Getting enough vitamin D can be tough if you’re not careful. Ideally, it’s best to get around 15 minutes of direct sun-to-skin exposure every day (more time if you have darker skin).
But I know this can be a huge challenge if you live in a cold climate or work indoors. In that case, a high-quality vitamin D supplement is ideal.
I suggest you get a clean vitamin D supplement that doesn’t contain a proprietary blend, is organic, and contains vitamin D3. Just make sure you take it with some healthy fat to ensure your body absorbs it well.
The vitamin D supplement by Vibrant Health meets all of these criteria.
Like magnesium and vitamin D deficiencies, movement is easy to overlook. Because it’s counter-intuitive. When people are in pain, they naturally want to take it easy.
But as long as your pain isn’t severe, you should be involving yourself in some form of exercise or gentle movement. Of course, you want to avoid any movements that may irritate your muscles even further.
Movement is important because when you’re sitting or lying, your muscles are in a shortened state. If you stay in these positions for too long, it can cause your muscles to favor that shortened state—it becomes their new norm.
So when you do want to use those shortened muscles, they will feel tight, painful, and achy.
Studies also suggest that if you’re too sedentary (inactive) that you can experience more inflammation (24). Combined with shortened muscles, this is a surefire way to experience muscle pain and tension. That makes movement a critical aspect of relaxing your muscles. Ideally, movement would be best combined with one of the other muscle relaxers mentioned here.
Here are some suggestions to naturally relax your muscles through movement:
- Try gentle exercise like yoga or Qigong
- If you often sit at a desk for work, use a Pomodoro timer to remind yourself to get up and walk around for a minute.
- If you work out at the gym, hire a trainer to teach you proper technique. This is a huge one for avoiding muscle strain and damage!
- If something is preventing you from more vigorous exercise, take 2-3 short walks a day to keep yourself active.
7. Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Under normal circumstances, inflammation is a healthy response. Your body uses inflammation to protect itself, fight off infections, and speed up healing.
The problem is, many people eat foods that promote chronic inflammation—the bad kind of inflammation.
Chronic inflammation makes your whole body inflamed, including your muscles. The more inflamed your muscles get, the more painful they will be (25). Since inflammation also involves swelling, it can also make the area feel even more tight and stiff.
The Auto-Immune Protocol
This is why you want to avoid pro-inflammatory foods as much as possible. Because they will only make your pain and tension worse. At the same time, want to heal your gut, which is often the source of chronic inflammation.
One of the best ways to do this is to follow what’s called the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP). I’m actually following this diet right now. It’s designed to eliminate all foods that cause inflammation and damage your gut.
I won’t lie, it’s hard to follow. I mean, really hard. But it can, without a doubt, have life changing-effects. It’s totally worth the temporary misery. So if you’re up for the big payoff, here’s what the AIP eliminates from your diet:
- Grains: wheat, rice, corn, millet, amaranth, etc.
- Legumes: beans, hummus, peanuts, peas, etc.
- Dairy: this even includes raw or fermented dairy
- Nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, paprika, etc.
- Processed Oils: canola oil, soybean oil, “vegetable” oil
- Processed foods: anything that comes in a package or can.
- Alcohol: this one is really important!
- NSAIDs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Sugar and starches: Any added sugars should be avoided. This includes fruit juice.
Note: the AIP diet is best for those who experience chronic muscle pain as opposed to muscle pain caused by a single event like a fall or lifting something improperly.
Physical Release Methods
When combined with natural muscle relaxants, certain physical release methods can provide huge results.
As such, these methods should not be overlooked when you’re looking to find relief.
Physical release methods often include chiropractic adjustments, trigger point therapy, physical therapy, and even foam rolling. All of which can create long-lasting muscle relaxation and relief.
What’ more important than anything mentioned here is that you take measures to prevent your muscle tension, pain, or spasms from coming back. Otherwise, you will be stuck taking natural muscle relaxers for the rest of your life.
Here are some of the best preventative measures you can take:
- Fix Your Posture: If you have bad posture while sitting, looking at your phone, or with anything else you do repetitively, it could result in significant muscle tension and pain. It’s important to identify your daily repetitive tasks and talk with a medical professional about improving your posture.
- Drink Water: Dehydration can have unexpected negative effects. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day. That means you should be drinking 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh.
- Avoid Alcohol & Caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you and cause you to lose electrolytes (including magnesium). And magnesium, as you now know, can lead to muscle spasms and tension.
- Control Your Stress: When people get stressed, they tend to tighten their muscles. So if you’re often stressed out, you definitely want to learn some stress reduction techniques.
The Bottom Line
Muscle pain and tension is a plague of modern day living. It can make any task seem like a huge chore.
To manage the pain, doctors will often prescribe muscle relaxers. But they come with an undesirable list of side effects. Many people also don’t like them because they can make you feel “loopy” or high. They relax your muscles at the cost of making you incapable of doing anything else.
That’s why there’s a huge demand for natural muscle relaxers that don’t have these negative side effects.