Nothing disrupts a healthy workout routine like muscle cramps and soreness. Whether you are new to working out or a seasoned athlete, muscle soreness and cramps will stop you in your tracks and stall your progress in an instant. By understanding what causes cramps and muscle soreness, you may be able to avoid the intensity and frequency of muscle cramps. When they do come about, these natural recipes harness the therapeutic power of essential oils and other natural ingredients to soothe the pain and get your back in action in no time.
Muscle Cramps vs Muscle Soreness
Both muscle cramps and muscle soreness involve the muscle, yet they are not the same thing. While muscle soreness occurs as a result of overworking the muscle, cramps can occur out of the blue and may even happen when sleeping. Below we will explore the difference between the two and how each can be prevented and treated.
Causes of muscle cramps
Causes of Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramping is different to muscle soreness in that it can occur without using the muscle at all. Muscle cramping is an involuntary spasming of the muscle that comes on suddenly, causing a painful contraction that can last anywhere between a few seconds to 15 minutes. It may reoccur a few times until it finally subsides, usually with a painful after effect.
Muscle cramps can come about as a result of muscle injury from overuse, but there are also other underlying causes.
Dehydration is one of the primary causes of muscle cramps. Fluids keep muscle cells hydrated, helping our muscles contract and relax. This is why it is so important to make sure you are drinking enough water – whether you are an exerciser or not.
Mineral deficiencies also cause muscle cramping. Making sure you are getting enough calcium, magnesium and potassium in your diet is essential for muscle health. Leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains are some wonderful plant based sources of these vital minerals. If you suffer from chronic cramping you may want to add an additive-free mineral supplement that can be found in most health stores.
Muscle cramps are extremely common. Almost everyone will experience some degree of cramping in their lifetime, yet frequency of muscle cramping seems to increase with age. A range of conditions such as hypothyroidism, kidney failure and alcoholism, as well as pregnancy, have been linked to greater incidents of muscle cramps.
Causes of Muscle Soreness
There are two types of muscle soreness – acute and delayed on-set. Acute onset soreness can be felt either during or immediately after a workout and usually results from muscle fatigue, as well as a build up of lactic acid in the muscle. This type of cramping can be describes as a burning pain that comes on quickly. The intensity of the initial pain typically won’t last long, but the muscle is usually sore for some time afterwards.
Delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS, is a more common occurrence and happens to everyone at some stage. DOMS occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise and is caused by tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle tissue after an intense workout. The body responds to these tears by creating inflammation in the body, as a means of repairing itself. The muscle tenderness, slight swelling and painful movement are all a result of this inflammation.
Doms usually goes away within 3 days, yet soothing treatments like epsom baths and muscle rubs, like in the recipes below are amazing ways to soothe the body, engage in self care and speed up the healing process.
Natural Relief for Muscle Cramps and Soreness
Recipe for Muscle Cramp Relief
30 drops Clary Sage essential oil
30 drops Lavender essential oil
1⁄2 cup of Arnica oil
20 drops Bergamot essential oil
1⁄2 oz of Beeswax
1. Add 1⁄2 cup of arnica oil to a saucepan.
2. Combine 1⁄2 oz of beeswax with arnica oil.
3. Heat the combination of arnica and beeswax on a low heat until the wax is melted.
4. Stir it well.
5. Pour the blend of arnica oil and beeswax into a container.
6. Cool down this mixture for 10 minutes.
7. Add essential oils of ingredients into the jar and stir well.
8. Cool down the blended oil before covering.
Apply to the areas where you experience muscle soreness or cramping.
Muscle Cramp Bath Salt Recipe
1. Combine the essential oils with epsom salt
2. Shake it well to blend them properly
Add 1 cup to a hot bath and soak for at least 30 minutes. The therapeutic fragrance will also assist in relaxing the muscles.