woman holding leg pulled muscle with caption

15 Home Remedies for Relieving a Pulled Muscle

A pulled muscle, depending on which part of the body it is located, can be painfully irritating or completely debilitating. Finding relief for a pulled muscle can make an enormous difference in restoring your daily routine. Before we look at 15 home remedies for relieving a pulled muscle, let’s consider their causes.

Pulled muscles occur when muscles are suddenly and unexpectedly torn. They are often a result of muscle fatigue, overuse or improper use. They most often occur when muscles are cold and stiff. Some of the ways that muscles are pulled include:

  • Running or jumping when you are not properly warmed up.
  • Slipping or losing your footing.
  • Throwing something.
  • Lifting something too heavy or being in an awkward position when lifting.

Pulled muscles can occur anywhere in the body, but are most common to the neck, shoulder, arm, lower back and hamstring muscles. A pulled muscle can also be the result of a repetitive movement or from poor posture.

These home remedies can relieve a pulled muscle, but they are not all inclusive. In cases where a pulled muscle has become too severe for you to function normally, you might need to consult a health care professional.

15 Home Remedies for Relieving a Pulled Muscle

Rest Your Muscles

Pain from an injury, like a pulled muscle, is not something that you bear with gritted teeth. Resting your muscles from repetitive movements or stress is one of the first steps in relief.

What to do:

  • Your body gives you signals about its proper functioning. Listen to it.
  • Distinguish the difference between fatigue and a muscle injury.
  • Slow down, rest, alter your daily routine and allow your pulled muscles to heal.

How it works:
When you decrease stress, you decrease the inflammation and pain. Additionally, you avoid the risk an injury that is more serious.

woman stretching on a hill

Movement and Stretching

To prevent a pulled muscle, it is best to warm up and stretch, but it is equally important to avoid allowing pulled muscles to become too stiff after an injury.

What to do:

  • Try to move the affected area several times during the day without stressing or straining.
  • Learn different types of stretching exercises for the affected area and gently stretch those areas when you awaken in the morning and when you go to bed at night.

How it works:
Motionless muscles become stiff and more painful. By gently moving and stretching the affected muscles, you can enhance circulation and healing.

Ice

One of our best friends for treating a pulled muscle is ice.

What to do:

  • Use a paper cup to freeze water.
  • Rub the ice on the affected area tearing off portions of the paper cup to reveal more ice as you go.
  • Use ice as long as the affected area is inflamed.

How it works:
The most well known method of reducing inflammation and pain is the use of ice, which slows the histamine responsible for inflammation.

Black Strap Molasses

Black strap molasses seems like a rather odd choice for relieving a pulled muscle, but it does help.

What to do:

  • Mix 1/4 cup of black strap molasses, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and a half cup of honey, plus ½ tsp of ginger.
  • Add enough water to the above ingredients to make a half gallon of this drink.
  • Refrigerate and drink t twice a day for a week.

How it works:
Black strap molasses is high in calcium and potassium. Both of these minerals help maintain and encourage healing of bones, joints and muscles.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is something of a wonder when it comes to home remedies and it is easily added to a list for pulled muscle relief.

What to do:

  • As a soak: add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub full of hot water. Soak once daily for a few days or until your muscle pain subsides.
  • Additionally, you can drink 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of warm water daily for a week. Add a little honey if necessary for taste.

How it works:
Pain and inflammation are reduced via the alkalizing properties of apple cider vinegar.

Clove Oil

Clove oil is another home remedy for relieving a muscle pull.

What to do:

  • Warm 2 Tbsp of clove oil enough so it doesn’t burn you.
  • Massage the oil into the affected area for several minutes.
  • Repeat this treatment 2 to 3 times daily.

How it works:
Clove oil has powerful anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce pain and swelling.

garlic cloves

Garlic

Garlic is a powerful household item that is found in every kitchen. Believe it or not, it can help bring relief to a pulled muscle.

What to do:

  • Brown 10 garlic cloves in 2 Tbsp of coconut or sesame oil.
  • Strain out the garlic and retain the oil in a bowl.
  • Allow the oil to cool enough so it doesn’t burn you and then massage it into the affected area.
  • Let the oil stand for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
  • Repeat daily.

How it works:
Garlic has natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds that help relieve pain and swelling as well.

Cayenne Pepper

Another common ingredient, which is found in most kitchens and is great for pulled muscle relief, is cayenne pepper.

What to do:

  • To a teaspoon of warm olive oil add ½ tsp of cayenne pepper powder.
  • Rub the oil into the affected area.
  • Repeat this treatment 2 or 3 times a day.

How it works:
The soothing relief that comes from the capsaicin in cayenne pepper is its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties going to work on your sore muscles.

Tart Cherry Juice

This remedy might seem a little bit odd, but it has actual research from Oregon University Health Sciences division to back up its effectiveness in bringing relief to a pulled muscle.

What to do:

  • Tart cherry juice comes in both fresh and frozen form.
  • Make certain that you opt for 100% pure cherries without added sweeteners for best results.
  • Drink a glass daily until all pain and inflammation is gone.

