Soreness, stiff joints, and aches make completing everyday tasks more difficult. It's even worse when you feel multiple areas of your body. The good news is, these bothersome head to toe aches and pains can be alleviated using natural remedies. Research offers potential reasons why each remedy works to provide much-needed relief. Also, these tips are easy enough to incorporate into your everyday routine. Here are the five pain-relieving tricks worth trying in order to erase soreness and feel your best.
To halt head pain, try a jaw massage.
With so much to do every day, the last thing you want is a tension headache slowing you down. Thankfully, a 2020 study found that massaging tight jaw muscles helped ease painful headaches for participants. The reason? When jaw muscles are relaxed, they’re less likely to pinch and irritate the delicate nerves that carry pain signals. To do: Using firm pressure and circular motions, massage along your cheekbones and jawline, starting at your ear and working toward the centerline of your face.
To banish backaches, do some 'quick wiggles.'
The holiday season meant more cleaning, cooking, shopping and socializing…and for two in three of us, more bothersome back pain. Thankfully, a 2016 study published in the journal Healthcare found that exercises focused on muscular strength, flexibility, or aerobic fitness may help loosen tight muscles and improve healing blood flow. This makes you feel more limber and less achy during the day. To do: First, stretch your arms high up toward the sky, then rest your hands on your waist and rotate your hips in large, slow circles.
To calm your stomach, try this couch trick.
We love winter comfort foods, but many of us are prone to bloat and GI upset when we eat hearty fare. The fix: Stretch out on your left side with your head on the armrest of the couch or with a cushion tucked under your head and shoulders. Research published in American Journal of Gastroenterology found that fewer acid reflux episodes occurred when participants rested slightly elevated and on their left side after eating a high fat meal.
To tame joint pain, try a carpet march.
To soothe achy joints, stroll around your living room for 10 minutes or visit each room to water your houseplants. A Northwestern University study found that getting at least 45 minutes of exercise each week helped participants with lower-extremity joint symptoms improve or sustain their physical function. In other words, doing small amounts of exercise every day adds up to keep aches and pains at bay!
To fight foot pain, indulge in a hot and cold spa soak.
A 2018 study found that contrast soaking — or alternating hot and cold foot baths — could have therapeutic benefits for foot pain. In addition, earlier research observed that alternating hot and cold foot baths reduced swelling in sprained ankles more quickly than heat therapy alone.
Why might the use of hot and cold temperatures work on painful feet? Researchers theorize that rapid temperature changes cause blood vessels to constrict and then relax — creating a pumping action that flushes trapped fluids and inflammation. To do: Immerse your feet in cold water for one minute, then very warm water for one minute; repeat three times.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.