A sedentary lifestyle and long work hours may cause muscle aches and spasms, affecting anyone, anytime, and in any part of the body.

Instead of resorting to painkillers, you can try natural muscle relaxers or home remedies for muscle relaxation to ease sudden involuntary strain, tightness, or bulging in a muscle.

In this article, we shall understand the various causes of muscle spasms and soreness and look at a few natural muscle relaxers that can help you relieve the pain effectively.

What Causes Muscle Spasms?

Muscle spasms most commonly affect the neck, shoulder, and back regions due to poor stance and posture. However, you can experience muscle spasms in any part of the body like hands, feet, calves, hamstrings, abdomen, etc.

These limit your range of movement and can cause mild discomfort or intense pain. Muscle spasms, cramps, and soreness can occur due to any one or a combination of the following reasons:

  • Prolonged strenuous physical activity or heavy exercises
  • Wrong sitting posture during long work hours might lead to back, shoulder, or neck pain.
  • Incorrect sleep positions or walking posture
  • Uterine contractions during menstruation
  • Rapid weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle might make your muscles more prone to stiffness, spasms, and cramps.
  • Sudden twists, bumps, or falls
  • Nutrient deficiencies like a lack of vitamin D, magnesium, or protein
  • Chronic joint muscle pain caused by underlying conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and similar health conditions
  • Rarely, spasmodic muscles could be due to certain chronic health conditions like muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or McArdle’s disease.

While reaching out for prescribed painkillers or OTC pain relief ointments might be your first instinct when in pain, you can opt for natural muscle relaxers or natural remedies for muscle tension.

There is an assortment of herbs and plant extracts that can help relax your muscles and relieve the pain and soreness. We have rounded off a list of natural muscle relaxers to help you choose the most suitable option in times of need.

9 Natural Muscle Relaxers for Pain Relief

1. Chamomile

Chamomile, an herbal muscle relaxer, is a therapeutic herb rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It may help manage various issues, including insomnia, muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, hay fever, cold, and flu.

Massaging chamomile essential oil onto the affected muscles helps improve blood circulation and provides relief from spasms. You may drink chamomile tea to relax the stiff and sore muscles. Chamomile tea’s anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties help reduce menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome.

Tip: To prepare chamomile tea, steep 3 teaspoons of the dried herb in hot water for a minute and strain the liquid. You can add a dollop of honey for taste.

2. Cherry Juice and Extracts

Cherries are loaded with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help relax muscles and reduce muscle damage and soreness. A study showed that tart cherry juice and extracts could help athletes and marathon runners relieve muscle sprains and injuries. In addition, cherry juice helps reduce muscle damage and aids in faster recovery.

3. Blueberries

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenols that help relax muscles and boost recovery after exercise. Supplementing your diet with blueberries may help improve your exercise performance and decrease inflammatory markers.

A pre-and post-workout blueberry smoothie meal can aid in faster recovery from any muscle damage. Blueberries might also help ease chronic muscle pain and inflammation associated with osteoporosis and help improve posture and mobility in the elderly.

4. Cayenne Pepper

Capsaicin is naturally found in the pith (fleshy part) of cayenne pepper. This natural muscle relaxant may help relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia (a type of muscle pain disorder).

While you can include cayenne pepper in various dishes, you can also find cayenne pepper extracts in capsules and creams. Research suggests that applying capsaicin cream to the affected areas may relieve muscle spasms and soreness.

5. Pomegranate Juice

Consuming pomegranate juice is another healthy way to relieve muscle soreness. A study on weight-lifters found that drinking pomegranate juice reduced muscle damage and helped in recovery.

Another study reported the beneficial effects of pomegranate juice on increasing strength and reducing soreness of elbow flexor muscles.

6. Peppermint

Menthol, the primary compound in peppermint, is known for its analgesic properties and is widely used in many pain relief medications. Peppermint has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that help your muscles relax during contractions.

You can use peppermint in two ways:

  • Peppermint Tea: A 2018 review found that consuming peppermint tea infusions could relieve pain. You can make peppermint tea by adding a few leaves of mint to boiling water.
  • Peppermint Oil Massage: Research found that the topical use of peppermint oil for sprains could provide a cooling effect, relieve pain, and promote muscular relaxation.

7. Rosemary

This herb helps relax muscles and heals joint pain. It is also highly effective in relieving menstrual cramps.

You can use rosemary in the following ways:

  • Rosemary Bath: Soak in a warm water bath infused with rosemary leaves.
  • Rosemary Essential Oil: Massage the affected area with diluted rosemary essential oil to relieve body aches and relax the sore muscles.

8. Lavender

Lavender essential oil is known for its calming and relaxing effects. It is also effective as a natural muscle relaxer and can help alleviate symptoms of sore muscles, knee pain, and menstrual cramps.

A relaxing massage with lavender essential oil followed by a warm shower enhances blood circulation and helps ease the sore muscles, allowing them to relax.

9. Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

Most essential oils are known for their soothing and relaxing properties. They help ease muscle tension and effectively relieve muscle pain. Aromatherapy utilizes the benefits of these essential oils to help soothe your muscles and alleviate pain.

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Other than the peppermint, lavender, and rosemary oils discussed above, other essential oils for muscle relaxation and effective pain relief include lemongrass oil, frankincense oil, and cypress oil.

Note: Always dilute the essential oils before application. You may add a drop of the essential oil to a teaspoon of any carrier oil (like almond, coconut, or jojoba oils). Follow this dilution method to combine massage oils.

Diet Modifications for Muscle Relaxation

  • Vitamin D: Regular muscle spasms and pain might signify vitamin D deficiency. It is most commonly seen in women and people who don’t get enough sunlight. Natural sources of getting vitamin D include sunlight and foods like fish, eggs, and milk. Other than these, you can also consult a doctor and take vitamin D supplements.
  • Protein: Adequate protein intake may help reduce muscle damage and exercise-induced inflammation. A review evaluating exercise-induced muscle damage in women found that consuming supplements with whey and casein, two types of protein, reduced muscle damage. In another study, marathon runners who took protein supplements reported reduced muscle soreness 72 hours after the marathon compared to those who did not.
  • Magnesium: A magnesium deficiency might manifest as muscular pain and spasms. You can help reduce the frequency of these pains and cramps by supplementing your diet with magnesium-rich foods like almonds, bananas, brown rice, spinach, black beans, edamame, and legumes. Bathing in warm water infused with magnesium-rich Epsom salt is another natural way to help relax your muscles and relieve soreness and pain.

Homemade Muscle Relaxant Recipe

What You Need

  • 1/2 cup of any carrier oil (coconut, olive, or jojoba oil)
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Method

  • Pour the carrier oil into a clean, dry glass bottle.
  • Add in the 10 drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Then, mix in the 10 drops of peppermint essential oil for its cooling properties.
  • Now, add in the 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
  • Seal the glass bottle and shake it gently to mix the oils thoroughly.
  • Apply a small amount of the homemade muscle relaxant oil to the affected area and gently massage it into the skin. The combination of essential oils may help relax tense muscles.

While muscle spasms are agonizing and affect mobility, you can soothe the sore muscles and help them relax with the help of several other methods.