Remedies For Runners05 July, 2012 0 comments
Running improves cardiovascular health, increases bone density and staves off depression. Yet, for all its pros, running has a few painful cons — runner’s knee, achilles tendonitis and shin splints, to name a few. In fact, at least 50 per cent of distance runners get injured every year, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. And that’s not all. Among the top ten search terms on BootsWebMD.com’s fitness centre are ‘hamstrings’ and ‘shin splints’, reflecting just how common joint, muscle and bone pain is.
“Exercising is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy, and it’s important that you look after yourself when you train and know what level you should be adopting,” says Dr Rob Hicks, GP and BootsWebMD.com contributor. “There are both short and long-term health consequences of not working out safely and you must ensure you feel comfortable with what you are doing before you start.”
However, when injury does rear its ugly head, it’s all too easy to reach for conventional medicine to tackle aches and pains. Stop right there! If you’re looking to reduce your chemical load and banish body bothers, these drug-free remedies offer an alternative route to pain-free jogging...
The complaint: sprains and bruises
The cure: arnica
Get back on track with a topical arnica treatment. The yellow flower is well known for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, making it good for treating sprains, bruises and other sports injuries. In fact, this plant is said to be just as effective at reducing inflammation as more conventional medicine. Research in the journal Rheumatology International found that those using arnica to treat ailments reported the same reduction in pain as those taking ibuprofen. Treat your sprains with arnica-infused A.Vogel Atrogel (£6.35, available from health food stores).
The complaint: restless legs
The cure: magnesium
Many runners suffer from an overwhelming urge to move their legs, as well as the cramping sensations associated with Restless Legs Syndrome. The good news is that a growing number of professionals believe that magnesium can be used to treat restless limbs. Though the ailment isn’t thought to be caused by a magnesium deficiency, magnesium has been shown to relieve mild symptoms. Research published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reported that a patient suffering from restless legs found magnesium supplements helped decrease the uncomfortable sensations. For instant relief, massage BetterYou Magnesium Oil Sport Spray (£12.20, www.betteryou.uk.com) into problem areas.
The complaint: chronic inflammation and swelling
The cure: RICE
If you take a stumble mid-run and twist a knee or sprain an ankle, damaged soft tissue around the joint can become inflamed and swollen. One of the most important acronyms to remember in this situation is RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. What does this mean? That you should stop running and rest straight away. Then ice the inflamed area as soon as possible, wrap it with a compression bandage and elevate it above heart level. To make this four-step task a lot easier, try using a Physicool bandage (£9.99, Boots). Combining compression and cooling, you simply wrap the reusable bandage around your injured joint for quick relief and a speedy recovery.
The complaint: shin splints and other overuse injuries
The cure: sports massage therapy
A sports massage before or after a run will help ease muscle tightness, as well as help you recover from or avoid suffering from overuse injuries like shin splints, according to David Roberts, founder of David Roberts Physiotherapy (www.davidrobertsphysio.co.uk) and head of sports medicine at Lancashire County Cricket Club. A good sports massage will also improve blood flow and nutrient delivery to your muscles, as well as clear out waste products and break down scar tissue. But the trick is to view sports massage therapy as a part of your training schedule, not as a treat!
The complaint: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
The cure: lavender oil
Lavender’s dried purple flowers and essential oil are pleasing to the senses and a godsend for sore limbs! Thanks to its analgesic and antispasmodic properties, lavender can be applied to the skin to remedy almost any pain. However, it’s best used after a long run to soothe tired muscles and achy joints. Simply apply a few drops of Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil (£37, Space NK) to the area of muscular discomfort before showering, or add a capful to bath water for soothing relief. Bliss.
The complaint: plantar fasciitis and runner's knee
The cure: acupuncture
Involving inserting fine needles into acupuncture points on the skin, this therapy is reported to help those with plantar fasciitis, knee pain and lower back soreness. According to Paul Blacker, of the British Acupuncture Council, many people use this ancient Chinese practice to help prevent injuries because it can help reduce the inflammatory process, promote circulation and increase the body’s healing capabilities. To find a practitioner in your area, visit www.acupuncture.org.uk.
Disclaimer:The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not substitute a diagnosis and treatment plan from a medical professional. Before trying any natural remedy, please seek advice from a health care professional.