Whether we are in our twenties or fifties, it is no longer a surprise to have body pain as our constant companion. Body pain among senior citizens is natural since the body weakens with age, but the recent trend of debilitating body pain among the youth and working class is a cause for concern. It might be time to look back on our lifestyles and make some changes. Thankfully, there are various home remedies for these pains which we can easily employ to make it better. Before we find out how we can overcome body pains, let’s first understand the major reasons that cause them.
Common Causes of Body Aches
The most common cause of body aches is indeed bad posture. But sometimes bad posture is unavoidable. For instance, a pathologist will have to stand and pore over a microscope. Moreover, not only uncomfortable postures but sitting or standing for long hours can also lead to body pain.
Another common cause of body aches is a muscle pull. They usually result from improper lifting or pulling of heavy objects. As the saying goes, lift with your legs, not with your back. Even a particularly explosive sneeze can cause a muscle pull.
One other common cause of body pain is a bad mattress. Most people give far less importance to a mattress than it deserves. A good mattress does not just guarantee deep, comfortable sleep but also a well rested and injury free body. Sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can cause a nagging pain in the neck or back or waist the next day, and prolonged use can lead to serious body pain.
Last, but definitely not the least, is stress. Prolonged anxiety leads to body pain.
So, What are Muscles?
- A muscle is a specialized tissue. There are three kinds of muscles, and when treating superficial bodily pain we need to deal with the skeletal muscles.
- Each organized skeletal muscle in the body is made of a number of muscle bundles or fascicles, which are held together by a common connective tissue layer, made of collagen, called fascia.
- Each muscle bundle contains a number of muscle fibres.
- Each muscle is characterized by excitability, contractility, extensibility and elasticity.
- Pain occurs when any external action causes the muscles to exceed its contractility, extensibility or elasticity.
The Two Kinds of Pains
Depending on longevity, pain is usually categorized into acute and chronic pain.
This kind of pain occurs suddenly, then eventually diminishes and stops. It can range from mild to severe and may last for a short period; if treated properly, acute body pain will subside in less than six months. If left untreated, acute pain may lead to chronic pain.
This can sometimes occur without any apparent reason, and can be psychosomatic or nerve-related. Chronic pain usually lasts for a long time and can often adversely affect the quality of life of the patient. Try home remedies first before turning to a doctor because with growing resistance to constant usage of antibiotics, it is best that pain, unless too serious or debilitating, is treated with a home remedy.
Remedies for Acute Pain
- Try relaxing and sleeping for a while. Fatigue is one of the common reasons for unexplained body pain.
- Try over-the-counter pain-relief oils/ointments.
- Ayurvedic treatments are effective in healing pain.
- Yoga and meditation are great for body pains, because they both heal and strengthen your body.
- You could also take a long cold shower. Experts believe that immersing in cold water, also called cryotherapy, helps with reducing inflammation in the muscles and the pain that comes with it.
- Try a hot oil massage. You can either opt for a full-body massage or a head massage with warm oil, which opens your pores, relaxes your nerve endings and has a calming effect on the body and mind.
- Use a hot water bag or hot and cold compresses.
- You could also try the good old haldi-doodh or turmeric milk. Studies have shown that turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- If the pain is born of sitting constantly for long hours or in incorrect posture, one can try and incorporate light stretching exercises. Similarly, if the pain is in the wrist or hand owing to writing or typing constantly, try and get support under the arm.
- Although not a quick remedy, bananas can also help relieve body pain. Our body needs potassium to keep the muscles healthy and bananas are a natural source of potassium. Eating bananas can prevent cramps and fatigue.
- Make a herbal tea made of ginger and cinnamon and sip it while it is still warm. Both are natural anti-inflammatory agents and analgesic in nature.
- Sleep on the floor. Yes, you heard it right. By sleeping on the floor, the hard surface forces your body to keep in line. The straightening of the back through proper support decreases pain. It has been found that sleeping on your sides can cause your pectoral muscles to tighten over time, leading to more pain.
- Drink a lot of water, because dehydration also causes muscles to ache.
For Chronic Pain
- Essential oils can come in handy for chronic pains. Use chamomile, lavender or sage. Rub them into your temples, chest and sore joints to relax muscles and calm the mind.
- Try clove oil. A topical pain reliever, clove oil can be used for headaches, arthritis and toothaches.
- A tea made of ginger, turmeric and black pepper can also help.
Evaluate what kind of pain it is. Is it needle-like, spread across a wide area or localized? Look at the food on your plate; does it include all the nutrients? There are certain nutrients that a body needs to keep its muscles working or even prevent the body from getting hurt. It is important that people ensure that potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and omega-3 are part of your diet. Moreover, staying hydrated is very important. A deficiency in any one nutrient can lead to body pains.
Big No to a One-size-fits-all Approach
The other factor to keep in mind is to gauge the kind of pain that you are feeling and being sure of what it could be born of before trying out a remedy. For instance, studies reveal that a cup of coffee or caffeine before a session of intense work can lead to fewer instances of sore muscles. But if you do end up with sore muscles post-workout, try the long cold bath, or relax. Similarly, if it is a lower backache then perhaps you should go with sleeping on the floor then trying out stretching exercises.
Is It Debilitating?
Ask yourself this question. Body pains can have several causes and above are mentioned a few ways to tackle them. But if the pain leads to trouble breathing, difficulty in eating or drinking,seizures, extreme fatigue or loss of consciousness, it is best to consult a doctor.
According to a study conducted by an Indian organization in 2016, at least 60% of people have suffered from back pain at some point in their lives. Another study conducted in India revealed that 20% of the people who suffer from back or neck pain are from the age-group of 16-34. So, if you do feel a nagging pain somewhere in your body, do not ignore it. Find the most convenient remedy from the list above and use it. And if you find the pain refusing to mellow even after several days, contact a doctor without delay.