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Topical pain reliever effective for knee osteoarthritis

Nov. 13, Akron, OH Researchers in Louisville, Kentucky recently studied the effects of Biofreeze Pain Reliever on patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) and found the decline in pain during functional tasks to be clinically significant. The results of the study were published in September ahead of print in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy.

November 12, 2012  By Massage Therapy Canada

OA is a
common health problem with symptoms including reduced functioning and joint
pain. Prolonged pharmacological management of knee OA is associated with side
effects including gastrointestinal, renal and neurological dysfunction.

purpose of this study, led by Dr. Robert Topp, was to evaluate the ability to
complete functional tasks among patients with knee OA pain after a topical
application of either 3.5 per cent menthol gel (Biofreeze Pain Reliever) or an
inert placebo gel. Dr. Topp had previously
published studies on the mechanisms of Biofreeze topical analgesic, as well as
exercise interventions using Thera-Band
resistance products in knee osteoarthritis patients.

Twenty knee arthritis patients performed
five functional tasks after applying Biofreeze Pain Reliever or a placebo gel
on separate days. The researchers recorded changes in performance and pain with
each functional task in both conditions. The subjects performed the following
functional tasks: six minute walk, timed get up and go, 30-second timed chair
stand, and time to ascend and descend a flight of stairs.


Biofreeze Pain
Reliever significantly decreased pain in four of five functional tasks, whereas
the placebo did not reduce pain in any of the functional tasks. Also, applying
Biofreeze to the arthritic knee resulted in improved performance in three out
of five functional tasks, whereas the placebo improved only one of the five
functional tasks. Statistically, there were no significant differences between
the Biofreeze and placebo in pain or performance; however, according to the
researchers, “The declines in pain
during the functional tasks appear to be clinically significant ranging from 27
per cent to 37 per cent decline in pain following the application (


Menthol, the active
ingredient in Biofreeze, is thought to reduce pain through biochemical
mechanisms by stimulating cold receptors. The study’s authors concluded, “Using
topical menthol to compliment standard pharmacological treatment of knee OA may
contribute to enhanced pain relief and improve functional ability, particularly
during pain-evoking activities.”

is available through Performance Health, which also features Thera-Band and Pedigenix products. In addition to products for rehabilitation
professionals, Performance Health provides practice building support,
evidence-based protocols, clinical and product education, turn-key dispensing
and pain management solutions.  For
more information on these studies, Biofreeze or Performance Health, please


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