When it comes to joint pain, especially for knees, many people turn to pain relieving balms that can be rubbed in at the source of the pain.

One of the best known balms that is available in virtually every pharmacy is Tiger Balm. There are many other options and they all have different active ingredients. We’ll take a look at some of them and compare.

Why Use a Topical Balm for Relief?
One reason that people prefer a balm is that it can be applied directly at the source of pain, giving relief quickly and bypassing the digestive process. Some people have a difficult time with NSAIDs.

If you are on certain types of prescription medication, you may not be able to take NSAIDs for pain relief because it can interact badly with your prescription medication. If you’ve got ulcers, suffer with gastritis or irritable bowels, then adding something to your stomach is just not the wisest thing to do for you.

You could set an ulcer into a full-blown attack of pain. Stomach bleeding can occur and require surgery.

For these reasons, many people opt for topical balms. Some people even prefer them over an oral medication because they don’t like swallowing pills. Topicals can be very convenient and depending on the active ingredient, can be very relieving as well.

Let’s look at some of the types of balms available and how they stack-up for pain relieving power.

Which One is Best For You?
It largely depends on what the source of pain is and how bad it is as to whether a particular balm will bring you relief. There will also be certain ingredients that you may love or hate, depending on the smell and how they feel for you, individually. Let’s take a look at a few common pain relief balms on the market now.

● Tiger Balm - This is a topical balm that has primary ingredients that include camphor, menthol, cajuput and clove oils. It has a distinct odor but many people swear by it. It has a warming and tingling sensation as it works its way into the skin and begins working on muscle stiffness, aches and pains associated with arthritis, pulled muscles, and strains from injury. 20 million jars of Tiger Balm are sold each year.

It claims to utilize an ancient Chinese herbal recipe for pain relief. For many, the downfall of Tiger Balm, as with many balms for pain, is the smell. Do not use around the eyes, nose, internally and wash hands after use.

● Icy Hot - Long marketed to athletes with sore muscles and those with back pain or arthritis, Icy Hot has been around for many years. Read the warning labels carefully on this one. Do not use with wraps or with heating pads. Active ingredients include menthol, methyl salicylate, with some formulations also containing camphor. This can cause redness to the skin, thus the warnings not to wrap or use a heating pad. Icy Hot has a very distinctive smell that is strong and lasts many hours, typically until being washed away. Again, be very careful to not get this in the eyes, in the nose, and wash hands very carefully after applying so that you don’t accidentally rub your face later.

● BenGay - This is often associated with aging and arthritis. BenGay has been marketed to seniors with hand and back pain for several generations. It is a product meant to treat minor aches and pains. This also uses menthol and methyl salicylate. These ingredients are called counter irritants. They don’t actually do anything to ease your pain. They confuse the body by creating sensations of hot and cool at the same time, which distracts the body from the root pain. It simply changes the focus of the mind but the underlying pain is actually still there. The same ingredients yield the same warnings. Don’t touch your eyes until you wash your hands, don’t use on your face or around your mouth or nose. You should not use these products on children without consulting a doctor as well.

● BioFreeze - This is another brand name, over-the-counter product that contains menthol. Also working as a counter irritant, biofreeze causes the same confusion in the body that gives relief of aches and pains by confusing the body and creating fluctuating hot and cold sensation. Do not use near eyes, ingest it, and be careful not to use it near an open wound. It will really hurt if you do. The menthol will burn and you can wash immediately to reduce the stinging and burning but it absorbs into the skin quickly so it will likely continue burning until it wears off, which could be hours. Be careful where you apply it and don’t let children handle this product.

● Cannabis Balm - This is the only product that differs from the others on this list. Cannabis balms do not work by confusing the body. Cannabis topicals are not intoxicating. You cannot get high from using a cannabis topical balm, lotion, or cream. There is not menthol added to them either. You will not walk into a room and have people whisper that you smell like ‘old person’ because you smell like BenGay. Cannabis topicals do far more for pain because they have an antiseptic quality, work as an immune boost, and also working within the body at a cellular level to actually block pain signals from reaching the brain, effectively reducing pain.

Some cannabis topicals may have essential oils infused into them as well. You may be able to find clove, wintergreen, or even cayenne infused in cannabis oil. If you prefer plain, you’ll find that as well. You can add a few drops of your own essential oils to the cannabis oil for the scent, if you prefer. You can check Otheremedies for more information.

Cannabis topicals work to relieve a variety of things, including:

1. Muscle soreness
2. Tension
3. Localized pain
4. Inflammation
5. Itching
6. Headaches
7. Cramping
8. Dandruff
9. Dermatitis
10. Psoriasis

Cannabis Balms will not burn the skin, and if there are no other oils mixed into it, plain cannabis oil won’t cause any issues with cuts, wounds, or if you get a little in your eye accidentally, you can just flush it out with some water and now be overly concerned. It will not cause damage.

Reactions to cannabis balm, creams or other products are exceedingly rare but could include redness at the sight of application. Other than this, anyone can use cannabis balm, even children with the guidance of an adult.

There is nothing harmful in the products, nor are there any worries about THC highs or addiction, reactions are very rare, and the products work on a myriad of symptoms that the other products simply do not.

Plus, the other products have a lot of warning indications. For example, if you have a pulled muscle, you can use cannabis balm and wrap your injury without discomfort or fear of irritating your skin. You also can use the products with children and around children. Best of all, you can walk around without smelling like a pharmacy and no one will even know that you are using a cannabis balm.

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Author's Bio: 

Hi, there. This is Willie. I am an Amateur travel scholar. Incurable communicator. Health blogger. Unapologetic beer maven. Pop culture fan. Hipster-friendly bacon enthusiast.