Pain Relief with sports cream or an ice pack?

All of us over do it at one time or another. Weekend warrior in the yard or in the game. Training for a marathon or triathlon. Or just slept the wrong way and have a stiff neck. You are in pain and you want joint pain relief. Reluctant to pop another pill, you want natural pain relief. Your choice is between an over-the-counter joint cream or an ice pack. Which is more effective?

How sports creams work

The cool feelings from topical pain relievers, like IcyHot or BioFreeze, comes from the interaction of the menthol and the skin. Muscle cream is part of a class of treatment called counterirritants, which work by tricking the body into feeling sensations other than pain. Once applied to the skin, the product creates a series of chemical reactions that help temporarily relieve any pain in the area.

In a recent New York Times article, Ed Ryan, former director of sports medicine for the United States Olympic Committee commented that, “From a physiological standpoint, there’s very little benefit that occurs in the tissue where you’re applying a cream.” He went on to say that creams, “Don’t cause a change to occur that would result in any pain decrease or any physiological change that would hasten healing.”

The bottom line, although these creams may help to temporarily mask the pain sensations, topical creams and gels do not help the body to reduce inflammation or muscle spasms.

How an ice pack works

 

According to the Sports Injury Clinic applying a cold pack to an injury or inflamed muscle offers several benefits and effects, namely to reduce any internal bleeding and swelling. Swelling is caused by fluids concentrating around the area that is inflamed (damaged tissue) due to direct trauma. The cold pack helps to control the rate of inflammation. Top of most peoples mind is pain relief. Applying cold will numb the area, providing the necessary pain relief. As the cold continues to penetrate, the cold therapy acts to reduce muscle spasms and decrease the metabolic rate, reducing the oxygen requirements of the injured cells. These physiological changes may help to accelerate the healing process.

While icing is a great start, combining a cold pack with a compression wrap like FrozenPeaz provides improved skin contact and enables to the cooling benefits to penetrate deeper into the muscle tissue. The injured area reaches its lowest temperature faster and the tissue maintains its cool even after treatment ends.

So which is best?

While a muscle cream might help mask the pain if your are unable to ice, applying cold therapy with compression results in physiological effects that help the body not only with pain pain relief but also a recover faster.

Pill Free Arthritis Pain Relief

Whether it’s dull ache, a sharp shooting pain, or a painful burning sensation, chronic arthritis pain is a degenerative condition that affects joints and the surrounding and connective tissues. The term Arthritis is generically used to refer to more than 100 different types of rheumatic diseases and conditions from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus to fibromyalgia and gout.

Many people believe that arthritis is the result of inflammation. While there are many forms of arthritis caused by inflammation, what you may not know is that osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is not believed to be the result of inflammation.

Arthritis & Inflammation

Arthritis resulting from inflammation is usually caused by an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system is designed to trigger an inflammatory response to protect us from infection. Sometimes, the inflammatory response is triggered when there are no infections to defend against. The following are just a few of the many types of arthritis resulting from autoimmune diseases:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

Degenerative Arthritis

In contrast, Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, results when joint cartilage breaks down. Cartilage is the tough but flexible connective tissue that functions as a cushion between bones. When cartilage degenerates, bones begin to rub together. Over time, this friction can cause permanent joint damage, resulting in osteoarthritis. As you would expect, because osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on joints, the condition often worsens with age. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include stiffness, pain, swelling, and reduced motion in joints. It can occur in any joint, but is most common in the hands, knees, hips and spine.

The following factors are a few factors that may contribute towards a higher risk of osteoarthritis:

  • Family history or genetic makeup
  • A physically demanding job, especially one with repetitive movements
  • A previous injury
  • Obesity, which places extra strain on joints can lead to arthritis
  • For many, seasonal weather changes like we are having now make symptoms worse

How Will Arthritis Affect Me?

Arthritis affects people in many different ways. Arthritis sufferers usually find there are good and bad days. Most patients with arthritis will suffer from discomfort, pain, stiffness and/or fatigue.

You may find yourself unable to grip things as firmly as you used to or you may feel frustrated that you can no longer get around like you used to. It is important to remember that if you suffer from arthritis this does not mean you have to give up having an active lifestyle. With some changes to your way of life there is no reason why you cannot continue being active.

Options for Arthritis Pain Relief

Today, there many effective options for managing arthritis pain. Yes – some of these methods include various pills and pharmaceuticals – but we are going to focus on healthy, pill-free alternatives for pain management. The most common types of noninvasive, nonaddictive pain-relief therapies for joint pain include:

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

This therapy option utilizes a low-voltage electrical current to deliver mild electrical pulses to the skin, which stimulates nerve fibers in the skin. Many experts believe that this stimulation interferes with the transmission of pain signals from the arthritic joint. Although research trials studying the effectiveness of TENS therapy is not conclusive, TENS has proved to be a popular form of pain relief with many people.

