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The Pain Relief Ingredient Your Body is Begging You to Try

By Hillary Oberpeul | April 9, 2018
The Pain Relief Ingredient Your Body is Begging You to Try

Find out why you should be using menthol to relieve your aches and pains.

Whether from simple back aches or a chronic condition like arthritis, people experience muscle and joint pain on a regular basis. Part of dealing with that pain is having a pain management toolkit on hand, filled with solutions to fit the different types of pain and discomfort life can bring. And one great solution to include is an external pain reliever.

External pain relief gels, sprays and creams are a great option for all sorts of pain—you apply them directly to your skin, so you get relief right where you need it. And they can come in a few forms, using different ingredients to either heat away pain or cool it down. What type of external pain reliever you use depends on what usually helps you find relief. If cold helps you feel better, you’ll want to look for an external pain reliever that offers a cooling sensation, like Biofreeze® Pain Reliever.

But what makes external pain relievers like Biofreeze so effective? In one word: menthol.

What is Menthol?

When you think menthol, you may think of the minty feeling that comes from your favorite lip balm. But menthol is, like many other ingredients, a chemical compound used for a variety of purposes. It comes from peppermint oil (hence the minty smell and taste!), and it gives you a cooling sensation, when you apply it to your skin or ingest it.

You’ve probably come across it in more products than you think. Things like cough drops are a no-brainer, but it’s also used in food, liqueurs, cosmetics, perfumes and medicinal ointments and inhalers. Plus, it’s thought that menthol’s pain relieving powers can actually quiet stomach distress, which is why you’ll find it in antacids and other stomach soothers.

Why Use Menthol for Pain Relief?

Many cooling external pain relievers use menthol as the active ingredient (in varying percentages). That’s because menthol acts as a counter-irritant when applied directly to your skin—it’s thought to work through the Gate Control Theory, essentially blocking the pain signals from reaching your brain. So when you apply a topical pain reliever with menthol in it to your skin, the pain of your sore muscles and joints is quieted with the cooling sensation associated with menthol.

Menthol can help soothe muscle in joint pain temporarily, in many areas of the body and for many ailments. Some things it can help with are:

    • Low back pain
    • Arthritis
    • Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

Find the Right Menthol to Relieve Your Pain

External pain relievers with menthol as the active ingredient come in many different forms, and not all of them have the same percentage of menthol. When you’re choosing one, make sure you take into consideration if you’re more or less sensitive to the effects of menthol. If you’re more sensitive, look for one that has a lower percentage of menthol, like Biofreeze Gel or Roll-on. If you’d like more menthol, try something like Biofreeze Spray or Cream.

You should also consider if you’re sensitive to colors and dyes. While some products include food-grade dyes in the ingredients list, there are other external pain relievers that don’t. Try Biofreeze Colorless Gel and Roll-on formulas as a dye-free option that will still give you all the same great pain relief benefits.

In any form, topical pain relievers offer an effective alternative to traditional cold therapy. They’re portable, fast-acting and don’t drip cold water on you like ice—plus, they allow you to keep moving right after you use them.

Get Back to Doing What You Love

No matter which form of menthol pain reliever you choose, be sure it works for your specific situation and your individual pain. And if you’re not positive, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional. They can help you decide what can help you find the most relief, depending on the pain. Then just apply, find relief and get back to doing what you love!

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