How it works:
Tart cherries are abundant in anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants which help speed the healing of a pulled muscle.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used in two different ways when it comes to bringing relief to a pulled muscle.

What to do:

  • You can use a Tablespoon of coconut oil as massage oil or carrier oil for other remedies like garlic, cayenne pepper or turmeric. Apply to the affected area topically.
  • Consuming coconut oil as a part of your daily diet is also a good way to speed its healing properties into your body.

How it works:
The vitamin E and lauric and capric acids in coconut oil are antiseptic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory in nature.

Massage

You can bring relief to a pulled muscle through massage as well.

What to do:

  • A professional massage therapist is a great option, but in lieu of one, you can do it yourself or have a family member give you a massage.
  • Make use of one of the oils mentioned above to lubricate you palms.
  • Massage the affected area without applying pressure for a minimum of five minutes.
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.

How it works:
Massage helps promote blood circulation in the injured area, which slows inflammation, reduces pain and promotes healing.

Epsom Salt

Another great remedy for soothing the pain and inflammation of a pulled muscle is Epsom salt.

What to do:

  • Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom salt in a warm tub of water.
  • Soak in the tub for at least 30 minutes.
  • Repeat this treatment 3 or 4 times a week.

How it works:
Epsom salt contains a high concentration of magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant. Additionally, the salt draws out excess fluids in the tissue surrounding the affected area to reduce swelling.

Pineapple

No list of pulled muscle relief would be complete without the tasty addition of pineapple.

What to do:

  • As a part of your daily diet eat or drink natural, sugarless, pineapple or pineapple juice or make your own juice.
  • You can even boil the pineapple husks of a fresh pineapple, boil them for 45 minutes to an hour and then puree them for making juice.

How it works:
Pineapples contain an easily absorbed enzyme, which helps reduce inflammation and pain, called bromelain.

Turmeric

Ginger’s first cousin and a powerful remedy found in most kitchens, turmeric, is a great alternative to prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

What to do:

  • Take it in capsule form, drink it as a tea or use it to spice up your meals.
  • You can also mix a paste of coconut oil, black pepper and turmeric to massage into the affected muscles for direct relief.

How it works:
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving compounds found in turmeric are equally effective as ibuprofen according to scientific research.

citrus fruits in a basket

Vitamin C

Scientific research has found that vitamin C in highly effective at aiding all sorts of bodily functions, bringing relief to a pulled muscle is just one of them.

What to do:

  • Increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin C. Bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas are all great sources.
  • Consider adding a vitamin C supplement to your daily regimen at a dosage of up to 1,000 mg daily.

How it works:
Vitamin C boosts the production of collagen in the bloodstream. Collagen helps in the repair of tissues and blood vessels, which increase your body’s ability to heal from a pulled muscle.

How to Know if You Pulled a Muscle

I remember it like it was yesterday. I sat up and felt a pain so sharp in my shoulder that it hurt to even slightly move it. I recalled all the physical activity I took part in the day before, but could not think of anything out of the ordinary that would cause such a pain. Over the next few days, I was forced to rest. There is no other option. As you can see in this article, resting is one of the best things you can do for a pulled muscle.

But do you want to know what the craziest part of all this was? I did not even realize I had pulled the muscle until months later at the doctor. They symptoms of pulled muscles are sometimes hard to pinpoint, and we can easily mistake the pain for other ailments, or be terrified that they lead to something much worse! 

1. By Going to the Doctor

This is an obvious one. Get to the doctor! Don’t be like me and struggle in pain without any solutions or help. In actuality, going to the doctor is good because they can do tests to tell if there is worse damage than just the sprain, such as tearing. Sometimes people even need casts for sprains, so don’t take this lightly! If you are not one to run to the doctor after you get hurt, that is understandable. But if you find that the pain is not going away, it’s time to get it checked out!

2. Pain without Motion

It is a normal assumption that if you are not moving your painful limb, it will not be in pain. But this is not true with a pulled muscle! It is very likely that it will indeed hurt when it is not in motion. This is not a good sign at all, and can be a very hard thing to cope with because it is difficult to rest when you cannot find relief, even in resting. 

3. Swelling, Pink Skin, Bruises

Any of these symptoms are great indicators. They point to a bigger problem, one that is calling out to be noticed and taken care of. 

4. Weakness in Muscle Area

Pulling a muscle can be a good sign that you have overused and overworked muscles. When you pull it in this case, it is almost like the muscle has given out. Pay attention to weakness in the area, as it may be the only sign. This is not fatigue you’re going to want to push through!

5. Useless Muscles 

One of the biggest indicators of a pulled muscle is not being able to use it! When it gives you, it may end up just not “working” at all. This is a sad thing, but it may be exactly what you need to stop pushing you body to its limits when it cannot go any further! Remember, pain is a signal that points to something bigger that needs to be tended to.

A Final Word

A pulled muscle can be painfully irritating or completely debilitating, depending upon where it’s located. To get the quickest relief, avoid further injury and get back to your regular routine without pain, follow any one or combination of these 15 remedies. If you have others or can testify to the benefits of those on this list, please comment below.

Images from depositphotos.com and pixabay.com.

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