Topical Pain Relievers: Not such a big relief

Many people who suffer from sore muscles or body pains use a topical pain relievers, but is it actually causing relief or is devastating their health? In early January of 2009 the FDA sent out a warning on topical skin relievers such as Icy Hot and BenGay after the report of two woman dieing after an application (FDA). The pain relievers are applied on top of the skin and the cream or gel is used to desensitize your nerve endings underneath your skin. With a mixture of drugs such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine this topical cream is absorbed into your skin and bloodstream. When your skin temperature rises it increases the amount of anesthetic that reaches your bloods stream to an unpredictable amount. The FDA warns that these pain relievers, if used improperly or in excess, can have life-threatening side effects such as irregular heartbeat, seizures, breathing difficulty, coma, or even death (FDA).

One death you may of heard of was a 17-year old track star named Arielle Newman. Arielle experienced the typical sores and pains from being an athlete so she used a topical cream to relieve the pain in her legs. They say she died due to over use in 2007 (Sports). There are also warnings going out about ‘one swallow to kill’. Meaning that this product, if ingested, is extremely dangerous. There has been multiple reports of cats and dogs dieing from consuming these pain relievers and can be fatal to humans if enough is ingested.

From a chiropractic stand point topical pain relievers are especially negative. This is because the creams numb your nerve endings. Unresponsive nerves make it so your brain cannot register that you are in pain. This is tremendously harmful for the body and brain communication. When your body cannot signal to your brain that it is in pain or damaged your body cannot properly heal itself. Let your body heal! That pain or soreness is you healing after a hard days work. By making sure your nervous system is free of subluxations and other inhibitors you are ensuring your health and wellness.

Get Checked. Eat healthy. Exercise. Let your body heal itself.

FDA Alerts Public about Danger of Skin Numbing Products. (2009, January 16). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from

Sports cream warnings urged after teen’s death. (2007, June 13). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from

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