Dear Pharmacist, I moved some furniture last weekend and my muscles are still sore. This happens every time I exert myself, even from walking around the block. My muscles aren’t as resilient as in years past. What can I do or take? –M.J. Decatur, Illinois
Answer: Regular muscle pain is fairly easy to remedy. If it were me, I’d take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties relieve fatigued muscles. I might also take ibuprofen, or natural Zyflamend by New Chapter whichever I could find first.
The pharmacist in me wants to share some OTC products that can help temporarily. Let’s talk about them and how they work:
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication: The three most popular options here are acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). These reduce inflammation within an hour or two. I recommend you take these with food. Keep in mind, acetaminophen is harder on the liver, while ibuprofen and naproxen affect the stomach and intestines more so ask the pharmacist which is better for you. Natural anti-inflammatories won’t work as quickly; these include omega 3 fish oils, krill oil and bromelain (from pineapples).
Ben Gay Moist Heat Therapy Pads: These non-medicated, odorless pads are air-activated and they get nice and toasty on your skin, very similar to the moist heat of a shower. They help ease muscle/joint aches or pain associated with PMS, overexertion and strains for up to eight hours.
Icy Hot Medicated Patches: Menthol usually comes in cream form, but these patches contain menthol in a patch which causes a unique sensation on the skin for up to 8 hours.
Kink-Eaze: Formulated by a pain-specialist, David S. Klein M.D., this contains menthol and 10 times the amount of MSM found in other products. It could help improve flexibility, relieve muscle spasms, minor joint pain, achy muscles and knee pain because the MSM goes through right the skin. Available at www.stages-of-life.com
Capsaicin: It’s the active ingredient in chili pepper and you can buy it at pharmacies nationwide. I suggest the patches or roll-on for ease. These work fabulously with repeated applications.
Do you suffer with chronic muscle soreness? If so, look in your medicine cabinet. Statin cholesterol drugs and blood pressure pills are well-known culprits to cause muscle pain. The remedy for drug-induced myopathy of this sort is Coenzyme Q10, see my Drug Mugger book for more.
People who have mercury overload, or chronic fatigue syndrome have poor mitochondrial function and may benefit from apple extract called “malic acid.” This substance jumps right into your Krebs cycle to help your mitochondria. Long story short, with malic acid supplementation, you produce energy and relieve tenderness. I think it could help fibromyalgia, especially when combined with magnesium, whey (or hemp) protein, or creatine.
Did You Know? Corticosteroids are drug muggers of calcium, you may need to supplement if you take these medications long-term.