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Muscle and joint Pain
Many people consulting their doctors do so because of pain. Sometimes there is an underlying illness or disease, but often it is just joint pain. You will hear words like ‘fibromyalgia’, which is a defined rheumatological condition. There are many health conditions that also result in joint pain, so it is important to have a GP and not neglect awareness of any deterioration of health.
However, many conditions are purely mechanical joint pain — often back and neck pain, but also other joints, shoulder, knee, etc. This is where physical therapy, Acupuncture and Osteopathy can bring a great deal of relief, not just as palliative treatment, but by addressing the underlying issues of muscle imbalance and poor posture.
Heat & Ice
If your joint pain is the result of a very recent injury and there is still swelling, then ice or cold is usually best. Long term pain (more than one week) does not respond well to ice, and heat may be best. Do not apply heat for more than 10 – 20 minutes, as the blood must also circulate and disperse again.
An Epsom salts bath can be very helpful for muscle and joint pain — particularly more long-term (chronic) muscle pain. Muscles like heat, which brings blood to the area. The magnesium in the Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) acts as a muscle relaxant, and the salts also helps to draw out toxins and impurities.
Use a cupful (or handful) in your bath, perhaps showering first, then soaking in the bath for 15–20 minutes. For some individuals (people with any irritable bowel tendency) this can have a laxative effect — due to the muscle relaxant properties of the Epsom salts. However, for other people (who may take Codeine, which tends to make one more constipated) any laxative effect from the Epsom salts could be helpful here.
Perhaps the best time to take an Epsom salts bath is in the evening, or before sleeping. The magnesium in the Epsom salts also helps with sleep and relaxation.
See the chapter on Epsom salts for more information.
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