Muscle strains and pulls are a big concern for many. These things can occur at work, or even while working in your own back yard. I’ve even known people to pull muscles in exercising, or in simply stepping or moving the wrong way. I myself have awoken on those “I slept on it wrong” mornings to a stiff neck or back.
As to remedies for pulled and sore muscles, the best thing in the world I have found for that is arnica. It is a common pretty yellow flower, found at most herb stores and apothecaries, and sometimes even found in the international herbs and spices section in some grocery stores. All you would need do in this case is make a tea with it, and apply in a compress to the sore areas as needed for a while. You can do this while you relax, work (if yours is a “desk job”), or even while sleeping.
Sometimes you can even find it in groceries or drug stores in a cream, and these are usually very good as well. You would simply apply this as needed, and go about your business. You can make your own arnica cream or even an oil rub, however. There are several ways in which to do this. They range from the quick and easy to the more complex, yet more concentrated.
A quick easy muscle cream
A simple way to quickly find pain relief for sore muscles starts with a very strong infusion (tea) made with arnica. You would then combine and stir this thoroughly with a favorite cream you have on hand. Some good choices would be Vaseline, castor oil cream, or if you prefer fragrances, even your favorite variety of any body cream will do.
A more concentrated version
A bit more complex version of this would involve using one or more of the above creams and 1/2 to 1 cup of arnica herb. I also like to add a bit of paraffin or beeswax to make a firmer cream or ointment, but this is optional. If you do use wax. this will need to be done in a double boiler to melt the wax, but that is the only difference.
Otherwise, you would simple bring the arnica and your chosen cream to a boil in a regular pot, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly as you do so. This then needs to be allowed to cool, but not completely, then strained through cheesecloth, a jelly bag, or some other mesh like material, such as muslin or chiffon. Strain into an airtight container, and store in a cool dark place until needed.
An oil for massaging sore muscles
This is my favorite, by far. For some reason, the oils allow the arnica to soak into the skin better and deeper. It seems to act much more quickly because of this, but it takes a week or two to prepare.
All you need is a large quantity of arnica herb (a cup full should do), enough of any carrier oil you choose (I like safflower or olive oil) to thoroughly cover and saturate the herb, an airtight jar to contain the mixture, and a sunny window seal. You simply combine, allow to set in the sun for a week or two, then strain into a separate airtight container, and store in a cool dark place until needed.
A few precautions
Some people can have allergic reactions to arnica. I suggest trying in small amounts before going to the trouble of making your own. Also, arnica should never be taken internally, as it can be toxic.
That being said, any of these preparations can be rubbed or massaged into sore muscles as needed. The relief they give may amaze you, as it seems far more effective and long lasting than conventional muscle rubs found commercially.
Additional Sources: Personal experience, and over 20 years of study and experimentation with herbs and other alternative therapies.