Last Modified on Jul 24, 2014
While organized physical activity is a positive component of a healthy lifestyle, sports and other forms of exercise do create the potential for sports-related injuries. Not warming up appropriately, poor training techniques and even accidents can lead to a wide range of common injuries. Effective natural treatments, however, safely and quickly relieve pain and reduce inflammation that may be caused by an injury.
What are Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries are common and include such conditions as sprains and strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, injuries to the Achilles tendon, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, fractures and dislocations. A sports injury is often the result of overuse, improper training practices, inappropriate gear worn or accidents during physical activity.
Natural Remedies for Muscle Strain and other Exercise Injuries
One of the first treatment practices that should be applied in the case of a sports injury involves the acronym RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Following the initial treatment other options can be applied including natural treatment gels and soaks to relieve pain and prevent soreness. Arnica gel, Epsom salts and vinegar are among the most effective treatment options.
Arnica gel is derived from the herb arnica and is used to treat a variety of health conditions. The compound contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that promote healing and reduce pain. The gel relieves muscle soreness and can even treat sprain-related pain.
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound that contains vital nutrients including magnesium and sulfate. The combination of these and other minerals in the salt regulate the body’s metabolic processes, reduce inflammation and restore muscle and nerve function. An Epsom salt bath also flushes the system of toxins, relieving pain in this way as well.
Vinegar can be used in a variety of ways – as a soak, tonic or even rub – to relieve soreness and pain related to sports. Vinegar functions to pull toxins, including built up lactic acid, from the body to relieve inflammation and soreness. Vinegar also contains active vitamins and minerals that restore the body’s ability to rebuild muscle and nerve tissue.
Staying active is an important part of staying healthy, but so is taking care of one’s body. Natural remedies can help effectively treat sports injuries and offer relief of a variety of issues.
[YEA] 02/23/2009: Lindsey from Waukesha, WI: "I swear by using Arnica Gel for sports injuries. My son had a 3rd degree sprain on his ankle during a basketball game. He was told that he would be out for the rest of the season. He wore a walking boot during the day and iced his ankle 5 times a day and after each time he would smear Arnica gel all over. He was so swollen for 2 weeks for almost 3 weeks. At his next visit to get rechecked which was 2 weeks and 3 days. He was completely healed. The doctor was amazed. He said that he could go back to playing as long as he felt O.K. He hasn't had any problems since. My husband had one of his basketball players use it when he hurt his back in practice. The kid was skeptical but came back the next day and wanted to know where he got it because it worked."Replies
[YEA] 08/11/2010: John from Boise, Id, Usa replies: "My daughter sprained her ankle and she can barely walk. I massaged the ankle with some left-over arnica tincture that I made sometime ago. I wrapped it with an old towel before going to bed. She was healed after 2 days."
[YEA] 03/13/2006: Deirdre from Los Angeles: "I use arnica gel to help in recovering from sore muscles from rigorous martial arts workouts. I also supplement with potassium once in a while. However, I've noticed that potassium lowers my already low blood pressure so I need to be careful with that one! Soaking in Epsom Salts is another technique I use from time to time. I cannot stress the importance of ice packs on an injury! They bring swelling down quickly."
[YEA] 09/06/2011: anonymous from usa: "My daughter broke her tailbone while dancing. I took her to a physical therapist at Ability Rehabilitation in Orlando, Catherine Weibel. She specializes in pelvic rehabilitation and manually treated her coccyx. She never had pain again.
Here is a list of doctors by state, look for someone who does manual treatments. I hope this helps.
06/02/2012: Faith from Corsica, France replies: "My coccyx hurts since some time. I have seen 2 generalists who don't take it seriously. I am in an isolated area and working 7 days a week. I am having a lot of pain in one leg. Swimming doesn't seem to help as the doctor said it would. Any ideas?"
06/02/2012: Steve from Las Vegas, Nevada replies: "Sounds like a pinched nerve. A good energy healer can help you with this issue easily. Peace, Steve"
11/07/2012: Mesem from Manosque, France replies: "Well, this has been a long search and not sure if I am OK yet but after seeing 5 different osteopaths I pleaded with my medicine generalist to give me a prescription for a x-ray (not that I like these things! ). Nothing wrong with the coccyx but the osteopath I saw yesterday could read the xray better than the radiographer and saw that the whole of my pelvis was twisted out of line. She went to work realigning everthing and have to say I feel lots better today. You really have to be determined to find solutions and traditinal med. will rarely help you in these sorts of situations."
09/08/2011: Rose from Brooklyn, New York: "fell and tore lisfranc ligament in right foot which is between first and second toe. doctors want to remove cartilage between first and second metatorsal and then fuse them together. could stem cell therapy help to regrow the ligament? also what can help with inflamation and swelling?"
07/24/2014: Mama To Many from Tennessee: "Sports Injury Smoothie Recipe, or another way to take Turmeric!
Well, I have never been athletic, but I have an injury that is common to athletes...I seem to have injured my rotator cuff. Carrying babies around and nursing them in sometimes not the best positions over the last 20 years has put a lot of strain in my rotator cuff. I had a flare up a year or so ago and then another that began last night as I was stretching too much to reach something in a high cabinet. I woke up this morning in a lot of pain. Showering and dressing were very difficult. Pain is minimal if I am careful about not moving my arm in a certain way.
So, my first thoughts are - comfrey to increase cell regeneration in the tissue and turmeric for the inflammation. I am not fond of swallowing capsules and wanted my comfrey fresh. I also don't like turmeric in milk and so I made up this recipe. I have made two of them so far and it is quite tasty! The turmeric is not noticeable at all.
