When you’re in pain, you want to do everything you can to make it stop ASAP. Still, it’s understandable that you may be wary of taking medication. That’s why plenty of people turn to pain relief pads for help.
The idea behind these pads is simple: They contain a topical anti-inflammatory and, when you place the pads on areas that hurt, the ointment seeps in right where you need it most.
Pretty much anyone who experiences muscle and joint pain can benefit from these, Medhat Mikhael, MD, pain management specialist and medical director at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells Yahoo Lifestyle. However, he lists off people with muscle strains, sprains, joint pain due to arthritis, tight spastic muscles due to stress, back pain caused by major strain, and neck pain due to whiplash injury, as benefiting the most.
Many of the pads contain arnica, a natural anti-inflammatory, although some feature methyl salicylate, which also has good anti-inflammatory properties, Mikhael explains.
Overall, there isn’t a lot of research out there on these pads, but “anecdotally, people have reported pain relief from them,” Joshua Scott, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Basically, many people are using these to combat pain and loving them.
Interested in trying out pain relief pads for your muscle aches and pains? These are the top-rated options out there.
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Penetrex works by getting to the root of your pain with a variety of anti-inflammatory agents. “Arnica oil in the Penetrex reduces the inflammation with added B6 that can be helpful for some nerve regeneration,” Mikhael says. Nearly 26,000 people have reviewed these pads on Amazon, and the vast majority rave about them. “It actually does work,” one person wrote. “I use this to combat recurring neck and shoulder pain as well as lower back pain, and it is simply the VERY BEST product I have ever used to treat pain,” another said.
Salonpas says its patches can work for up to eight hours of pain relief. Simply apply them to where you need them, and go about your day. “SalonPas has methyl salicylate that gets metabolized to salicylic acid,” Mikhael explains. “That has a good anti-inflammatory effect, together with levomenthol as a soothing agent.” The reviews are also glowing. “I am a nurse and recommend it to my patients,” one person said. “I have arthritis in my hands and these are wonderful,” another said.
Absorbine Jr. patches use menthol, along with herbal ingredients, to take out your pain. They also promise to give you localized relief for up to eight hours. “It is so versatile,” a reviewer said. “Oh does it ever work! I cannot do without it all year long,” another wrote.
For people who love Bengay but hate dealing with the messy cream, there are these pain-relieving patches. Just like the cream, the patches feel cool when you first apply them and then target pain with concentrated heat. “Always does the trick on sore muscles and joints and is long lasting. I have even used it on painful thigh and shoulder strains and felt the pain fade away very quickly,” one reviewer said. “Stuff is amazing,” said another.
Tiger Balm is known for tackling pain, and their patches are no exception. Simply stick them where you have pain and let the patches go to work. “I wore a patch until it fell off (1 day) and it took away my hip pain, almost completely!” one reviewer wrote. “When the pain kicks in, Tiger Balm Pain Patches are the go-to product in our home,” another said. “We find they provide the most relief, for the longest period of time.”
For those big areas of pain, there are Aspercreme XL patches. These are designed to go to work on spots like your back to help provide relief and desensitize your nerves. They’re also odorless: A big perk with users. “These patches are a fantastic size,” one reviewer said. “Can’t sleep without it,” another wrote.
Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• People are obsessed with turmeric supplements to fight pain and inflammation
• This pain-relieving oil has been used by my family for generations—and it’s only $8 on Amazon
• CBD tinctures people swear by to combat inflammation, pain, and anxiety
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