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If you have ever experienced a sprain, you know how inconvenient it can be to locate some ice and a bag to put it in so that you can apply it to your injury.  After all, not everyone is “lucky” enough to get hurt at a home and have a bag of frozen peas on hand when it happens…

Even if you just have sore muscles from a strenuous workout, experts advise that you apply ice to relieve pain and speed recovery.  Biofreeze is a pain relieving gel that provides the same effect as ice, in a convenient, portable form that doesn’t tie you down.

Biofreeze is an analgesic that is useful for treating not only sprains and sore muscles, but also arthritis and other types of joint pain.  It comes in gel, spray or roll-on form, and is a type of cryotherapy (cold therapy).  Its active ingredient is menthol (from the mint family of plants), which causes your brain to interpret the nerve signals being sent as a sensation of cold, triggering a reduction in inflammation.

The cold therapy of Biofreeze works by causing ligand molecules to attach themselves to your nerve’s cold receptors, which effectively helps to numb the area, interfering with pain signals traveling to the brain.  Its menthol also induces vasodilation, which increases blood flow to the injury (a benefit over icing the area, as icing has the opposite effect), allowing cellular waste products to be swept away more efficiently and for healing oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the cells.

Other herbal ingredients included in Biofreeze are Ilex Paraguariensis (also known as Yerba mate, a plant native to South America with antioxidant properties), Arnica, Calendula, Aloe, Boswellia, Green Tea, Burdock, Lemon Balm and vitamin E.  All of these have been used for centuries in treating tissue injuries such as bruises, sprains and strains.  Camphor, another ingredient in Biofreeze, has both numbing and antiseptic properties.

You can massage the gel into your skin (or apply it with the roll-on or spray) up to four times a day.  It can also be useful before any type of therapy, such as chiropractic care or physical therapy, so as to relieve pain that may interfere with you getting the most out of your treatment.  Although it does not require a prescription, Biofreeze is not sold in stores.  Instead, it is available at the offices of many chiropractors and other health care practitioners who carry it for the benefit of their patients.

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