Treating Sports Injuries Naturally
Joe Fleming provides an overview of eight all-natural remedies that can be used to treat all kinds of sports and exercise-related injuries.
Whether you are an athlete or an avid gym-goer, injuries are often inevitable for people who train consistently. That being said, there are a lot of things you can do to treat common injuries like muscle sprains and strains without turning to pharmaceuticals, which come with many problematic side-effects, including cardiovascular issues and an increased risk of intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
Listed below are eight all-natural remedies that can be used to treat all kinds of sports and exercise-related injuries.
If you are dealing with an injury like an ankle sprain, one of the best things you can do is apply ice as soon as it occurs. The cold will help minimize blood flow to the affected area, which will, in turn, reduce swelling and inflammation while also numbing your pain receptors.
After treating your injury with ice for about twenty minutes, start alternating between ice and a heating pad or hot water bottle. Letting ice sit on an injury for too long can negatively affect the healing process, and heat is important for revitalizing blood vessels and flushing out inflamed tissues.
Supplementing with vitamins can help prevent and repair several common injuries, including inflammatory conditions like tendonitis and bursitis.
One of the best vitamins to supplement with when an injury arises is vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant (which means it prevents oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which can cause inflammation throughout the body).
Other good supplements with wound-healing and antioxidant properties include vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulphate, is a natural compound that can be used to fight inflammation, reduce swelling, and ease sore muscles. It can also be used to heal cuts faster.
An Epsom salt bath is the perfect remedy for injuries and sore muscles. You can even buy Epsom salts that are infused with essential oils for additional relief.
Epsom salts are especially effective when you are dealing with a magnesium deficiency (which is likely since several different systems throughout the body require magnesium to operate efficiently). There is a link between low magnesium and an increase in the production of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation.
There are many herbs out there that can soothe inflammation and help speed up the recovery process. Two of the best ones are turmeric and ginger.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound whose effects are comparable to NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen. To treat acute inflammation from a sprain or other injury, you will need to consume about four teaspoons of turmeric.
You can also use it as a preventive measure by adding liberal amounts to salads and soups. You can also mix it with nut butter or make a latte with coconut milk. The fat will help your body absorb the curcumin.
Ginger's effects are also comparable to NSAIDs, so it is another great anti-inflammatory herb to consume after an injury or intense workout.
One of the best ways to reap this herb's benefits is to steep fresh chopped ginger in hot water to make tea. You can also take a ginger-infused bath for additional relief.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (also known as EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (also known as DHA), are known for their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
The most potent sources of EPA and DHA are fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and sardines, as well as algae and shellfish like scallops and shrimp.
Ideally, you would get your daily dose of DHA and EPA (you should shoot for between 600 and 2,000 mg combined) from whole food sources. This is the best option for maximum nutrient absorption.
However, if you are not able to eat seafood regularly, or do not like the taste, you can also get the nutrients you need from a high-quality fish oil supplement.
Compression works wonders for minimizing swelling from acute injuries. But, you can also use compression gear after a tough workout to improve circulation and speed up the healing process.
Compression from knee and elbow braces can also help you alleviate pain and discomfort without pharmaceutical intervention. If you have an old injury that is starting to flare up, or if you need some extra support during your workout, braces can provide a mild amount of compression to help you push through without making your injury worse.
Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs work similarly to compression. They increase blood flow to a specific area to relieve pain, fight inflammation, and speed up the body's natural healing process.
Castor oil packs are also easy to make and use. Massage a teaspoon of warm castor oil into the affected area, then cover it with a dishcloth or a piece of fleece to prevent stains. After the area is covered, top it with a heating pad or hot water bottle, then let it sit for 20-30 minutes as the oil absorbs into the skin.
Proteolytic enzymes aid in digestion and reduce inflammation. They do this by reducing the thickness of the blood and improving circulation. This helps deliver nutrients to the tissues more efficiently while also removing waste products that can cause muscle soreness.
You can buy these enzymes at your local pharmacy or health food store. Or, chow down on some fresh papaya or pineapple post-workout!
There are lots of natural remedies out there that can help eliminate inflammation, reduce muscle soreness, and get you back on the field or in the gym as soon as possible. Before you reach for NSAIDs or prescription painkillers, be sure to give these eight treatments a try to find relief without any unpleasant side effects.
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About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Passionate about healthy lifestyles and living a full life, he enjoys sharing and expressing these interests through his writing. To inspire others and fight ageism, Joe writes to help people of all backgrounds and ages overcome life's challenges. His work ranges from articles on wellness, holistic health, and ageing to social narratives, motivational pieces, and news stories. For Joe, helping others is vital.