In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, we’re sharing two studies done specifically aimed at arthritis pain relief and the addition of topical analgesics like Biofreeze to help.

Study 1: Hand arthritis pain relief

Massage therapy has been a long sought-after method of pain relief for people suffering from arthritis pain. The authors of this study set out to determine whether applying a topical analgesic (Biofreeze®) following massage could be more effective than massage alone in treating pain associated with hand arthritis.

Twenty adults were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy only or a massage therapy plus Biofreeze gel. Regardless of group, each participant received a weekly massage and were instructed how to properly administer a self-massage (same procedure) to be done once daily over four weeks. The massage protocol was as follows:

Field2014

After the four-week experimental period in subjects with hand arthritis, it was shown that the massage plus Biofreeze resulted in:

  • Greater improvement in hand function
  • Greater increase in perceived grip strength
  • Greater decrease in hand pain, depressed mood and sleep disturbances

 

Study 2: Knee osteoarthritis pain relief

Osteoarthritis of the knee is commonly associated with reduced joint function and inevitable pain. The purpose of this study was to compare the ability to complete functional tasks and knee pain while completing functional tasks among patients with knee osteoarthritis after topical application of either Biofreeze or a placebo gel.

Twenty individuals with knee osteoarthritis volunteered to complete two data collection visits one week apart. Subjects underwent:

  • 6-Minute Walk
  • Timed Get Up and Go
  • 30-second timed chair stand
  • Time to ascend a flight of stairs
  • Time to descend a flight of stairs

Immediately after each task, subjects reported their knee pain. Pain and functioning were measured when the patients first arrived at the clinic, then after the application of either Biofreeze or a placebo gel to the arthritic knee.

Biofreeze significantly decreased pain in 4 of 5 functional tasks:

  • Timed Get Up and Go
  • 30-second timed chair stand
  • Stair ascension
  • Stair descent

… whereas the placebo did not reduce pain in any of the functional tasks.

Applying Biofreeze to the arthritic knee also resulted in improved performance in 3 out of 5 functional tasks:

  • 6-Minute Walk
  • 30-second timed chair stand
  • Stair descent

… whereas the placebo only improved stair descent scores.

While, overall, the researchers found no significant differences between the Biofreeze and placebo groups in terms of pain or performance, the authors concluded “using topical menthol to compliment standard pharmacological treatment of knee osteoarthritis may contribute to enhanced pain relief and improve functional ability, particularly during pain-evoking activities.”

The moral of the story: enlist Biofreeze into your “arthritis army” to combat pain more effectively!

Sources:

Field T, et al. 2014. Massage therapy plus topical analgesic is more effective than massage alone for hand arthritis pain J Bodywork Movement Therapies 18:322-325

Topp R, et al. 2013. The Effect of Either Topical Menthol or a Placebo on Functioning and Knee Pain Among Patients With Knee OA J Geriatric Phys Ther 36(2):92-9.

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