Whether you're an avid athlete pushing physical boundaries or someone navigating the intricacies of everyday life, the throbbing discomfort of a knee injury is a universal experience. We can't do many day to day activities without using our knees in some way. Even an office job requires you to get up every now and then! Biofreeze is a unique product that can have a helpful role to play in managing your pain. But it's important not to rely too heavily on it. I'll explain...
You may or not have heard of Biofreeze, a fast acting cooling gel that can be a helpful tool in achieving knee pain relief. In this brief article, explore the soothing wonders that Biofreeze offers when applied to knee injuries, specifically. I'll discuss how to use it, the benefits and my opinion on using it as part of recovery from more log-term injury. Let's dive into the cool use of Biofreeze and learn how it can be your ally in the journey back to pain-free mobility.
What is Biofreeze?
Biofreeze is an over the counter product and pain relieving, topical analgesic gel. It's essentially a menthol gel which offers a cooling sensation when applied directly to the skin. It is used for many musculoskeletal injuries to offer temporary relief of pain, not only for knee pain but also other common issues like back pain, neck pain, painful joints and general muscle soreness. It is important to note it is not a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) and will not reduce inflammation, it is purely a topical medicine that masks the pain by offering a cold sensation on your skin, kind of like a type of cryotherapy but minus the actual cold. It will not fix your pain however it will play a role in blocking pain signals to the brain and help with the perception of pain.
There are few negative side effects of using the gel which is why it is a popular option for people with joint soreness or minor aches and pains. The most serious side effects some people may report are some kinds of allergic reactions, so it is important to check the ingredients before applying it to the skin. As it is made of primarily herbal extract from the mint family of plants, the likelihood of an allergic reaction is small, however you can also apply it to a small area and wait a while to test your skin's tolerance before applying it to a larger area to avoid irritated skin. It has a non-greasy formula which is great, however it is important to wash hands after applying it as the menthol effects can be painful if it gets into your eye(s).
How to use Biofreeze
Depending on what type of Biofreeze gel you have, the application varies slightly. It usually comes in a tube with a lid, however it can be purchased as a roll-on. The gel is to be applied directly to the painful area (external use only) and allowed to dry and soak into the skin for a few seconds afterwards. You cannot overdose from applying it so it can be used and and when required. Be carely not to apply it to open wounds as it poses an infection risk and can also sting.
If using the gel as a routine way of recovering from general aches post-exercise not necessarily to help with a medical condition, it can be applied to large muscle areas to reduce the symptoms of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). The cold therapy of Biofreeze and it's menthol formula can help with muscular discomfort when applied to affected areas and sore muscles.
For people with chronic conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, it can be extremely helpful in improving their quality of life and can be a good choice in non-invasive ways of coping with daily tasks, without having to rely on medication. With just a few weeks of biofreeze application and some physical activity in the shape of a structured programme, a number of my patients have experienced life changing reductions in pain levels.
The role of Biofreeze on injury rehabilitation
A wide range of health care providers recommend Biofreeze to their patients to help with recovery from different types of joint pain and injuries. Personally, I do also recommend it but not as a sole coping mechanism. I also advise it is used as a temporary method of pain relief to enable you to complete functional tasks more easily but also to provide you with a "window of opportunity" to be able to more comfortably complete rehabilitation exercises. By this, I mean it may be uncomfortable to complete some exercises while you are in pain, however they may be necessarily to help you recover from the injury. So rather than being stuck in a rut, you can use Biofreeze to offer some temporary relief while you complete them. As the exercises become easier and the pain reduces, you can ease off the gel to avoid relying on it.
Overall, Biofreeze products are generally a harmless but helpful tool in pain management, but it should always be used alongside a progressive exercise programme and proper guidance to produce long term results. It can be beneficial to follow the guidance of a healthcare provider if you are recovering from injury and if you are unsure about the application of Biofreeze, speak to a pharmacist to get the best results.