My Journey With:

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) ~ Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) ~ Focal Impaired Awareness (Complex Partial) Seizures ~ Fibromyalgia ~ Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) ~ Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ~ TMJ Dysfunction ~ Bipolar Disorder Type I Rapid Cycling With Psychotic Features ~ Migraines ~ Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) ~ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ~ Keratosis Pilaris (KP) ~ Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) ~ Panic Disorder ~ Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) ~ Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) ~ Self-Harm ~ Bilateral Piezogenic Pedal Papules ~ Hashimoto's Thyroiditis ~ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ~ Specific Phobias ~ Chronic Daily Headache ~ Eczema

Friday, February 3, 2012

A is for Aspercreme - a review of OTC topical pain relievers

If you are a long-time reader of my blog, a Facebook friend, a Twitter follower, a YouTube subscriber, or know me in person, you may have noticed that I love Aspercreme.  Let me state, that I am not being paid for this blog.  I just really, really like Aspercreme, so I thought I'd do a blog entry reviewing topical pain relieving creams that I've tried, that you can buy over the counter.  These topical cremes, patches, and lotions are made for mild or moderate pain.  I'm going to be covering the following OTC topical pain relieving products:

  • Biofreeze
  • Freezeit
  • IcyHot
  • IcyHot patch
  • BenGay
  • Stopain spray
  • Flexall 454
  • Salonpas patch
  • Mobisyl
  • Aspercreme creme 
  • Aspercreme creme heat
  • Aspercreme lotion

The first one I want to discuss is Biofreeze.  I just tried Biofreeze for the first time a couple of months ago when I emailed their webiste, asking for a free sample.  I'm not sure if they are still running the free sample program or not, but the homepage for Biofreeze can be found here.  Biofreeze uses Menthol as the active ingredient.  Biofreeze helps a lot, but it makes you uncomfortable because of how hot then cold you get.  It's similar to getting chills.  Biofreeze comes out blue, but doesn't stain your clothes.  The chills eventually reside and the pain relieving properties get to work-but they don't last long.

The next one I want to discuss is the off brand of Biofreeze, called Freezeit.  I used Freezeit a lot before I ever used Biofreeze.  Freezeit gives you worse chills than Biofreeze does, but the pain relieving properties last much longer.  I think Biofreeze relieves more pain, but since it lasts so short, I think I recommend Freezeit.  I like using the roll on kind.  I buy Freezeit from Wal-Mart.

IcyHot is a popular choice and a sort of tried and true topical pain reliever.  Personally, the chills IcyHot gives me are incredibly uncomfortable.  When I use IcyHot and I'm already in pain, it feels like someone is dipping acid on my raw nerves, especially if I am experiencing nerve pain at the time.  I really do not recommend IcyHot.  The Icy part makes me so cold my teeth chatter, and the Hot part makes me so hot I have to take off all my clothes, stick my in the freezer, and I still sweat like crazy.  I really, really don't like IcyHot.

I like IcyHot patches a lot better than IcyHot you get from the tube.  For some reason, IcyHot patches don't give me chills like the IcyHot in the tube.  Instead it seems to put in a constant amount of pain medication into the area of the patch.  I forget I have them on.  They are really comfortable, and they usually stay on quite awhile, unless you put it on a part of your body that moves a lot.  I can even keep them on all day on my mid-back or my hips.  I really like these.

Ben Gay is an old stand-by for many people, causing a lot of "old people" jokes about the elderly smelling like it.  It is a stinky, stinky medicine, but it does work--somewhat.  It burns your skin sometimes, which hurts.  I know to never, ever take a warm or hot shower after rubbing on B en Gay.  Also, do not rub your eyes, do not not cover up with a heating blanket after putting on Ben Gay, and do not put it on your face.

Stopain spray really can lower muscular pain levels, but at the extent of incredible chills and a strong acidic burning sensation on your skin.  The trade-off is too unequal for me, and I choose not to use Stopain.

Flexall 454 was the only way I made it through the physical pain in high school.  I "discovered" Flexall 454 when I was in junior high school.  I'm sure that it didn't help me trying to make friendships.  I don't really remember much about it, except I liked it a lot better than Ben Gay.

