Two days ago I hiked my most challenging hike so far, the Ben Tyler Trail. Yesterday I woke up and felt surprisingly good and thought that my weeks of hikes had built me up to the point of being able to do a hike like that without much pain. I even got a little full of myself and took a nice little walk around town. Then last night my legs started to feel a little stiff but I thought a good nights sleep would help.
Then apparently while I was sleeping I rented a steam roller and had it drive back and forth over my legs 10 times…all while asleep because I don’t remember it. Getting out of bed was a lost cause at this point. I knew I would be a little sore from the hike but I wasn’t expecting to feel individual toes crying. I learned that what I was experiencing is called D.O.M.S in the medical world. D.O.M.S stands for delayed onset muscle soreness and is a fancy way of saying you exerted yourself and your body hates you. In non medical terms it is known as O.W.N.E.S. or Ouch, Wow, Nope, Expletive of choice, Snooze button. (I can’t confirm that is official but its what I did this morning.
When I finally found the courage to literally crawl out of bed and got as far as the bedroom floor I figured I had a couple of options. I could lay on the floor forever. This was getting 95% of the vote from my lower extremity muscles. The next option was to rub dirt on it, which as every young boy knows is successful at curing most ails but my bedroom had a limited amount of high quality to dirt so that was out. Option 3 was the one I least liked but seemed most practical. So through gritted teeth I lumbered towards my local drug store. Despite being in Colorado it was a traditional drug store.
My tear filled eyes struggled to focus on what might be my best cure. Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, icy hot, Nasonex, Pepto, Nyquil, Motrin. There are so many options in these aisles and it can get confusing. Luckily I didn’t feel like moving so grabbed what was closest, Epsom Salts. Why Epsom Salts you may ask? Well, the salt reminded me of popcorn, popcorn reminded me I was “hangry” which reminded me my legs hurt. Makes perfect sense.
So I got the Salts and made it back home. The instructions on the bag said to add 2 cups to a bath. I’m not a bath person and this is the first bath I had taken in 8 years since moving here so that added a degree of difficulty but I was sure I could figure it out. I dumped the salt in the tub and turned the water on hot and made some microwave popcorn because…Fatman.
Now its time to hit you with some science about a bath with salts. Water displacement is still a thing!!! Maybe I thought I would float on top or underestimated how much mass would be doing the displacing but there are a lot of towels in my dryer either way. The science of the salt part is cool as well. Epsom salts are technically Magnesium Sulfate and were found in the town of Epsom in England in the 1600’s. They have been used to cure many maladies but is often used to relieve sore muscles or as a detoxing agent. I did get a little concerned while researching on my phone in the bath about Epsom Salts that it is sometimes even used as a laxative. Slow acting I silently hoped.
So I took my bath and ate my popcorn. When I got out I will admit that the soreness did seem to leave my legs. The muscles are still stiff but not nearly as sore and I would say that a rough estimate would be that the bath reduced the pain in my legs by 36.73% give or take. Now I am not sure if the salts actually did anything or it was just soaking in a hot water tub for 20 minutes that reduced some of my pain. It does feel like a more natural way of temporarily relieving symptoms than taking one of the many many pain reducing drugs that are out there. I think that, while I wouldn’t take a daily bath in Epsom Salts, on some of the really bad recovery days it might be something that I try more often as I definitely felt better after getting out of the tub. You should also check with a doctor to see if Epsom Salts are right for you.
If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added an interactive map of all the hikes and restaurants that you can find here.