, use an angstrom-sized (nano) magnesium that does not go through the digestive tract, but just goes straight into the cells. We use both straight nano-sized magnesium, or high dose nano-magnesium (in a blend with other immune boosting minerals) is great for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Mono, or other immune-related issues.

Lastly, you can use Epsom Salts (Costco sells pharmaceutical grade in bulk) or Magnesium Oil in your bath water. Soak for at least 15-20 minutes to allow for absorption.

Note: You should also check for potassium deficiency. 1 banana or 1 cup of raw coconut water can give you the potassium you need, or you can use Potassium Citrate capsules. If you eat a lot of salty foods, or exercise a lot, you may be deficient in potassium too.

3. White Willow Bark – this is a natural painkiller derived from willow trees. It was first used by Native Indians who boiled the bark into a tea and drank it. Aspirin is derived from white willow bark. BUT, white willow bark won’t damage your gut lining or constrict your rectum (often causing constipation) like Aspirin will. For kids, or elderly, who can’t swallow pills, you can mix the white willow bark with organic cocoa butter and mold into suppositories for rectal insertion. Absorption is just as fast from rectal tissue – perhaps even faster – than swallowing. Note that this remedy is going to mask the source of your pain/problem, not heal it! So only use it if you need to; to buy yourself some breathing room while you use the other remedies on this page to help heal the root cause(s).

4. Hot Castor Oil Packcastor oil penetrates deep into the tissues and stimulates the lymphatic system, to get the good stuff in and the bad stuff out. As Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND says, “Castor oil packs increase circulation to an area and stimulate the lymphatic system to mobilize toxins aiding in detoxification. They are excellent for organ pain, especially of the liver, pancreas and kidneys and help relieve muscle spasms.”

Due to its ability to increase circulation, castor oil also helps to break up adhesions and scar tissue in muscles – which can often be a cause of pain or repeated injury due to restriction. A castor oil pack has many applications and has also been used in cases such as non-malignant uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, poor elimination, inflamed joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and general detoxification.

Just remember to use a cold-pressed castor oil and 100% cotton flannel (or wool) – no synthetics. You can use either a hot water bottle or a heating pad as the heat source. Here are detailed instructions:

Castor Oil Pack Components:

Cold-Pressed Castor oil.
• Two sheets of plastic (garbage bags OK).
• 1 yard cotton or wool flannel.
• Heating pad (if indicated).
• Large old bath towel.
• 3 safety pins.

Preparing a Castor Oil Pack

1. Fold flannel into three thicknesses to fit over your whole abdomen.

2. Cut a piece of plastic 1-2 inches larger than flannel.

3. Saturate the flannel with gently heated oil, but not so much that it is drippy. Fold it over and squeeze until it is oozing. Unfold.

4. Place plastic and old towel over flannel to prevent staining of surface you will be lying on.

5. Lie down, placing flannel over abdomen, putting fitted plastic over the flannel.

6. Now wrap the towel under you, around your torso and pin with safety pins.

7. Place a heating pad (low heat) or hot water bottle on top of the towel.

8. Rest for 30-60 minutes. Use visualization, meditation, or just sleep. A good time to use castor oil packs is just before bedtime.

9. When finished, it’s best if you don’t get up and walk around and be busy (except to go to the bathroom). Try to stay still and relaxed.

If you are doing your pack at bedtime, have a zip-lock baggie next to your bed, and a towel to remove any excess oil and protect your bed sheets. Fold the oily pack up and put it into the baggie, then drop it to the floor till morning. In the morning, put it in the refrigerator.

11. Store the pack in the covered container or baggie in the refrigerator. Remove it from the refrigerator 1-3 hours before you plan to use it, so that it is at room temperature when you are ready to use it.

12. Each pack may be used repeatedly. When it starts to smell stale, make a new pack.

Note: If this procedure is way too complicated for you, apply a generous amount of castor oil to the skin of your abdomen. Cover that with an old cotton t-shirt or other cloth you won’t mind eventually discarding. Lay your heat source (hot water bottle, heating pad) on top of that. Keep the cloth you use to protect your heat source from the oil to reuse. Eventually it will smell like stale oil, but can be kept for a few weeks at least in a plastic bag. Rest for 30-60 minutes. Stay covered and warm so you can relax. Have a soft cloth or rag handy to catch any oil dripping off your body. You may want to put a towel or plastic underneath your body so your bed doesn’t get oily. It’s not necessary to have a castor oil pack that you keep in the refrigerator. Just do what works for you.

Frequency of Use

To be effective, a castor oil pack must be used at least 3 times a week, although 5 times a week is better. In cases of long-term chronic pain, it works best to commit to a 6 week treatment period using a castor oil pack 5 times per week, then as needed for episodes of pain. It’s also wise to consult with a naturopathic physician for the best frequency of treatment for your specific health problem.