Written by David Tennant, Independent Watkins Associate on April 1, 2009
Most of us have aches and pains from time to time, whether we are a bit overactive in doing yard or housework or perhaps we slept a little crooked the night before. While there are many ways to relive such maladies, a few topical products will go a long way in gaining relief.
As we get older, especially, such onsets of stiffness, muscle and joint pain can rear their ugly heads at any time. Having a handy dose of liniment or analgesic balm handy can be a good thing.
These products work by stimulating blood flow and masking pain to the injured area. Increased blood flow is important to bring healing cells called macrophages to the muscle to remove dead muscle cells. Good blood flow to the area also accelerates the bringing of nutrients so the repair and regeneration of the muscle can occur.
A limited masking of pain while the area is healing allows more movement, which also increased the blood flow. Limited movement is important in the healing process, as no movement over a period of time has shown that the muscle can atrophy, or shrink, thus lengthening the healing time.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can move the area without too much pain, then topical remedies can be very helpful. However, if there is severe swelling or if the injury is joint related and you cannot move the area at all, you should seek further medical help.
Liniment works by utilizing camphor which ooccurs in nature in the camphor tree, an Asian evergreen related to cinnamon. When applied to the skin, camphor produces a mild local anesthetic action (depresses some nerve endings and stimulates others). It also acts as an antipruritic, which means it relieves itching. Watkins products markets an excellent liniment, which actually was the first product sold in 1868.
Analgesic balm contains Methyl salicylate (wintergreen), menthol and capsaicin which team up in a great muscle warm-up rub. This greaseless, stainless, deep-heating cream penetrates rapidly to relieve and relax muscle tension and soreness and provide temporary relief from minor arthritis. This product also can be purchased from Watkins.
An ounce of prevention can go a long way in muscle and joint pain relief after that victorious bout of leaf raking, garden planting, or even vacuuming (ugh) that leaves you sore the next day.