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Body aches can decrease your mental and physical wellbeing but there are several home remedies that may ease some of the tension.
Body aches can significantly impact the overall wellbeing - both mental and physical - of children, adults and the elderly.
Anyone who's suffered from a back problem, for example, could likely vouch for the emotional irritation that accompanies it.
The common occurrence of muscle discomfort is also a cause for concern, with Australia topping the list of body ache prevalence across 32 surveyed countries, according to the "2017 Global Pain Index".
According toPain Australia, 3.37 million continue to live with chronic pain, as of 2020. These figures are alarming, and although some ailments may be labelled as temporary and easier to recover from, other issues may be chronic and will likely require additional attention. (1) (2)
Potential causes of common body aches may include:
- Muscle tension or overuse
- Blood flow issues. (3) (4)
Some conditions may require medical assistance in order to correctly assess and manage related pain, however, others may benefit from the following home remedies:
- Light exercise
If your limbs are sore and you can't seem to find the motivation to even get the mail, participating in physical activity as a means to reduce (or manage) soreness may seem counterintuitive. Exercising is, however, known for reducing joint compression and boosting your body's pliability.
In some cases, avoiding strenuous activity is wise in order to allow your muscles to rest and recover after injury or illness. It's suggested, however, that if you suffer from chronic pain or delayed onset muscle soreness, light workouts may encourage improvement. Using foam rollers on your back could aid in realignment and relief. (5) (6) (7)
It's essential to seek professional guidance before undertaking any fitness plans, as your condition may not respond well to exercise.
- Proper sleep hygiene
Sleep, as mentioned by Best Mattress Australia, is considered to be one of the most important factors in a healthy lifestyle. This concept is further solidified by the Sleep Foundation, which has done research revealing a strong correlation between quality of sleep and pain. Awkward sleeping positions, uncomfortable pillows or elevated night-time anxiety may all contribute to increased levels of discomfort. (8)
Ensuring you cultivate and maintain appropriate sleeping practices may mean the difference between having a well-rested body, and being a knotted-up mess who can barely make it to the bathroom without sighing the phrase "ouch".
Possible home remedies for improving sleep may include:
- Quality mattress and pillow
- Adjusting sleeping position
- Temperature regulation
- Relaxation techniques (deep breathing)
- Minimising screen time.
- Heat and cold therapy
If muscle or joint damage is the culprit of your aching body, Medical News Today recommends heat and cold therapy as a potential management option. You can utilise hot water bottles, gel-filled microwavable pads, warm baths or electric heating pads if you're seeking to promote blood flow and aid in muscle relaxation.
If, however, you're looking to reduce inflammation and avoid tissue damage, minimising blood flow with cold water or frozen pads may do the trick. (9)
Ensuring you understand the appropriate length of time for each therapy is key before application, otherwise you may over- or misuse the materials and cause further irritation. Make sure to consult with a professional to assess your needs if you have severe or chronic pain.
If your aches and pains occur predominantly in your legs and feet, elevation of the affected area may be the appropriate method of potential relief to pursue.
- Possible results could include:
- Reduced swelling
- Pressure relief
- Increased blood flow
- Relieved muscle tension. (10)
Acupuncture is a technique derived from traditional Chinese medicine.
Through careful insertions of thin needles into specific "acupoints", it's suggested to relieve pain. This is thought to be due to the subsequent endorphin release and boosts in serotonin levels.
The effectiveness, while remaining controversial, was explored in a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine. Experts highlighted a significant reduction in pain by almost 50 per cent among those who received acupuncture when compared to those who received a placebo. (11) (12) (13)
Still, it's wise to understand the potential risks of undergoing this practice before diving in, to avoid any complications, so speak to your doctor.
According to Harvard Health, yoga may be the answer to your arthritis, fibromyalgia or other aches related to chronic illness.
