Many of you have likely taken a prescription muscle relaxer to combat muscle spasms or tightness and pain associated with backaches, headaches, or fibromyalgia. The problem with typical muscle relaxers, whether prescription or over-the-counter, is they simply shut off communication between your nervous system and brain so you don’t feel pain.

These relaxers don’t treat the pain at its source, and they come with some pretty nasty side effects: brain fog, drowsiness, returning pain, and nausea, and more. So why take a prescription or over-the-counter drug to ease pain, when there are so many natural options available?

evening primrose oil, flowers and a bottle, isolated on white

Check out our list of the 5 best natural muscle relaxers:

1. Chiropractic AdjustmentsAccording to research from the College of Chiropractic at Life University in Georgia, chiropractic techniques can be even more effective at reducing pain than muscle relaxers! Chiropractors focus on correcting subluxations in the spine, returning it to its natural alignment. When the spine is in proper alignment, it alleviates pain and allows your body to heal.

2. MassageA licensed massage therapist can work on your area of concern, as well as your entire body, relieving tension and pain. A 2011 clinical study involving cancer patients out of Taiwan researched the effects of massage therapy on muscle pain and relaxation. It found that massage improved bone and muscle pain. If you’re having chronic muscle spasms or pain, try getting a massage at least once a month.

3. Avoid “pain foods.” Certain foods are known to trigger pain and inflammation in the body. Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, and eating excess calories in order to reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate muscle and joint pain.

4. Arnica oil. Arnica oil is available in the form of oil, cream, ointment, liniment, or salve, and is used for various inflammatory and athletic injuries. Topical application of arnica oil has been proven to reduce pain often associated with inflammation and muscle damage.

5. Keep moving. While it’s important to avoid any movements that may have triggered your pain, resist sitting down for extended periods of time and try to keep your blood flowing. This lets the muscles stay loose!

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