You deserve pain relief. More than 50 million American adults experience chronic pain, and most people turn to opioids and other prescriptions to mitigate their symptoms. Others use topical analgesics, medications you apply to your skin to relieve pain.
Topical analgesics have fewer side effects than opioids, making them a great alternative for anyone experiencing acute or chronic pain. However, there are dozens of analgesics on the market today, and it’s hard to pick one.
If you’re looking for pain relief, you must figure out Bengay vs. Icy Hot. Here’s how you can pick the right topical analgesic for you.
The Basics of Bengay
Bengay is a line of topical analgesics, including creams, gels, and patches. The company is best known for its creams for athletes, but anyone experiencing muscle pains or aches can use Bengay products.
Each product contains different ingredients, but most contain menthol and methyl salicylate. Menthol is a chemical compound in mint plants, and it creates a cooling effect on your skin. Methyl salicylate is a chemical derived from menthol that also creates a cooling effect, distracting your brain from pain. Some Bengay products have lidocaine, an anesthetic that can block nerves and numb pain.
Related: Preventing Knee Pain in Old Age
The Essentials of Icy Hot
Icy Hot is another popular line of topical analgesics. Icy Hot targets athletes and active people in its advertising, but people with chronic pain and arthritis have used Icy Hot products over the years.
Like Bengay, most Icy Hot products contain menthol and methyl salicylate. Some products have capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, to create a heating effect. The heating effect can also distract you from pain and draw blood toward your skin and muscles, helping you move around.
Bengay vs. Icy Hot
Bengay and Icy Hot have more similarities than differences. Both contain similar ingredients, are intended for athletes and physically active people, and include creams and gels. You can purchase both lines at grocery stores and pharmacies at similar prices, though Icy Hot may be cheaper. Many people confuse the two together because they are so similar, and there’s no problem with using both.
The main difference between Bengay and Icy Hot is inactive ingredients. Bengay products contain more camphor, a chemical found in cinnamon and other plants. Camphor oil is a common ingredient in many balms and vapor rubs, as it can interact with nerves and reduce chronic pain. Icy Hot products contain more capsaicin, which can alleviate moderate muscle and joint pain. However, you can find Icy Hot products with camphor and Bengay items with capsaicin, though they are not popular.
Athletes and people experiencing chronic pain may prefer Bengay because the cooling sensation is less prominent. People with joint pain and people experiencing pain while relaxing may prefer Icy Hot because the cooling sensation can be soothing. But the products are so similar that one is not necessarily better than the other.
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Using Bengay and Icy Hot
Bengay and Icy Hot are counter-irritants. They affect pain receptors by creating cooling and warming sensations that dull pain signals and distract your mind from the pain. They cannot cure the underlying causes of your pain, regardless of what they are.
The products work best when you are experiencing minor pain in specific areas of your body, like your knees or elbows. If you have trouble reaching your knees, Bengay and Icy Hot offer sprays. You may need to rub or massage the product into your skin, allowing it to interact with your nerve endings.
You can also wear a patch that administers menthol, methyl salicylate, and other ingredients for several hours. Patches work best on flat areas of skin, though you can wear them on your joints. Do not place them on skin folds, as they may peel off your skin. You can sleep with patches on, especially if your pain wakes up during the night. However, you should not wear patches in the shower or while bathing.
Do not use Bengay and Icy Hot simultaneously. The ingredients of the two lines are similar, but Bengay and Icy Hot can interact with each other and irritate your skin. Some people experience a burning sensation after using Bengay or Icy Hot. Stop using your product immediately and wash your skin with water to remove excess amounts from your skin cells. Doctors do not recommend that pregnant people use Bengay or Icy Hot, as it can interfere with pregnancies.
Bengay and Icy Hot can help with short-term pain and flare-ups of chronic inflammation. However, you must use other products to experience pain and inflammation relief for long periods.
A 2021 study of nearly 900 fibromyalgia patients found that 72% of patients substituted CBD for pain medications. Most patients reported that CBD had fewer side effects than opioids and helped them manage their symptoms better. CBD does not cause a psychoactive effect, so you will not get high off it, though it can create drowsiness.
CBD products for pain relief include CBD sports lotions. These lotions combine full-spectrum CBD with menthol and camphor, creating the same cooling effects as traditional Icy Hot products. The cannabidiol interacts with your nerves and inflammatory response, reducing pain for longer periods than the conventional Icy Hot line.
If you don’t like the cooling sensations of menthol and camphor, you can try Full Spectrum CBD MAX-PAIN Cream. This cream can help with sore muscles and achy joints but is also suitable for eczema, dryness, and poison ivy. The cream can penetrate through all layers of the skin quickly, providing fast and deep pain relief in just a few minutes.
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Turmeric is a popular spice and folk medicine from East Asia. The spice contains curcumin, which doctors believe can help alleviate pain and inflammation. It has a peppery flavor that makes it suitable for seasoning meat, soups, and sauces.
You can combine turmeric with other ingredients to amplify its effects. A 2017 study found that piperine, a chemical in black pepper, increased the effects of turmeric by 2,000%. You can make a spice blend with turmeric and black pepper for stews and curries. You can also order a CBD tincture with turmeric, enjoying the full effects of both natural ingredients.
Some people are allergic to turmeric, so get an allergy test before using it in your dishes. Curcumin can interact with pain relievers, including aspirin and ibuprofen. Mixing a few spoonfuls of turmeric into your dishes will not create interactions, but supplements can, so you should avoid taking them.
Related: Turmeric vs. Curcumin Isolate