Rub-On Re­liev­ers

Prevention (USA) - - HEALTH -

Sports rubs aren’t just for ath­letes—prod­ucts like Icy Hot, Tiger Balm, and Biofreeze can take some of the ache out of your back, shoul­der, or knee or another body part. Plus, you can use them along with a painkillin­g pill: Since they don’t en­ter your blood­stream, they won’t cause drug in­ter­ac­tions or side ef­fects. In­stead, they use in­gre­di­ents like men­thol, li­do­caine, and cam­phor that dull nerves’ trans­mis­sion of pain to the brain—sim­i­lar to what hap­pens when you rub your fin­gers over, say, the spot on your el­bow you just bonked. Chronic-pain suf­fer­ers may want to check out cap­saicin creams, which are made with the same hot sub­stance that’s in chile pep­pers. These creams help numb nerves, but you have to use them daily— some­times three to four times a day—and it takes about a week to feel re­lief.

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