Now that we’re finally getting a break from summer’s heat and humidity, fall tasks, such as apple picking or yard work, may be leaving you stiff and sore. It’s tempting to race around trying to finally cross everything off your to-do list, but Yale University researchers say you’ll cut your risk of fall pain flares by 55 percent if you also make time to rest and relax. Additionally, we’ve sourced a few natural pain relief tips from physiologist Hal Zieba, Ph.D., and Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D., author of The Ageless Woman ($19.95, Amazon), to have you feeling back to your old self in no time.
Neck ache? Do a Simple Stretch
UCLA researchers say taking 30 seconds each hour to stretch your neck can quickly ease the ache in your neck, be it from yard work or computer time, plus cut your risk of future flare-ups by 67 percent. Simply drop your chin to your chest slowly, then look up at the ceiling. Next, turn your head to look over your right shoulder, then your left. Repeat four times.
Stiff joints? Try Curcumin
Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, is a centuries-old joint-pain reliever. In concentrated extract form, Cornell University researchers say it cuts stiffness by 73 percent, making it an even better option than some prescription pain medications. “This extract calms pain nerves and encourages joint healing,” explains Lonsdorf. Want to give it a go? Try Life Extension Curcumin Elite Turmeric Extract ($19.44, Amazon). Note: Be sure to ask your doctor before introducing supplements to your diet.
You can also simply get out and get moving! Studies show that taking a 10-minute morning stroll can flush out trapped fluids and inflammation, plus prompt your brain to release pain-killing serotonin, reducing your pain by as much as 85 percent.
Head hurt? Squeeze Your Toes
Strange but true: A 10-minute foot massage will give you better pain relief than rubbing your temples, says Zieba. That’s because foot massages slashes the production of the pain-triggering hormone cortisol, cutting headache pain in half within minutes. This simple remedy will also prevent future flare-ups for 84 percent of women who treat their feet daily, Canadian researchers say.
Back sore? Incorporate Clary Sage
Ingredients in clary sage relax tight muscles, calm irritated pain nerves, and boost blood flow to damaged tissues. British researchers say that massaging this essential oil into an achy back or adding it to a warm bath can soothe pain in this area in just two minutes, plus speed recovery time by 33 percent!
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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