When we suffer any muscle pain, the first impulse is to use any of the medications we have at hand at home, but you know…

Considerations Must be Taken to choose Cream, Gels and Rubs Muscle Relaxers Over the Counter

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Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

When your joints are painful or your muscles ache, topical pain killers — those you apply to your skin — may offer relief. You’ll find many products for topical pain relief at your local drugstore.

Here are some popular options and what you need to know if you’d like to give them a try.

Considerations-Must-be-Taken-to-choose-Muscle-Relaxers-Over-the-Counter-001Analgesic Creams, Rubs, and Sprays

Topical pain killers, or analgesics, are sprayed on or rubbed into the skin over painful muscles or joints. Although are all designed to relieve pain, different products use different ingredients. Here the most common ingredients found in ones available without a prescription.

  • Counterirritants. Ingredients such as menthol, methyl salicylate, and camphor are called counterirritants because they create a burning or cooling sensation that distracts your mind from the pain.

  • Salicylates. These same ingredients that give aspirin its pain-relieving quality are found in some creams. When absorbed into the skin, they may help with pain, particularly in joints close to the skin, such as the fingers, knees, and elbows.

  • Capsaicin. The main ingredient of hot chili peppers, capsaicin is also one of the most effective ingredients for topical pain relief. When first applied, capsaicin creams cause a warm tingling or burning sensation. This gets better over time. You may need to apply these creams for a few days up to a couple of weeks before you notice relief from pain.

Considerations Must be Taken to choose Cream, Gels and Rubs Muscle Relaxers Over the Counter for greatest effects.

Here’s what you need to know to get the greatest effects and minimize the risks of these products.

  • Read the package insert and follow directions carefully. If there is an insert, save it to refer to later.

  • Never apply them to wounds or damaged skin.

  • Do not use them along with a heating pad, because it could cause burns.

  • Do not use under a tight bandage.

  • Wash your hands well after using them. Avoid touching your eyes with the product on your hands.

  • If you are allergic to aspirin or are taking blood thinners, check with your doctor before using topical medications that contain salicylates.

Considerations Must be Taken to choose Cream, Gels and Rubs Muscle Relaxers Over the Counter. Hot and Cold Solutions.

Hot or cold packs — or sometimes a combination the two — can provide relief for sore muscles and joints.

Cold numbs sore areas. It is especially helpful for the pain and swelling of an arthritis flare or joint injury, such as a sprained ankle. Cold may reduce inflammation by constricting blood flow to the injured area.

You can apply cold using a commercial cold pack or with a water bottle filled with ice and cold water.

You can also use items already in your home such as:

  • zippable plastic freezer or storage bags filled with ice and water

  • a wash cloth or hand towel dipped into cold water and ice

  • a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas or corn

Hot and Cold Packs continued…

Heat packs relax your muscles. Heat dilates blood vessels, sending more oxygen and blood to the area. Heat also decreases the sensation of pain.

You can apply heat with commercial heat packs, heating pads, or hot water bottles. Other ways to use heat are

  • Soaking in a hot bathtub

  • Standing under a hot shower

  • Soaking a washcloth or hand towel in warm water then applying to painful joints or muscles

Considerations Must be Taken to choose Cream, Gels and Rubs Muscle Relaxers Over the Counter Tips

To get the most relief from hot or cold without damaging your skin, try these tips:

  • Use either heat or cold for only 15-20 minutes at a time.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the cold or heat source.

  • Don’t use heat or cold on skin with open cuts or sores

  • Don’t use cold packs if you have vasculitis or poor circulation

  • Test the temperature before using heat or cold.

  • Do not use creams, heat rubs, or lotions on your skin while using a hot or cold treatment.

  • Do not make your bath or shower water too hot. This may cause dizziness or fatigue.

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These are some of the solutions that you can choose to solve muscle problems. Note that it is always advisable to go to a doctor, but sometimes we can reduce the pain to be treated by a professional, and in some cases the pain disappears just by applying some of these solutions.
If you do not have the products you buy OTC, do not forget Considerations Must be Taken to choose Cream, Gels and Rubs Muscle Relaxers Over the Counter.

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