Topical solutions to pain have existed for thousands of years. In the earliest days, plant herbs were rubbed against the skin to relieve physical ailments. Medicinal plants were crushed, mixed, heated, and then applied to the skin. This helped not only reduce pain but also to prevent infection and speed up the duration of recovery. In 2022, topical medicine has stood the test of time and is still frequently used for all kinds of aches and pains. Today we will look at pain relief creams and ointments, their differences, and when to use them. Keep reading to find out more.
Types of Topical Pain Products
Topical pain relief comes in many different forms. In addition to creams and ointments, you can find balms, salves, plasters, gels, lotions, oils, sprays, patches, and more. Each type of topical pain product can be beneficial for different reasons. For example, if you are trying to apply your pain relief product in a difficult-to-reach area, a spray would work best for you. Or, if you want to ensure that the product does not rub off once you apply it, you should look into a patch.
Additionally, some forms work better based on the individual. Because these products are all absorbed through the skin, skin type will play a part in determining which form of topical pain relief is ideal for you. For example, if you have naturally oily skin, a solution that is alcohol or water-based will be better absorbed by your skin. Conversely, if you have dry skin, an oil-based solution will be better at penetrating your skin. If you are somewhere in between, don’t be afraid to try different solutions to see which one works best for you.
What is Pain Relief Ointment?
Creams and ointments will be two of the most common forms we see topical pain relief. When it comes to ointments, there are two types. Some will contain an ingredient called capsaicin. This is responsible for the tingling or burning sensation when these products are applied to the skin. Capsaicin increases blood flow to the area in which it is used. The increase in blood supply to the site helps to relieve the user. It is essential to be aware that some burning with these products is regular, but excessive irritation that persists long after application could indicate a reaction. If this occurs, you should suspend use and contact your doctor.
The second type of ointment contains a substance that is similar to aspirin. Menthol provides an icy sensation to the area where it is applied. Overall, ointments can be helpful when treating dull aching pain. Chronic pain or sprains are not suitable for creams. If you have these issues, contact your doctor for better relief solutions.
What is Pain Relief Cream?
Pain relief creams are not heavy or greasy as ointments. Instead, creams have a lighter, lotion-like texture. Counterirritants can cause a heating sensation on the skin, which helps the brain distracts from pain. Examples of counterirritants include menthol, methyl salicylate, or camphor.
Capsaicin is also common in pain relief creams which will help to block the skin’s pain receptors. Because this ingredient is so effective, you will often find it in many different forms of topical pain relief.. NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be present in certain pain relief creams. NSAIDs are typically ingested but can be applied topically to help decrease inflammation in the injured area. There are also creams available that contain hemp, such as the Hempvana pain relief cream. Hempvana’s pain relief cream is known to be fast-acting and helpful in relieving sore muscles, back pain, and more.
Which One is Best for Me?
Both pain relief creams and ointments contain ingredients that help reduce swelling and relieve soreness. Therefore, the choice will come down to individual preference and skin type. As previously mentioned, make sure you are keeping your skin type in mind when choosing topical relief. If you have oilier skin, go for a cream. The ointment is better suited for dry skin, and if you are in the middle, choose whichever formula feels better. Additionally, pay attention to any ingredients that you may have sensitivities to. And remember, if your pain persists or gets worse, make sure you consult with your doctor for a better solution.