I really like Salonas patches.  You can get them really cheap, too.  They work really well at relieving mild to moderate pain.  They stay on really well, I've even had one stay on through a shower.  They don't tear your skin when it comes off (at least it doesn't mine) like a lot of sticky things do to us EDSers.  It doesn't even hurt when you pull of the patch.  The patch is very soft on the outside, but I have to warn you to try and get it flat and exactly where you want it on the first try.  I really like these.

I first tried Mobisyl after my dad's podiatrist recommended it to him because of his heel spurs.  Mobisyl is very good for swelling or arthritis pain, and has the same active ingredients as Aspercreme.  Another advantage Mobisyl has is that it's like a lotion/body butter in a jar, instead of a tube.  So, while it may or may not help those with  fibromyalgia, it will probably help those up us with EDS.  I really like Mobisyl a lot.

I'm going to review three different versions of Aspercreme.  First I want to talk about the "regular" creamy Aspercreme Creme. Aspercreme is my go-to OTC topical pain reliever.  It doesn't smell, it doesn't make you hot, cold, or tingle.  If my pain is at a 7/10 it can take it down to a 6/10, once it took me from an 8/10 to a 6/10.  It's main ingredient is a type of aspirin, and it works really well for inflammation.

Aspercreme Creme Heat is different than regular Aspercreme.  It doesn't have aspirin in it, it only has, menthol as an active ingredient.  Menthol is a heat producing substance that causes tingling and a strong odor. I don't like Aspercreme Heat.


Aspercreme Lotion is great for rubbing into my hands.  I put this on my hands before I slip on my Oval-8s finger splints.  The consistency makes it easy to rub into my hands, feet, wrists, elbows, and knees easily.  I use this almost like regular hand lotion for my hand pain.  It has aloe in it, which leaves your hands soft.  I really can't recommend this highly enough.


  1. Great reviews Amy! I would also recommend Aspercreme as it works really well to relieve pain. Anyway, others can try few different brands and choose the one that works best for you :)-

  2. Great reviews, thank you! I use the Equate brand of aspercreme, works just as well but is less expensive. I've noticed, however, that if I use it on both shoulders, I get the side effect of tinitus, or ringing in the ears. I can live with that, as long as the cream takes away the pain and most of the time it does.

    1. Yeah...overdose of aspirin is characterized by tinitus, so be careful with that.

  3. These reviews are helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love the reviews. I have been using Aspercream for mild to moderate arthritis pain on my hands and knuckles for years. It has always relieved my pain. Again, my arthritis is not real bad but it does gives me pain on a daily basis.

  5. You did not review capzasin. What are your thoughts on this? Or even the home made capsacin lotions?

    1. It's been a long time since I used anything with capsacin, because I found it very painful. Everyone is different, though!

  6. Hi I'm very interested in the regular Aspercreme. I won't buy products tested on animals. Do you know if this company animal tests??

  7. Every product you tested ids loaded with methyl salicylates. google death from pain cream and you will learn what can happen. In this case it was too much ultra BEN GAY with the result being death. MYONATURAL is not that well known but I have been using it for years and it is all natural and the only product I found that delivers long lasting results again and again.

  8. you canalso safely use heat with aspercreme. It will not burn your skin. It works very well with thermacare wraps for back pain.

  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

    Orthopedic Physicians & Knee Therapy CT

  10. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

    Orthopedic Physicians & Knee Therapy CT

  11. you might try and review Icy Hot with Lidocaine (also contains menthol) and Aspercreme with 4% lidocaine (no Menthol)

  12. I prefer to use bio-freeze pain relief gel over any other muscle relaxer. I feel like it's a better balance between hot/cold that helps the muscle.

  13. You said: " If my pain is at a 7/10 it can take it down to a 6/10, once it took me from an 8/10 to a 6/10."
    That (in my opinion) is hardly a change in pain.
    You spoke so highly of this product I would expect you went from 7/10 to 2/10.

    1. For me every tiny bit of pain that's gone is a huge deal. I never go below a 6/10 on the pain scale. One day in 2016 I had a 5/10 pain level.

  14. Aspercream works for me. I can't even feel icy hot on my skin when I tried it.


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