Different kinds of pain relief gels work very differently in the body, some work as pain relief and others work as irritants, as strange as that sounds!
Analgesic (pain-killing) - Gels which are analgesic are usually the easiest to use and most pleasant as the effects of the gel bring you quick pain relief. Those which combine anti-inflammatory qualities are that much better.
Anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation after an injury is one of the methods we use to reduce pain. When your body has a swelling, you have pain.
Irritating (I know this sounds backwards, but it does work for pain relief). 'Irritating' ingredients are those such as menthol and camphor, which cause a mild, not-unpleasant stinging sensation that some people feel as heat and others feel as a chill. Pain relief works because the sensation of heat or chill reaches the brain first, and effectively blocks the pain message.
Hands down, our favorite pain relief gel. Arnica works on capillaries, veins and your skin, and because there are no irritants in Arnica, the application is pleasant.
Derived from the lovely plant, arnica montana, this gel works externally to relieve pain and inflammation on new bruises, strains, sprains, injured and tired tissue.
This pain relief gel works differently than the anti-inflammatory affects of Arnica, Biofreeze relies on the action of Menthol. Menthol is a cooling agent in Biofreeze, and the cooling action acts as a pain reliever.
When it is not possible to ice, either you can't remain still long enough, or its too messy for your situation (work), biofreeze may be a very good choice.
Caution: You shouldn't use a heating pad while using biofreeze or any other type of cooling cream. The cooling effect of menthol can make it difficult for your body to register the effects of the heat and you can become injured.
Tiger balm acts as both an irritant and an analgesic. A strange combination, however, those that use Tiger balm swear by its ability to reduce pain through the warming and then cooling sensation on the skin.
Tiger balm is very strong smelling and you may find its not suitable for work. It is also very oily and may stain your clothes, so be careful with your favorite things. Tiger balm's active ingredients are camphor, menthol, cajuput oil, mint oil and clove oil.
This pain relief ointment also works as an irritant and works with menthol, the ingredient which gives off the cooling effect, in addition flexall has camphor, which acts as a numbing agent. However, once again, the smell of flexall may make it less desirable for taking to work.
This is an ointment many folks with arthritis use for pain relief. I have seen some use if for muscular pain relief, but it is just not as effective as arnica. Capsaicin is the ingredient which creates the heat in peppers. Like other pain relief gels, it works as an irritant.
If you choose this ointment or gel BE VERY CAREFUL! Wash your hands extremely well, the ointment will cause burning on your body's sensitive areas, and will be a very serious problem if you get it near your eyes or contact lenses. Wash carefully, rinse your eyes repeatedly if you goof, and call your doctor.