Here is what I did:
- 2 small to medium cucumbers, cut into large cubes. (I had maybe 1.5 cups of cubed cucumber.)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (to make the turmeric work better.)
- 1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 large or two small fresh comfrey leaves
- 1/4 cup milk kefir (contains fat which helps the turmeric work better.)
Blend in blender until smooth.
This was a cool and refreshing drink. It was a bit odd tasting, but by the second one I was liking it a lot. I think I will try adding a few mint leaves next time. My ten year old said it was not bad. (That is a compliment! ) My 12 year old said it was weird. My almost 3 year old took a sip and made a face but didn't spit it out. :) I will let you know how the mint affects the taste.
Any great wisdom on rotator cuff healing is appreciated! Thanks! I am also using DMSO, Castor Oil, essential oils and comfrey poultices topically.
~Mama to Many~"
[YEA] 06/14/2008: Kym from Niagara, Canada: "I have severe elbow pain from both tennis elbow and golfers elbow caused by trauma to my elbow and then repetitive use. What has helped make it bearable for me is massage and acupuncture. I also use Traumeel cream on the elbow and Traumeel tablets dissolved in mouth 3x daily for relief of pain and inflammation. If the pain is bad and elbow is very inflamed, such as after alot of use, try icing for 10mins or an ice massage (rub an ice cube over affected area for 3-5mins should feel cold,then burny, then achy, then numb be sure to stop when it starts feeling numb). I also wear an elbow brace to support the elbow this helps alot if you have to use your elbow alot."
04/04/2011: Thakor from Bradford, West Yorkshire, Uk: "Has any one tried castor oil for the treatments of RSI, thats repetive strain injuries, could it work! Anyone any remedy for RSI, regards"
12/12/2013: Michael from New York: "Hi, my name is Mike. I have a partial tear of my right shoulder labrum and was wondering if you knew of any other treatments beside surgery and rehab. Iam in a lot of pain from it but refuse to get surgery or be on constant pain killers or have a cortisone shot. please help me. Iheard injection into the site with hydrogen peroxide would work and some other stuff. What do you recommend? Sincerely, Michael"
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "I have this little theory about recovering from sports injury, especially Karate (being subjected to a lot of bruises). Taking liberal amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B3 (only in the form of Nicotinic acid -another word for it is niacin).
Another overlooked one is the use of allantoin. But since allantoin is NOT SOLUBLE IN WATER, I used DMSO, which is also known to help sports injury. DMSO or Dimethyl sulfoxide is found in nature and animals are fond of drinking this stuff - they have an instinct to know what is good for them. DMSO will dissolve the allantoin and I have read that comfrey, whose main component is allantoin will help heal broken bones faster also, but you cannot take comfrey internally because it might be poisonous. A way around this is to add 30% allantoin to 70% DMSO, and put in 1/3 -1/2 teaspoon and mixed in your favorite fruit juice, say orange juice. This might help aid in the recovery of sport injury much faster.
The use of north pole magnets (using a very powerful neodymium magnets) will help reduce inflammation. South pole increases inflammation, so please take note to apply the correct one. To identify the north pole is to get a compass. If the north pointing compass points to your magnet. It means this side is north. So mark the positions accordingly. The idea is well accepted in sports area, but are not well accepted in conventional medicine. Sports people need results and the faster they heal, the faster they can compete."
03/05/2012: Francisca from Zug, Switzerland: "I have had a bit of bad news today and I need a bit of advice, if possible! A while ago I did something stupid in the swimming pool and somehow tore a tendon in my left arm. Since then I have pain doing certain movements and in bed at night. The bone surgeon told me today that I need an operation where they make little holes, correct the growth that is now on the tendon and will be immobilized for 6 weeks. After that I will need a lot of exercises in order for my arm to get back to normal. Only half of the tendon is torn, the other half is working but stressed out because it works for both halves.
My question is, is there maybe another option than an operation? My brother-in-law had a similar problem in his knee and had steroids injected, he is ok now. My husband had the same problem with a sports injury many years ago, decided not to go for the operation and eventually got better. I am 54, so not one of the youngest. Is the operation the only way or is there something else one could try first? The surgeon told me that if I go for physiotherapy I will be better part of the time but sometimes I will get worse. I don't know what to do! As we are new here I don't know where else to go either and I need to decide quickly because otherwise in the middle of May we will move to the French countryside for some months and there things will be even more difficult! I can't stay this way because even if I mostly have no pain I do have pain doing some unexpected movements and I never know which ones!"
[YEA] 08/04/2007: Tami from Chattanooga, TN: "My right knee was injured playing softball. A very smart alternative health practitioner told me that all illness, ie staph, strep and any virus, etc goes to the injury area. She said if you want any injury area to heal, you need to give it added nutrition and support. Since I had some liquid Trace Minerals at home, I put a quarter size amount on my palm and rubbed it onto my knee. After doing this for two weeks my right knee felt stronger than my good left knee. Later playing racquetball, I injured my left knee - and the Trace Minerals came thru again! I now apply liquid Trace Minerals directly externally over my heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas and colon. Plus my knees! This is incredible!"
06/22/2008: TAN KOON PENG from SINGAPORE: "To relieve sore muscles from exercise soak in a warm tub with about 2 cups of vinegar poured into the water.. It will help with the soreness tremendously...Its actually best if you can soak with the vinegar after strenuous excercise, (before the soreness sets in), BUT, it will still help alleviate some of the soreness that is already there and you wil feel better soon.
Strawberry tea is good for muscle cramping and tightening. Some people like the tea leaves green but it tastes like straw."