Muscle Aches and Remedies Part 2

Epsom Salts

This time-honored remedy may be worth considering a few days after completing a course of cold treatments. Once the pain has started to subside, a sore back of knee may benefit from a hot Epsom salt soak.

Exercise

The last thing you want to think about when your back or joints or muscles are sore is exercise. When something hurts, the tendency is to favor it and avoid moving. In the initial stages of a strain or sprain this makes a lot of sense. Pain keeps you relatively immobile so the body can start recovering.

For decades doctors told patients with lower back complaints to remain horizontal for days or even weeks. But Dutch researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that lying in bed does not speed healing or even relieve symptoms. A group of patients with sciatica who maintained gentle motions associated with normal activities got better just as quickly as those stayed prone for 2 weeks.

If you completely avoid motion you can create a vicious cycle as muscle, ligaments, and tendons start to tighten and atrophy. Australian investigators have discovered that people with back problems often experience up to 30% shrinkage of a deep muscle called the multifidus.

Re-injury becomes much more likely when this muscle weakens. People who performed low-impact strengthening exercises of the multifidus were far less likely to experience recurring back pain.

A qualified physical therapist can tailor appropriate exercises for any injury and teach you how to work the multifidus muscle. Such a carefully supervised exercise program will take your particular problem into account and help maintain critical range of motion.