Heat and Cold Therapies

Two of the simplest and most effective methods of relieving arthritis pain are heat and cold therapies, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Applying heat and cold stimulates the natural healing force of the body and can help to mitigate arthritis pain and stiffness.

Which is better for arthritis pain, heat or cold? Experts disagree. Some arthritis suffers believe hot therapy soothes their stiff joints. Others prefer the pain numbing effect of cold therapy on painful joints. Fortunately, today’s most popular options, like FrozenPeaz, provide both hot and cold therapy relief in a single product.

Topical Creams & Gels

For centuries, ointments, creams, and liniments have been rubbed into sore joints to relieve pain. The most popular of these remedies fall into three primary categories: aspirin-like, menthol (cooling), and capsican (heating).

Since these topical pain medications are absorbed through the skin, these options are best suited to joints that are close to the skin’s surface, such as hands and knees.

What’s the Answer for Arthritis Pain?

Although medical science shows that all of the above options provide relatively low risk, pill-free options that may reduce pain and inflammation, arthritis pain is different for everyone. It is no surprise that medical experts and arthritis suffers have differing opinions on which of the above options offer the most relief for pain and stiffness. There are no easy answers or magic solutions to relieve arthritis pain. What works for some people may not work for others. The best thing to do is to experiment with different methods and combinations of methods to find the pain management recipe that provides you the most relief. Don’t forget lifestyle changes that can improve arthritis symptoms like diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Arthritis Pain Relief – Hot or Cold?

Feeling the pain of Osteoarthritis? You aren’t alone. Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase from approximately 50 million adults today to an estimated 67 million by the year 2030. Why? While obesity and lack of physical activity contribute to the increase of this painful nemesis, the aging population and injuries are the leading culprits.

So what can you do to relieve arthritis pain? Fortunately, today’s arthritis suffers have many pill-free pain management options.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, two of the simplest and most effective methods of relieving arthritis pain are heat and cold therapies.

Applying heat and cold stimulates the natural healing force of the body and can help to mitigate arthritis pain and stiffness.

Heat Therapy - FrozenPeaz

Heat Therapy

Heat works by helping your muscles relax, which can alleviate both pain and stiffness. From a physiological perspective, heat dilates the blood vessels, stimulating blood circulation and reducing muscle spasms. It is also believed that heat alters the sensation of pain. There are two options for heat therapy, dry heat — such as microwavable heating packs or electric heating pads — like FrozenPeaz, or moist heat — such as warm baths or heated wash cloths.

 

Cold Therapy - FrozenPeazCold Therapy

Alternatively, cold therapy reduces swelling and inflammation by constricting blood vessels. Cold therapy also has a numbing effect on the area, slowing down the pain messages sent to the brain. Additionally, many health care professionals emphasize the importance of people with arthritis staying active. Cold therapy can be an important element of post workout recovery as it also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation that may follow physical activity.

Which is Better, Hot or Cold Therapy?

Many experts, like Girish Padmanabhan, clinical director of outpatient rehab at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., strongly believe that heat works better than cold for people with osteoarthritis pain. Others, like the Mayo Clinic, recommend a combination of heat and cold treatments to help reduce inflammation and ease the pain and stiffness that comes with arthritis. “Fortunately for arthritis sufferers, many of todays most popular options provide both hot and cold therapy relief in a single product”, noted MaryCarol Dolivier, founder of FrozenPeaz hot and cold therapy wraps.

Which FrozenPeaz® products are best for treating joint pain associated with arthritis and osteoarthritis?

  • Arthritis Knee Pain: The Large Joint Wrap provides circumferential coverage for many PEA-ple. You may also want to try the extension wrap to add an extra 6″ of hot or cold therapy relief.
  • Lower Back Pain: The Large Joint Wrap also provides great coverage for lower back pain. Similar to the Large Joint Wrap for the knee, you may also want to try the Large Joint Extension Wrap to add an extra 6″ of coverage.
  • Arthritis Hip Pain: The Large Joint Wrap is 18″ long and can be able to be applied to the hip area for hot or cold therapy relief.
  • Neck/Shoulder Pain: The Neck & Shoulder Wrap is specifically contoured to provide relief to the neck and shoulder area.
  • Arthritis Pain in Fingers or Hands: Many PEA-ple like the wrap around coverage of the Small Joint Wrap for hands and writs. Other PEA-ple prefer to rest their wrist or hand on the Eye/Face Wrap.

Sources
WebMD
Arthritis Foundation