Jan 29, 2015Biofreeze Pain Reliever vs. ice
Phil Page, MS, PT, ATC, CSCS, is the Director of Clinical Education and Research for Performance Health/Hygenic Corp. and directs the Thera-Band Academy. He has worked with Louisiana State University, Tulane, the New Orleans Saints, and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as the United States Olympic Track and Field Trials.
What is Biofreeze Pain Reliever and what are its benefits?
Page: Biofreeze Pain Reliever is the most frequently used and recommended topical pain reliever by hands-on healthcare professionals. For over 18 years, our products have been helping people mange their discomfort by offering a variety of benefits that assist in exercise/training, pain relief, therapy, and overall comfort. Using natural menthol as the active ingredient, Biofreeze products act quickly, helping to prevent or relieve pain.
How do Biofreeze products work?
Page: When pain limits a body’s ability to exercise, the healing process may take longer. Biofreeze products help break this pain cycle to facilitate therapeutic exercise by relieving pain through a method known as “Gate Control Theory,” or “gating.” In gating theory, menthol acts to stimulate specific sensory receptors in the skin, thereby blocking other receptors from sending pain signals to the brain. Biofreeze may also reduce pain by stimulating cold receptors in the skin, similar to cryotherapy with ice application.
What are the benefits of using a Biofreeze product instead of ice? Since they’re both forms of cryotherapy, don’t they provide the same benefits?
Page: Although ice is the most popular form of cryotherapy, it can have negative side effects, such as stiffness, decreased range of motion, decreased motor performance, and skin irritation. Biofreeze products produce the same sensation of cold that accompanies icing, but without these negative side effects.
Two recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of choosing Biofreeze over ice — benefits that are especially relevant to athletes.
» ALSO SEE: Topical analgesics in pain relief
Bart Bishop, DPT, of Sport and Spine Rehab in Rockville, Maryland, conducted a study to determine which form of cryotherapy works better on individual patients suffering from acute, non-complicated neck pain. His research showed that both modalities reduced pain significantly, but patients preferred the Biofreeze application by an 8-to-1 margin over ice. The Biofreeze treatment lasted longer in nine out of 10 patients, with twice as much pain reduction compared to ice.
Robert Topp, PhD, RN, from the University of Louisville, compared the effects of Biofreeze topical analgesic and ice on blood flow, pain, and muscle performance of the upper extremities in healthy individuals. His study found a decrease in blood flow in the radial artery five minutes after applying Biofreeze to the forearm. The application of ice didn’t significantly reduce blood flow until 20 minutes after application. At 20 minutes following the application of these treatments, the study showed that Biofreeze provided significantly greater muscle function compared to the application of ice. While Biofreeze reduced blood flow much more quickly than ice, the reduction lasted longer with the ice. This quick reduction may offer a great benefit in the very acute stages of injury, but we need more research.
What other research has been done to support Biofreeze product claims?
Page: Many studies have been conducted and can be viewed on the Biofreeze portal of the Thera-Band Academy website. You can find the research abstracts for both studies on the academy site. This website and its research database demonstrate our company’s commitment to research and education. It serves as a single, comprehensive resource for consumers, patients, and healthcare professionals interested in Thera-Band and Biofreeze products.