It’s no secret that I have a few nagging, painful spots — and I’m always on the lookout for something that might provide some relief. So, as you might imagine, I’ve got a nice little stockpile of muscle rubs and pain creams under my bathroom sink.
Now, I can’t truthfully say that I’ve found a magical potion that alleviates all my aches and pains — if I did, this article would actually be a video, and I’d be doing this the whole time:
So far, I’ve not had quite that level of success.
But, I have been lucky enough to find a couple of muscle rubs that not only help with soreness, but that also rub in nicely (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stained my clothes with a pain-relieving gel that didn’t get fully rubbed in) and are made with ingredients that I feel comfortable applying to my skin.
And! If you’re interested in the science behind pain relief lotions, this article from Harvard Medical School is a great read. It breaks down the main ingredients you find in most pain creams and explains why they may be effective (or, in some cases, why they aren’t as likely to work).
The Feel Good Lab Sport Recovery Lotion
This pain-relieving lotion offers daily muscle and joint support in a 100-percent natural formula, and caught our eye when touted by Ben Bergeron, the “world’s most successful CrossFit coach” (and who we recently interviewed for an upcoming podcast ep — stay tuned!). The lotion was developed using the base formula of The Feel Good Lab’s popular Natural Pain Cream, but was designed for workout recovery rather than specifically for acute pain — they recommend using it on sore areas as often as three or four times daily. In addition to menthol, it boasts ingredients any healthy foodie will recognize, like, turmeric, coconut oil, yerba mate, and more, and they proudly share the entire ingredient full list (as well as information on why they use every last one) on the bottom of the product page.
The smell is subtly minty and the consistency is of lotion — it might take a moment, but it’ll rub right in. And once it does, there’s a slight sensation from the menthol along with a soothing of discomfort.
Ted’s Pain Cream
I gave this pain cream a try after reading about the brand’s innovative use of resveratrol — which, previously, I’d mostly made a point to get via red wine (and, let me be clear, I’m not swapping one for the other here). The story behind its creation is really interesting (a neuroscientist studying pain was distracted from his work … by his pain — so he tried something new), and the use of resveratrol for pain relief is novel. Plus, in addition to the methyl salicylate (better known — and recognized — as wintergreen oil — and which should not be used by anyone allergic to aspirin), it has a list of ingredients that, well, I don’t necessarily recognize, but they take care to explain where each one comes from here.
Ted’s Pain Cream is a bit thicker and has a stronger minty smell, which I don’t mind, but if you’re put off by the idea of smelling like wintergreen gum, they do offer an unscented roll-on gel. There’s a less subtle (but still not strong or painful) sensation right away from the wintergreen oil, and then, as with the Sport Recovery Lotion, some pain relief as that initial sensation fades.
Do you use topical pain creams or gels? Got one that you’re loving? Do tell! —Kristen