A sports doctor suggested using rub-on, topical treatments such as Icy-Hot, Ben-Gay and Aspercreme to relieve pain. I have used some of these and believe they give some minor, temporary relief.
For example, Icy Hot does make you feel heat and cold; but it does not actually change the temperature of your skin or muscles. Rather, it stimulates the nerve receptors, which cause you to “feel” hot/cold. Its main analgesic ingredient is Menthol.
Aspercreme is an odor-free rub that doesn’t give you any heating sensation; but its main ingredient, Trolamine Salicylate works by reducing swelling and inflammation in the muscle and joints.
Another, much lesser known product is Tiger Balm, a Chinese medicine developed in the 1870’s by a Chinese herbalist, Aw Chu Kin. It is available in two “potencies,” the weaker Tiger Balm White and the stronger Tiger Balm Red; and comes in a tiny little jar, but packs a big heating punch! Their ingredients are: Menthol, Camphor, and a group of different natural oils.
According to their own literature: Tiger Balm is made from a secret herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. The Aw brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par inherited the formulation from their herbalist father who left China. They call it Tiger Balm, after Boon Haw, (whose name in Chinese meant “Tiger”) who was instrumental in devising the remarkable selling strategies that made Tiger Balm a household name all over Asia today.
What have you used?