You know that feeling when you’re just sitting there, minding your own business, and suddenly, out of nowhere, you feel a bulging or tightening sensation in your calf muscle? That’s a muscle spasm. Muscle spasms can creep up on you suddenly and without warning, and they can show up in your legs, abdomen, arms, and feet. They’re often caused by excessive exercising, and they can be painful both in the moment and for hours afterward.
If you don’t get a lot of muscle spasms, consider yourself lucky. Still, you might feel soreness, muscle tension, or achiness in your muscles from working out, sitting too long, or just being alive (the older I get, the more that last one makes sense). Experiencing muscle pain is common. The good news is that it doesn’t have to result in medication.
No matter what’s causing you to seek out muscle relaxers, consider taking them in a form that’s more natural than a prescription. There are some great natural muscle relaxers out there that can ease muscle pain or spasms without harmful side effects.
What is the Best Muscle Relaxer?
The best muscle relaxer is one that’s natural and works with your body. All of the natural muscle relaxers listed below can help you ease tension and pain in your body. You can try them one at a time or pair them together to see what works for you. Remember to always consult with your doctor if you have questions about taking supplements or undergoing treatment from a chiropractor or licensed massage therapist.
9. Tart cherry juice
I love drinking tart cherry juice when I’m in training because it’s an all-natural way to relieve pain and inflammation. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice can reduce pain in runners. It has also been shown to effectively reduce the symptoms of muscle damage in athletes. As an added bonus, it naturally contains melatonin, which can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The herb chamomile has been used since ancient times to treat a wide range of ailments, including muscle spasms. It contains 36 flavonoids, which are compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain and inflammation in your muscles. Rub some chamomile essential oil on your muscles to provide relief, or drink some chamomile tea to relax your mind and body.
7. Peppermint oil
Smelling as good as it feels, peppermint oil is a natural muscle relaxant that can reduce pain in your muscles as well as relieve pain from headaches and aching backs. You can apply it directly to your muscles or put a few drops in a diffuser.
6. Vitamin D
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, and muscle pain is one of the symptoms. Although it might not be your first instinct to use vitamin D as one of the natural muscle relaxers, if you have muscle pain along with extreme fatigue consider asking your doctor to get tested for vitamin D. There are supplements out there that can help you get up to the levels you need. You can also get vitamin D by getting 20 minutes of sunlight every day and eat vitamin D-rich food, like fatty fish, seafood, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified foods, such as milk or juice.
5. Cayenne pepper
Fans of spicy food will love this one. The capsaicin found in cayenne pepper has been shown to naturally relieve pain in the muscles of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Add some cayenne pepper to your food, take a supplement, or apply a capsaicin cream directly to the affected muscles.
4. Chiropractic adjustments
If you’re experiencing muscle pain that just won’t go away, consider seeing a chiropractor. Getting regular adjustments can keep your body aligned and reduce the pains and spasms that result from tough workouts, stress, and poor posture.
3. Licensed massage
Fewer things are more relaxing than a good massage from a licensed masseuse. A massage improves blood circulation, which can ease muscle aches and pains long after your session is over. Aim to get a massage once or twice a month if you have regular muscle spasms and aches or if you’re overly stressed. Make sure to let your masseuse know where you’re experiencing pain and if you have any known muscle damage to avoid further complications.
On of the essential natural muscle relaxers is magnesium is essential for your overall nutrition since it helps your body maintain normal nerve and muscle function. One of the signs of magnesium deficiency is muscle pain. You can take a supplement or get magnesium from a food source like almonds, brown rice, bananas, and legumes. For a more relaxing approach, soak your body or feet in Epsom salt to naturally increase your body’s magnesium levels.
Found in cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger, curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can ease muscle pain and soreness that come from a tough workout or stress. You can add these spices to your meals to get the benefits or take curcumin in supplement form. If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk to your doctor before taking a curcumin supplement, as there hasn’t been enough research done to determine if there are any risks associated with it.
All of these natural muscle relaxers can be taken at any time of day to soothe your sore muscles and give your body the nourishment it needs to function properly. The best part is that they don’t come with the potentially harmful side effects of a prescription, so you can live pain-free and spasm-free while keeping your body healthy.