How to Treat Musculoskeletal Pain Without Surgery
There are times when you may have musculoskeletal pain, which is pain to the muscles, nerves, joints, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, to the point where it hurts to move.There may also be times when the aching and soreness become so severe that you have to limit what you can do or what you want to do. There are many causes of this kind of pain, but if you are experiencing muscle pain more often than not, there are ways to relieve your musculoskeletal pain.
Relieving Pain Naturally
Take it easy.When you first notice any musculoskeletal pain, you should take it easy and rest your sore muscles. This means abstaining from exercise, strenuous activity, or any other activity that will overwork your muscles.
- Make sure you take a few days off from this kind of activity, only starting it again once the pain in your muscles have stopped.
- This doesn't mean you can't walk or do light work, since moving the sore muscles a little bit may actually help your muscles.
Try ice for acute injuries.When your muscle pain first starts, you can add ice to it to help reduce the pain. Ice packs help reduce inflammation and any possible swelling to the muscles. This method is generally recommended for acute injuries.
- Make an icepack by putting ice in a bag or towel and holding it against the aching muscle. Make sure you don't put the ice directly against your skin because it can cause damage to your skin. Also ensure you only keep it on for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables or fruit if you don't have any ice.
- Ice may make muscle spasms or cramps worse, so if you experience them, make sure you stop using ice then.
Use heat for chronic pain.If your muscles have been hurting for a few days, you might want to try heat to alleviate the pain. This method is helpful for chronic pain and should only be used on musculoskeletal pain about 24 to 48 hours after the pain starts.
- You can apply heat by soaking a rag in almost boiling water, using a heating pad, or buying self-heating patches.
- Make sure you don't keep the heat on your muscles for too long. It can cause burning or irritation to your skin.
- If your muscles or joints are swollen, the heat may make the inflammation worse. Keep in mind that heat can make inflammation feel worse and cold can make muscle spasms or cramps worse.
- You can also alternate between cold and heat packs. However, if the heat makes it worse, stick to ice packs.
Use acupuncture.Acupuncture is a non-invasive traditional Chinese medical treatment, where very fine needles are inserted in the specific areas that are painful. In medical studies, acupuncture has shown to relieve pain in about half of those it is administered to.
- Your acupuncturist will administer these needles to the muscle areas where you are experiencing pain.
- Make sure you find a licensed acupuncturist to administer this method of treatment. It cannot be done at home or on your own.
Try acupressure.If you are experiencing muscles pain, you can also try acupressure. It is an Asian Bodywork Therapy that uses finger placements and pressure along certain areas of the body to relieve pain.
- Depending on where your musculoskeletal pain resides, the pressure points will vary. Look into a guide to acupressure points to ensure that you apply the acupressure to the correct points.
Using At Home Treatments
Make Epsom salt baths.If your muscles are hurting all over, you can use an Epsom salt bath to help relieve your pain. These baths help because the minerals in the Epsom salt, such as magnesium, is absorbed through the skin while soaking. Magnesium is extremely instrumental in the health of muscles. To make this bath, add one to two cups of Epsom salts to a tub of very warm-hot bath water.
- If you have pain in a large or non-soakable area, you can make a bath with Epsom salt. Soak your skin as long as you want.
Use essential oils.You can also add various essential oils to the mix to help the muscle pain. You can add these to Epsom salt baths or into massage oils. These can be used to soak your muscles. Add eight to 10 drops directly to your bath water. You can also add 12 to 15 drops of essential oils to a two ounce coconut or almond oil base, then massage the mixture into your muscles. You can use then three to four times a day. These oils include:
Try over the counter topical treatments.There are some over the counter topical treatments that contain natural ingredients or herbs that can help with musculoskeletal pain. These will help reduce pain and other pain related symptoms upon application to the skin. These products include:
- Those with capsaisin, derived from the chile pepper, which helps reduce the amount pain neurotransmitters and can help muscles and joints. Either of the two concentrations, 0.025% and 0.075%, can be used three to four times a day.
- Those with Arnica montana, a plant used for centuries to relieve pain, which can be used topically three to four times a day but not on broken skin.
- Those with menthol, camphor, and combinations of other herbs, which act as anti-inflammatory agents and possible pain relief, dependant on the cause of your pain.
Using Medical Treatments
Take anti-inflammatory and pain-relief supplements.There are some supplements that may be helpful for pain relief that will also help with inflammation. You should always follow manufacturer's instructions when taking supplements. Always tell your doctor when you start taking supplements. These supplements include:
- White willow bark
- Wobenzym, which is a combination of anti-inflammatory enzymes that should be taken between meals
Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).In the case of acute muscle pain, you can take over the counter NSAIDs for the pain. These are typically used for short-term pain caused by a pulled or strained muscle.
- These medications include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Acetaminophen may be less effective because it isn't as strong as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Take prescription medication.If you have more serious musculoskeletal pain, your doctor may prescribe you stronger pain relief medications. These include:
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
- Opioids, such as morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone
- Antidepressants, including SSRIs, such as citalopram (Celexa) or fluoxetine (Prozac), or SNRIs, such as venlafaxine (Effexor) or duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), gabapentin (Neurontin), and pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) or Carisoprodol (Soma)
Understanding Muscle Pain
Learn about musculoskeletal pain.Musculoskeletal pain can sometimes be called myalgia or myopathic pain. This pain often involves more than one muscle and also typically involve tendons, joints, ligaments, and other muscle tissues such as fascia. However, it may just feel like overall muscle ache, since all of these tissues are interlinked.
- Ligaments are the tough tissues that connect bone to bone and bone to cartilage.
- Tendons are the tissues that attach muscles to bones or to organs, such as the eye.
- Fascia are the almost transparent very thin tissue that cover muscles or organs.
Recognize the causes of muscle pain.There are many causes of muscle pain. There are some causes that are common and frequently occurring, such as that due to tension, over-stretching, overuse, or injury. However, muscle pain may also be a symptom of some infections, such as the flu or other medical issues, including systemic disorders such as thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
- Muscle pain may also be a reaction to prescription medications, such as statins that help lower cholesterol.
- It can also be caused by imbalances in the minerals in your tissue and blood.
See your doctor.Although some muscle pain is expected, common, and should not cause alarm, there are some situations that you should have seen by a doctor. If you try all the suggested methods and do not feel any relief within three to four days, you should call your doctor. Your doctor will ask about the history of the pain, so a physical examination, and possibly run some tests to find the root of the pain. You should also call your doctor if you experience muscle pain accompanied by:
- Severe, unexplained, or persistent pain
- Any sign of infection, such as redness or swelling around the muscle that aches
- Poor circulation or restricted blood flow around the aching or injured muscle
- A tick bite
- A rash that occurs after an insect bite
- Recently taking on new medications or changing the dose of a medication
Go to the chiropractor.Once you go to your main doctor, you may need to go see a chiropractor. Your chiropractor will make adjustments of your bones and joints all over your body to help relieve your musculoskeletal pain. Your doctor will let you know if this is a viable option for you.
- There have been recent studies that indicate the usefulness for chiropractic methods for these conditions.
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