Stiffness is the inability to move freely without pain or inflammation or the loss of range of motion. Stiffness occurs when the muscles or the joints become inflamed. Stiffness and tightness can affect different parts of the body such as the neck, back, legs, knees, ankles, calves or shoulders.
Stiffness may be associated with muscle and joint conditions, including osteoarthritis, arthritis and muscle strain. Many times, it is the result of general wear and tears after exercising. Other possible causes of stiffness are past injuries, obesity, viral infections or an excessive amount of insulin.
If you are stiff and there’s no obvious cause (i.e. you haven’t done vigorous exercise or you haven’t been diagnosed with a muscle or joint condition), you should seek medical advice to find out the reason as it could be an underlying condition. Muscle pain and stiffness from severe injuries or conditions can require medical care. In addition, knowing the exact cause is important to adequately treat or address stiffness.
Home treatment tends to relieve muscle pain caused by minor injuries, stress or exercise. Muscle pain that occurs during an activity is usually the result of a strained muscle. To ease the pain and reduce inflammation, rest you can:
- Place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or bag of frozen vegetables on the sore area for 15-20 minutes a few times a day,
- Use a compression bandage,
- Elevate your foot (it reduces swelling).
Table of Contents
Apart from resting, home remedies to stop struggling with stiffness and pain include:
Drinking lots of water
Drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated and removes the lactic acid buildup in the muscles caused by exercise. To put it simply, it helps relieve inflammation.
If stiffness is due to muscle tightness, a good stretching program can be very helpful. Even if it hurts, stretch gently throughout the day. It can help to warm and stretch the muscles and speeds up healing.
Cold and hot compresses
Apply a cold compress, an ice pack or frozen vegetables in sore areas 3 times a day to relieve inflammation. Keep on using a cold compress for at least 24 hours. Then replace the cold compress for a hot one. Applying heat relaxes the sore muscles. Instead of a hot compress, you can apply a heating pad, a warmed gel pack or a hot water bottle, or simply take a hot bath for at least 20 minutes. Hot therapies also relieve sore joints in cold weather.
Apple cider vinegar
This natural ingredient soothes the aches and pains, relieving sore muscles and leg cramps. There are different remedies with apple cider vinegar:
- Fill your bath with warm water and add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar.
- Drink 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Dilute 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it.
- Rub the vinegar directly on the sore area.
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium sulfate, a natural muscle relaxant, and reduces swelling. Fill your bath with warm water and add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for 15 minutes or until the water has cooled. Is not advisable if you suffer from health conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.
First of all, apply a bit of liniment to your skin to check that it doesn’t hurt you. Then rub some liniment into the sore area. Wrap the area with plastic wrap to increase the heating effect of the liniment.
Massage stimulates blood circulation to an area, which speeds healing. If stiffness is caused by muscle tension or stress, massages can be especially helpful.