Muscle Injury or Strain?
Muscle injuries and strains are common in active people, but falls and other accidents can also cause these issues. While most people will recover, strains and injuries sometimes have a long healing period and can cause pain that makes it difficult to carry out everyday tasks. If you’re suffering from a muscle injury or strain, it’s important to understand the average muscle strain recovery time and if a muscle pain natural remedy is available.
Muscle Strain Recovery Time
Muscle injury or strains occur when your muscle or tendon fibers are overstretched. This can happen because of an accident, if you overwork a muscle or if you use improper form during exercise.
The recovery time for a muscle strain depends on a number of factors, including:
- The severity of the strain
- Which muscle is impacted
- Your ability to rest and recover
Recovery can take longer for more severe strains and if you’re unable to rest and recover properly.
- A mild strain can take a few weeks to heal.
- A severe strain can take two months or more to heal.
- A ruptured tendon or muscle can take several months to heal.
Signs and Symptoms of a Muscle Strain
Straining a muscle can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
More severe muscle injury and strains can make it more difficult to move or use a muscle. A complete muscle tear can cause severe, debilitating pain.
Types of Muscle Strain
There are three grades of muscle strain. Each grade is based on the strength or range of motion you have after the injury.
- Grade I: A mild strain. Less than 5% of muscle fibers are damaged.
- Grade II: Significant loss of strength and motion. More muscle fibers are damaged, but the muscle hasn’t ruptured.
- Grade III: Tendon or muscle rupture. This causes severe swelling and pain. In some cases, surgery may be required to reattach the muscle or tendon.
Muscle Pain Natural Remedy Options
Muscle strains, even mild ones, can be very painful. While pain medications and other conventional treatments are available, many people are looking for natural ways to combat pain.
There are many muscle pain natural remedy options that may help ease or reduce your muscle pain, including:
Many essential oils can help with muscle pain. They can be diluted with a carrier oil (like jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil) and applied like massage oil or diffused in the air to help ease discomfort.
Essential oils that you can use for muscle pain and swelling include:
Calming lavender may reduce muscle pain while helping you relax and rest. Lavender essential oil can also reduce inflammation, which is a major contributor to pain.
Chamomile essential oil, both Roman and German, can help ease inflammation and pain. Chamomile may also relieve muscle tension, which is common in people with muscle strains.
Frankincense could be great for any inflammation you may have within your body, such as when you have IBS, arthritis, or another inflammatory disorder can be reduced, due to its ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes.
Eucalyptus essential oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease muscle pain and aid in recovery. Other research shows that eucalyptus may help ease postoperative pain.
The cooling effects of eucalyptus may also help alleviate discomfort from muscle strains.
Ginger root is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to act as an analgesic. The essential oil of this root can also help with pain relief, particularly when applied topically. Ginger essential oil will help warm your muscles, which can help further reduce pain.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, can help ease muscle pain and may even aid in your recovery from a muscle strain.
Research shows that CBD can help ease pain and inflammation, particularly when applied topically. While more research is needed, the evidence so far is promising.
- One 2016 animal study found that topical CBD helped with pain and swelling caused by arthritis.
- A 2019 study found that topical CBD can help with facial pain after just two weeks of use.
- One small study in 2020 found that CBD helped ease nerve pain, particularly sharp and intense pain sensations.
CBD creams (like our Pain Warrior cream) make it easy to get muscle pain relief without having to mix and measure anything.
Epsom salt has long been used in folk medicine to help treat a variety of ailments, including muscle pain and skin issues.
Epsom salt is high in magnesium and sulfates, and they are easily absorbed through the skin. Soaking your feet or taking a bath in Epsom salt can help soothe muscle pain while helping you relax.
Methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, is commonly used to help ease muscle and joint pain. Research shows that MSM can help reduce inflammation in the body, but it can also help slow the breakdown of cartilage to protect joints.
In one study, people with lower back pain took a glucosamine supplement with MSM. They reported having reduced back pain and stiffness when moving. They also reported having a better overall quality of life.
MSM is often taken in supplement form, but it also works topically. Creams (like our Recovery Muscle & Injury Relief) make it easy to get just the right amount of MSM and have other ingredients that improve absorption and further improve pain relief.
Turmeric and Ginger
Turmeric and ginger have both been used for centuries in folk medicine to help ease pain and inflammation.
One study found that taking 1 gram of ginger extract daily for three months reduced inflammation in people with osteoarthritis.
Other studies have shown that turmeric extract can reduce markers of inflammation. Some research suggests that turmeric may be just as effective as ibuprofen for reducing inflammation.
Inflammation plays a major role in pain, but there are also compounds in ginger and turmeric that can help with pain directly.
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is particularly effective at reducing arthritis-related pain. Studies have also shown that ginger can be effective at decreasing pain.
While you can add ginger and turmeric to your diet (fresh or dried), it’s difficult to get the amount needed for pain relief. Supplements make it easier to enjoy the pain-relieving benefits of these plants, and you can find supplements that contain both ginger and turmeric.
Rest is crucial to the recovery process and can help ease your pain simply by giving your muscle a break. It seems like a simple thing, but many people struggle the most with rest. It’s natural to want to continue with your daily routine, especially exercise. However, it’s important to give your body the rest and care it needs to recover.
Gentle Stretching and Exercise
Stretching and gentle exercise is often recommended for injuries, including muscle strains. While rest is important, your muscles still need some kind of movement. Too much rest can cause stiffness and tension that can actually make the pain even worse.
Your doctor or physical therapist may also recommend gentle exercises to help maintain strength and keep your body active.
The Bottom Line
Muscle strains can cause serious pain and discomfort. Fortunately, these natural remedies can help ease your discomfort while you recover and may even help speed up the healing process. Give one – or all – a try to see what works best for you and your body.
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