Almost everyone has experienced some type of muscle or joint discomfort in their life. The entire human body is covered with muscle tissue and joints that are in motion almost constantly, making it easy for discomfort to appear anywhere, anytime. The most common type of muscle discomfort is lower back pain. It is estimated that up to 80% of the adult population in the United States has lower back pain. It’s a top reason why people see a doctor. It is also a leading cause of disability in Americans under the age of 45.
Muscle aches may involve ligaments, tendons, and fascia. A ligament is fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. A tendon is a band of tissues that connects muscle to bone. Just like ligaments, they are made of collagen. Fascia is dense connective tissues that connect muscle, bones, and organs.
Why Do Muscles Get Sore?
Sore muscles can result from a variety of reasons; exercise is the most common. Other factors, such as stress can cause a stiff jaw, neck, or aches elsewhere on the body. Twisting, bending, or straining can also cause problems.
Certain medical conditions and diseases, such as fibromyalgia, infections, flu, Lyme disease, polio, and lupus, may cause muscle soreness. Car accidents are a significant cause of injury, usually to neck muscles. Almost 2.5 million people are injured or disabled in road crashes every year! Dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalances due to low levels of potassium, calcium, or magnesium and lead to muscle cramps and discomfort.
How to Relieve Sore Muscles and Joints
Chiropractors are health care professionals who perform adjustments to the spine and other parts of the body. The goal is to alleviate muscle and joint discomfort, improve function, range of motion, and support the ability of the body to heal itself. There are currently more than 30,000 chiropractors treating approximately 30 million people per year in the U.S. These numbers will increase as people become more aware of the efficacy of chiropractic treatments.
Inversion therapy involves hanging upside down from an inversion table for the purpose of taking pressure off the nerve and disks in your spine and increasing the space between the vertebrae. A plethora of studies have confirmed the health benefits of inversion therapy.
Yoga is a mind and body practice that originated in India. It involves practicing different physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and relaxation. According to the National Institute of Health, a weekly yoga class can be effective at reducing back discomfort. It is no wonder why yoga is increasing in popularity; between 2012-2015, the number of American yoga practitioners grew by more than 75% from 20.4 million to over 36 million.
As with yoga, stretching is incredibly effective for supporting muscle and joint health.
Ice and Heat
When discomfort results from overuse or injury, applying ice for the first 24 to 72 hours is the first step toward relief. Following with heat can help soothe away the pain.
Topical Muscle and Joint Relief
There are many over the counter lotions and creams that help reduce muscle and joint discomfort.People, including athletes, frequently use creams and ointments for minor muscle aches. Most of these products only provide temporary relief and do not address the root cause.
What About Sprains and Strains?
A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Remember, a ligament is a fibrous connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS), as many as 25,000 people sprain an ankle every day. This adds up to almost 10 million sprained ankles every year!
Remedies for sprains and strains include rest, ice, compression, elevation, and physical therapy.
How to Discourage Muscle and Joint Discomfort
Warming-up and stretching before and after exercise are extremely important. Sit and stand with good posture. Stretch a few times a week. Stay active. And, if you are overweight, losing weight can reduce the strain on your back. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise; and, if your work requires sitting in the same position most of the day, try to stretch or walk several times throughout the day (at least once every hour). And, finally, maintain good form and posture when lifting heavy objects. Your legs should do most of the work.
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