Muscle and joint pain can seriously impact your quality of life. One minute you’re playing outside with your dog or going for a run around the lake, and the next minute you’re glued to the couch with severe aches and pains.
You’ll try just about anything to get relief, but you’re not sure what solutions are right for you. There are hundreds of pain solutions on the market, from prescription to over the counter and from topicals to orals. So how do you know which one is right for you and your pain?
In most cases, you’ll want to start with a topical pain rub. These are not only the most basic form of pain relief, but they’re also one of the most cost-effective and the least risky alternative.
What are the benefits of using a topical pain rub over other forms of pain relievers?
What are topical pain relievers?
“Topical” pain relievers are anything that you apply to the outside of the body, as opposed to consuming medication orally. For pain, this can include the basics like ice and hot compresses as well as pain relief gels, sprays, and creams.
There are usually two types of topicals: hot and cold. The hot rubs usually contain capsaicin, which is a chili extract that gives it that spicy, tingly feeling. The cold rubs usually contain menthol, which is derived from peppermint, eucalyptus, and pennyroyal.
Cold and hot are both effective pain methods, though researchers are still trying to figure out exactly why. We think extreme temperatures work well because they help to “turn off” or numb the nerve endings, which stops pain signals from traveling to the brain. If your brain can’t talk with that part of the body, it won’t cause you to feel pain.
Is heat or cold better?
This is a question we often get asked: should I apply heat or cold? The answer is, in short, both! Both heat and cold can help reduce inflammation. Heat with blood circulation and loosening muscles, while cold helps constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling.
A great thing you can do for pain is to alternate between hot and cold. This mixture of both hot and cold actually helps “confuse” the nerve endings and encourages a faster healing time.
If you’ve been dealing with chronic pain, alternating between hot and icy cold water in the shower is also a great way to see this nerve confusion at play. Stretching after you dry off and preemptively applying some PainZone to your sore spots is a great way to wake up and start your day.
What we love about menthol
Although we recommend a mixture of hot and cold, we especially love menthol. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great for helping relax muscles, minimize swelling, and reduce tenderness, and it’s an ingredient in our topical pain rub: PainZone. Menthol has been used as a natural solution to help internal and external pain for centuries. Learn more about the power of menthol here.
The benefits of topical pain rubs
Why are topical rubs the best solution for pain relief?
1. Topicals work locally.
Pain medications—both topical and oral—help with pain by blocking nerve endings from sending signals to the brain. If the nerve endings don’t tell the brain something is wrong, your brain can’t process the pain, so you actually won’t feel it.
However, oral medications do this at a systemic, body-wide level, while topicals keep this process local.
Applying a rub or ointment “turns off” only the nerves in that area. This is much healthier for the body, especially if you’re using pain relievers to fight chronic pain. You aren’t deactivating the nerve endings throughout the body with topical analgesics. In fact, numbing nerves at a systemic level over time can actually make your nerves less sensitive, which can lead to even more pain.
With topical rubs, you’re applying pain relief directly where it hurts. The skin quickly absorbs the cream into the bloodstream, so you can get pain relief where and when you need it. Oral medications take more time to be processed by organs and enter the bloodstream. Why wait 30 minutes when you can have relief now?
2. They allow your body to heal.
Because you’re only applying the analgesic to one area of pain, your body is still working full-force to heal that area. When you use oral medication, you run the risk of your body not realizing its pain at all, so it can become lazy and “forget” to actually go through the healing process.
Topicals help relieve pain, but they don’t actually stop the body’s natural healing process. You’re not feeling pain, but your body can still sense that something is wrong. So it still sends out white blood cells and other healthy fighters to get your body back in shape.
This generally leads to a faster healing time even without suffering through the pain!
3. Massaging helps the pain.
The physical act of rubbing the area actually may further help minimize inflammation and relieve pain. Touch has been shown to release tension, relax muscles, and ease physical stress.
It may also help seal off the “pain gate” by stimulating nerve fibers. This tells the brain that the pain it was feeling is being replaced with a good sensation, which can help deactivate the pain in the nerves.
Massaging the area (or your whole body) has also been shown to help minimize anxiety, which is especially useful if you’re dealing with chronic pain that’s impacting your daily life.
Note: You don’t want to massage an area that’s infected or highly inflamed. Instead, you want to apply the rub with a clean cloth. This ensures you don’t spread any infection.
4. They have fewer side effects.
Except for minor skin sensitivities, most topicals have only a few potential side effects. You might experience a rash, irritation, burning sensation, or discomfort. In some cases, it might encourage the spread of an infection if not applied correctly.
However, topical side effects are much less severe than oral pain relievers, which bring the risk of bleeding, nausea, dyspepsia, and sometimes even increased risk of illness. Over time, consistent use of pain pills can cause dependency, depression, fatigue, ulcers, and even kidney or liver problems.
Applying a topical to a single area helps reduce the effects that your body could have from taking oral pills.
5. They’re easy to use.
You can easily apply a rub, let it soak into the skin, and go about the rest of your day. You don’t have to worry about applying hot or cold packs regularly. You don’t need to find a bottle of water to pop your pain pills. Rubs are easy to use and show fast results.
PainZone is especially easy to use. With our roll-on formula, you don’t even have to get your hands messy. Plus, it comes in a number of convenient sizes including a 3 oz bottle, 1 oz bottle, or 75 count box of individual use packets, so you can always have PainZone on you when you need it. The roll-on feature allows you to apply the product exactly where you need it, unlike some sprays or gels. There’s no residue or stickiness, so you just apply and go!
Our fast-acting rub is made of menthol, camphor, and methyl salicylate. It’s delivered deep into the skin to quickly and effectively help attack your pain. This makes it a great solution for helping everything from daily aches and pains to arthritis symptoms, golf elbow, sprains, strains, and even fibromyalgia. Professional and collegiate athletes use the roll-on PainZone to help manage their pain and get back in the game.
Check out PainZone reviews and testimonials to see how others have gained control of their pain and improved their lives!
GET OUR EXCLUSIVE NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX