Copper, like many other metals, is naturally found within the human body, and it performs a variety of functions. While the University of Maryland Medical Center says a true copper deficit is rare, lack of copper can lead to skin pigment issues, irregular heartbeat, osteoporosis, anemia and a low body temperature.
The health benefits of copper still aren’t fully understood by medical science, but exterior use of copper, such as in wraps, gels and creams, are proving useful for individuals who experience joint pain.
Copper helps your body regulate numerous functions, produce energy and absorb iron more efficiently. Without the right amount of copper, your body may struggle to produce red blood cells, and the mineral plays an important role in forming collagen. Collagen is essential to the health of bones and connective tissues, so you can see how copper promotes joint health and functionality. Copper might also help with post-workout muscle pain.
While scientists are still trying to determine the full role of copper in the body, there’s some evidence that it slows bone loss rates in older women and potentially reduces symptoms associated with conditions such as arthritis.
One of the reasons a complete copper deficiency is so rare is that the mineral is readily found in so many foods. Even some forms of chocolate have copper, for example.
The health benefits of copper have made it a popular product in various products throughout the years. Several decades ago, copper bracelets became popular with individuals who wanted to reduce pain or other symptoms associated with arthritis, particularly in the hands and wrists.
While anecdotal evidence seemed to indicate that these copper products provided some benefit, medical studies didn’t always back up those conclusions.
One reason that copper bracelets may not have worked consistently is because they weren’t imparting enough copper to the body. That’s why a copper cream or gel provides better results. The copper is absorbed by the skin, entering the body, where it can provide all of the benefits above. In a cream or gel form, copper can also be combined with other active ingredients to deliver rapid pain relief to joints and muscles.
According to information published by the National Institutes of Health, copper is “involved in numerous physiological and metabolic processes critical for the appropriate functioning of almost all tissues in the human body.” And scientists are still discovering new ways copper can be used to promote health and reduce pain.
Oral pain medications are not always the best solutions for pain management
Men’s Health reports that a survey from the US Pain Foundation that more than 90 percent of Americans use over-the-counter (OTC) oral medications to manage pain. The problem with and the danger from these pain relievers is that they’re so convenient that we tend to reach for them for any kind of pain instead of reserving them for situations where they’ll do the most good.
There are better ways than stretching to manage pain from muscle soreness
Evidence suggests that stretching offers little or no relief for muscle pain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviewed 12 studies, concluding that stretching, whether conducted before, after, or before and after exercise, does not produce clinically important reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness in healthy adults. Another study by USA Track & Field concluded that stretching offers no protection from injury to runners during routine training, either.
7 tips to manage pain before exercise
Sore muscles are good. They’re a sign of improvement; that you’ve pushed yourself physically — and mentally. It can also be a false roadblock.
However painful it may be, muscle soreness, typically shouldn’t prevent you from working out.