Foam Rollin’ And Heat: 3 Ways To Manage Sore Muscles

Achy and sore muscles are hallmark symptoms of fibromyalgia and unfortunately a common experience. Symptoms may range from stiffness to a more active, aching feeling, but however it manifests, it’s never fun.

Fortunately, there are a number of at-home ways to treat sore muscles from fibromyalgia. Many methods involve equipment or objects frequently found around the house. Other remedies involve items that can be bought relatively cheaply.

Different people may experience varying results even with the same method of managing those sore muscles, so try a variety of things and find what works best for you.

Here is a roundup of easy, at-home treatment methods for sore muscles.

1. Foam roller

Available for sale at any sporting goods stores or discount retailer, a foam roller can feel amazing on achy muscles. This practice may take some getting used to and even cause initial pain as the roller presses into painful areas, but after rolling, many people experience a sense of relief.

Using a foam roller is a type of myofascial release. This therapy targets constricted areas in the myofascial tissues, which are the membranes that surround and connect muscles. The constricted areas are known as trigger points, and they may develop from a variety of causes including injury or overuse, according to Mayo Clinic.

The tightness and constriction in trigger points often leads to additional areas of pain throughout the body because an imbalance in one muscle group often leads to imbalances in other places. Because of this, working to free individual trigger points may lead to relief from soreness throughout the body.

The foam roller breaks up these areas, freeing the knots and restoring ease of movement to those nerves and connective tissue. Breaking up this scar tissue can be painful, but many people find this self-administered form of myofascial release ultimately diminishes pain from sore muscles.

Athletes frequently use foam rolling to promote recovery after particularly strenuous workouts, but research published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork also suggests that the practice may benefit people living with chronic pain.

Foam rollers are particularly effective when used on the quads or hamstrings, and it may also feel good to roll your back over it. Just be careful if you have limited back flexibility. To use, place your body weight over the roller in the targeted area and slowly roll along, applying as much of your body weight onto the roller as possible. As a warning, it will probably hurt. But pain is often a signal that the practice is working, reports Greatist.

You might also want to experiment with holding the roller in one place for 20 to 30 seconds to release any especially tight areas. Rolling on a tennis ball could also work, and is useful for small areas like the feet. To find relief for larger areas, like the legs, investing the $10 or $20 in the roller is helpful because it’s easier to use.

2. Oil massage

It’s not just for romance: the Ayurvedic massage technique known as Abhyanga involves the applications of warm oil. This practice is believed to promote self-love, which in turn fosters a feeling of deep relaxation and release felt all the way into the deepest layers of muscles, according to The Chopra Center. Release tension and reduce muscle soreness with this ancient healing practice.

Ayurveda is an ancient system of Indian medicine that not only provides guidance for treating sickness but also offers techniques to promote health and wellness.

Benefits include stimulating the organs so they work at maximum efficiency, promoting joint health, softening the skin while reducing signs of aging, and alleviating anxiety, according to The Chopra Center.

To take part in the ancient, healing ritual, warm about ¼ cup of gentle oil like jojoba in a pot until it’s just hot enough to cause a warm sensation when applied to the inner wrist. Head to a warm room like a bathroom and find a comfortable place to sit or stand.

Starting at the crown of the head, apply oil in circular strokes, gradually expanding the circles to include the entire scalp. Stay massaging the scalp for a couple of minutes, enlivening all the energy points there, and then move to the face, keeping the circular motions going. Don’t forget the ears, which contain many nerve endings.

Moving to the arms, change from a circular motion to long brushing strokes, while keeping that circular movement when massaging the joints. Move to the abdomen and down the legs, not missing a single section of your body, and end with the feet, spending a few minutes there. Feet are another very important body part in Ayurvedic medicine, according to The Copra Center, because they contain many nerve endings and energy centers.

Sit and relax for anywhere from five to 15 minutes before washing the oil off in a bath or shower. Try to use a mild soap when washing the oil off, and keep a gentle touch, avoiding any vigorous scrubbing. Be careful when bathing because the oil will make it easy for you to slip in the bathtub or shower.

When towel drying, again avoid any vigorous rubbing action.

3. Warm water relief for sore muscles

Nothing beats an old-fashioned bath for sore muscle relief. Doctors sometimes give it a fancy name—warm water therapy—but the principle remains the same.

Benefits include helping to loosen joints, reducing pain, and diminishing the effect of gravity on the joint, which can help to release pressure.

For optimal results, soak in water that’s between 92 and 100 degrees for around 20 minutes. People with heart problems should err on the cooler side since hot water could be dangerous to the heart. If you have access to a larger tub, try stretching to loosen the muscles and joints even further. You might also want to use the tub’s wall to rub a tennis ball on your back, performing a little myofascial release, recommends Arthritis Today.

Pouring two to four coups of Epsom salt into the bath promotes additional relief.

What at-home remedies do you use for sore muscles?

Image by Ben Smith via Flickr