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Living life can be painful.
From tight shoulders to achy knees to low back strains — they can all creep in unexpectedly and leave you feeling like you have aged decades.
She prided herself on being fierce in life; Always on the go and challenging her body in ways that would make Superwoman jealous. Long days of taking care of the kids, fitting in her workouts, cleaning the house, or working a physically demanding job. Some days if was all of the above.
But as she got older, things started to change. She started to change. Her body wasn’t as flexible and her mind stopped her from trying feats that were never previously questioned.
She couldn’t squat down as low because her knees ached and her hips hurt if she sat too long.
She had chronic pain in her upper back and neck and noticed that even turning to reach in the back seat of the car caused jarring pain to shoot into her shoulder.
She would wake up in pain, wondering how she could possibly injure herself while sleeping.
She felt decades older than she really was and would say over and over, “I am getting so old.”
The worst part? She felt unattractive and uncomfortable in her own skin. She no longer felt like this young, attractive, vibrant, energetic woman. Life’s sparkle dulled a bit.
Does this sound like a version of you? I hear this story from women all the time. I have been a version of this woman myself!
It can feel daunting to take care of yourself and your body when you have so many demands on your plate. It is easy to push away what doesn’t seem immediately necessary — to change it to another day. But for many of us, that other day never really comes and if that is your story, then you may be left with years of built up tension and tightness spreading throughout your physical body.
You are an energetic being. And being an energetic being, your energy needs to flow through your body or else it could get trapped in areas throughout your body. One example of this is shoulder tightness. Stress and pent up emotion may result in you clenching your neck and shoulder muscles, unknowingly squeezing them upwards towards your ears and creating this tightness to start setting in. That continual contracting (squeezing) of the muscle creates a muscle spasm, which is a continual dose of energy being given from that muscle. This then causes the muscles and other soft tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc) to start tightening even more, decreasing the flow of natural energy movement through that area. The more energy that gets stuck, the more you are thrown off physically, emotionally, mentally, and so on.
Where To Begin
There are many places you can begin when trying to get rid of the physical aches and pains that may be holding you back. You want to reevaluate questions such as :
- Are you eating a whole foods, low processed, low sugar nutrition plan?
- Is your gut health strong? Food allergies, autoimmune disorders (i.e., Celiac disease, IBS, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus), Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases, Alzheimers, and even mood imbalances may be signs that it is not.
- Are your shoes supportive?
- Do you need orthotics in your shoes?
- Are you stretching regularly?
- Do you get massages or other body work?
- Are you getting enough sleep and rest?
- Are your workouts supporting you or breaking your body down?
- Are you getting adequate nutrient support like magnesium or Vitamin D?
This is not an exhaustive list, but it can help you get a little closer to honing in on the long term support you are giving your body.
I am going to give you some pro tips you can do at home or whenever you need immediate relief. But before I do, let’s talk about some areas that will help support you in the long term.
Massage and Other Alternative Medicines
Massage is fantastic to ease pain in several different ways. It affects your nervous system through the nerve endings in your skin. This stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural “feel good” chemicals, and they promote feelings of relaxation, a sense of well-being, lowered stress, and lowered pain. But it doesn’t stop there. Massage can also increase blood flow to sore or stiff joints and muscles, assists the lymphatic system in flushing away waste products and toxins, helps to ease tightness and break up scar tissue, and it has been shown to be a natural painkiller because of it’s trigger to release opioids into the brain (and speeds up the flow of the hormone oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and encourages feelings of calmness and contentment).
Massage is not the only avenue to explore. The following have been showing high levels of effectiveness in decreasing pain and body aches from a root cause level:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Nutritionist for dietary healing
- Herbal remedies
- Essential oils
- Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi
- Hypnosis or guided imagery
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
What Can I Do For Immediate Relief?
- For tightness and pain and tension, you can try one of the above therapies that is easy to implement at home. Try 5-10 minutes of quiet or moving meditation (which could come from yoga, qigong, or tai chi). You could also perform some self-massage on the affected area using some healing salves or gels to increase the healing process. For this, I love using Badger’s Sore Muscle Rub. It has a nice soothing warming effect by using cayenne extract and it helps to ease some of the muscle tightness with it’s essential oils.
- If it is tight muscle spasms you are experiencing, try some trigger point release. This is a technique in which you apply deep, constant pressure on the sore muscle spasm with your finger, elbow, thumb or whatever is most comfortable for you. It that is uncomfortable or you need to get deeper, you can use household items, such as a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or golf ball. Hold each muscle spasm for about 10-90 seconds or until you start to feel some release in the tightness. You can either hold each with a constant pressure or use small, kneading, circular movements to help loosen. Again, whatever feels most effective for you.
- For tight and sore muscles, you can try foam rolling for an at home self-massage that massage the muscles and the fascia in your body. Here is a link to show you how to get started.
- If you are experiencing tight feet, arch pain, or a sharp pain in your heel, you may be on the verge of (or already experiencing) some plantar fascitis. Try stretching and self massage. Perform a standing calf stretch or a standing step stretch. To loosen up the arch, roll a golf ball under your foot with moderate pressure,or whatever pressure feels comfortable, for a 3-5 minutes. For better results, you can use a small water bottle with frozen water inside to add the cooling effect and calm down the inflammation. For heel pain, try some light massage over the painful area, again for 5 minutes or until it feels as though the pain is subsiding slightly.
- For cuts and burns and scraps, there are a few easy home remedies to give you relief:
- Mix three or four drops of lavender oil together with a few drops of coconut or tamanu oil, always after it is cleaned.
- Cayenne pepper can be used on minor scrapes and scratches for quick relief, but never on open wounds. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which helps speed healing and blocks pain messages to the brain — wipe off when pain is lessened.
- You can also try an aloe vera plant. Break off a leaf and squeeze gel directly onto the affected area. Aloe vera seals the injury, relieves pain and provides quicker healing. Reapply 3-4 times daily.
- Limes and lemons have been proven to have an antibiotic effect and can kill bacteria.
- Tea tree oil is great because it is antiseptic, antimicrobial, and has many healing properties.
- Arnica gel provides excellent pain relief and healing of cuts, scrapes, and burns.
- If you got an upset stomach or nausea, try sniffing some lavender essential oil and/or ingesting real ginger. There are ginger chews and ginger snacks that can relieve an unsettled stomach. I also like using Doterra’s DigestZen for immediate relief in bloating, indigestion, and nausea. It is my go-to oil for motion sickness!
- If you are looking for some over the counter products that are reliable and easy to use, I recommend the following:
- Topricin for soothing relief associated with arthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, or work and sports related injuries.
- Arnicare by Boiron is an excellent homeopathic medicine to assist with pain relief, stiffness, swelling, and bruising.
- Skin Gel by AloeLife is my go to for burns, wounds, and scars (and much more).
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