Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel

This is as good a time as any to review my new favorite pain reliever. And by a good time, I mean a bad time for running because I am sadly plagued by shin pain. Runners, don't ever mess around with shin pain!

I received multiple samples of Biofreeze from the front desk guy at my gym. As a runner it is extremely important to practice proper RICE:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Rest: If your body is screaming at you to stop what you are doing, listen and rest!! If you continue to work your tired muscles or your injured body it is possible you will cause your body more harm and it may lead you to chronic problems and longer recovery periods.

Ice: The area of pain/injury will create a lot of heat from the inflammatory response. Ice reduces inflammation, reduces pain temporarily, and just feels darn good on that hot skin. Limit icing to only 15 minute applications, too long can be detrimental because it will limit blood flow that helps recovery.

Compression: You want to reduce swelling because it can delay healing. Use an elastic bandage to compress the swollen areas. But if you feel it throb or it cuts off circulation, bad news bears.

Elevation: Swelling is also reduced by elevating the area of pain. You want the injured part of your body to be raised above the level of your heart. It increases the venous return of blood and therefore increases circulation.

I also massage the area of injury to prevent scar tissue from forming, as scar tissue can cause chronic pain in the future due to inadequate blood flow and movement. And also slowly stretch the area.

So why do I love Biofreeze?

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel

I find it extremely irritating to sit as still as possible while trying to keep the ice on the spot of my pain. Or if Im using an ice pack, the ice pack doesn't extend the length of my injury. And even if cover my skin somehow the ice still makes my skin red as can be. Biofreeze's active ingredient is menthol. Menthol is a natural compound found in mint plants. Menthol relieves pain by numbing your pain receptors in the area it is applied and causes a cooling sensation created by a signal sent to your brain by menthol that your body interprets as coldness. All this equates to a great pain reliever for aches and pains. Biofreeze is great for sore backs, strains and sprains, arthritis, and any other body soreness. 

All you have to do is slap on some of this gel, rub the gel until it is fully slathered on and wait for the cooling, pain relief to kick in. The amount shown in the photo was enough to slather up my sore shins. You can feel the effects of Biofreeze almost instantly and there have been studies proven that Biofreeze works quicker than ice. Plus it also has been shown to work deeper than ice since it promotes vasodilation in the area reducing skin barriers. 

You should limit yourself to only 4 applications a day, too much can be a bad thing because of the fact that the coldness reduces blood flow and therefore if you keep it too cold for too long, the body wont be able to promote healing. I suspect that the fact that the skin is cooled and then goes back to normal temperature in a time period that even though blood flow is initially slowed, that it will increase once the area has adjusted. But I'm not a doctor and only able to speculate. 

Either way, I like Biofreeze better than ice. I get to control the area of application, I can move around while Im cooling my muscles, and I dont get freezer burned skin. 

Biofreeze comes in a gel, like what I have purchased, but it also comes as a spray, wipes, roll-on, and a non-colored gel. My 4oz Biofreeze gel retails for ~$20. But I was able to snag a 2-pack on Amazon for $18. You can read more about Biofreeze at

The bottom line: all-natural product, easy to apply, quick pain relief, faster and deeper pain relief than ice, and amazing cooling sensation. 5/5

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