The NCCIH Clinical Digest further highlights this possibility by outlining several studies that have revealed the positive effects yoga has had on low-back pain, neck pain, arthritis and headaches. (13) (14)
The Western Australian Department of Health also revealed that certain disabilities, mood-related issues and irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from yoga. (15)
Turmeric, or its primary active compound - curcumin - has been recognised as a potential managing agent for inflammation and muscle soreness. (16)
Turmeric is usually consumed via supplement capsules, pure powder or dried root. The powder and root can be combined into your cooking, such as within smoothies, curries and teas.
- Anti-inflammatory diet
Sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet may be one of the most natural ways of potentially minimising body aches. It's doctor-recommended to consume eight to nine servings of vegetables (and some fruits) each day - with a minimum of four to five being acceptable. Restricting grains and dairy products as well as avoiding processed meats, refined sugars, gluten and alcohol is also considered beneficial. (17)
Other anti-inflammatory foods may include:
- Fatty fish
- Green tea. (18)
Staying hydrated and frequently flushing your system with water may also help manage inflammation, chronic pain and joint pain.
In order to function properly your body requires a certain amount of nutrients. Vitamins can provide you with the nutrients you're lacking and can potentially ease chronic pain that has resulted from that deficiency.
The following vitamins are considered by health writer Jennifer Acosta Scott to be the "top pain-fighting vitamins":
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E. (19) (20)
- Massage with mustard oil
Receiving a massage from your partner or friend can sometimes be all you need to relieve some of that unwanted tension. Mustard oil, however, may be the perfect addition to your session of relaxation. According to Dr Prachi Garg, massaging with mustard oil aids in relieving arthritis-caused stiffness and joint pain, due to the Omega-3 fatty acids, and the chemical compound allyl isothiocyanate it contains. (21) (22)
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
If all else fails, heading to your local doctor or pharmacy and acquiring the appropriate OTC pain medications may be your best bet.
Body aches and pains can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health, especially if they're ongoing. There are several home remedies you can implement with the aim of alleviating some of your pain; however, if symptoms persist, seeking professional advice is recommended. It's also wise to visit your doctor if you're unsure about how to administer a certain method of relief.
- "The 2017 Global Pain Index", Source: https://au.gsk.com/en-au/global-pain-index/
- "Painful facts", Source: https://www.painaustralia.org.au/about-pain/painful-facts
- "Why Does My Body Ache?", Source: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/ss/slideshow-body-aches
- "What You Need to Know About Muscle Aches and Pains", Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-aches
- 'Chronic Pain and Exercise", Source: https://exerciseright.com.au/chronic-pain-and-exercise/
- 'Exercise and Pain Relief", Source: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/exercise-relief
- "The Importance of Exercise in Overcoming Aches and Pains", Source: https://rollingstrong.com/the-importance-of-exercise-in-overcoming-aches-and-pains/
- "Pain and Sleep", Source: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/pain-and-sleep
- "Hot or cold: Which therapy works best?", Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29108
- "5 Health Benefits of Elevating Your Legs", Source: https://www.merricksurgical.com/blog/post/5-health-benefits-of-elevating-your-legs-
- "Acupuncture", Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/acupuncture/about/pac-20392763
- "Acupuncture for Chronic Pain, Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis", Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1357513
- "Yoga for pain relief", Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/alternative-and-complementary-medicine/yoga-for-pain-relief
- "Yoga for Pain: What the Science Says", Source: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/yoga-for-pain-science
- "Yoga and pain", Source: https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/pain-module/yoga/
- "Curcumin: A Review of Its' Effects on Human Health", Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
- "How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Can Relieve Pain as You Age", Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/anti-inflammatory-diet-can-relieve-pain-age/
- "Anti-inflammatory diet - made easy", Source: https://www.arthritisnsw.org.au/anti-inflammatory-diet-made-easy/
- "The Top Pain-Fighting Vitamins", Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/the-top-pain-fighting-vitamins.aspx.
- "5 Vitamins You Need for Pain Relief", Source: https://www.southeastchiro.com/blog/5-vitamins-you-need-for-pain-relief
- "Know All About Mustard Oil: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Uses & Side Effects", Source: https://pharmeasy.in/blog/benefits-of-mustard-oil/
- "8 Benefits of Mustard Oil, Plus How to Use It", Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mustard-oil-benefits