The science of pain relief

Have you ever wondered how pain relief creams work? And how one must use it deal with any muscle tension, pain, straining, or soreness you are going through? In the below article, we will talk about pain relief creams, how they work, and why you need them to relieve you from discomfort you might experience after a rigorous physical exertion.

Let’s know about Relief Creams

Basically, pain relief creams have their own different ways of functioning. The action mechanisms, thus, will vary depend on the ingredient used in the cream. Although, majority of them would contain different combinations of specific ingredients, including but not restricted to:

  • Camphor
  • Menthol
  • Capsaicin
  • Methyl salicylate
  • Benzocaine


  • Menthol and Camphor


Camphor and menthol are the most commonly used ingredients in pain relief creams. They function in two important ways: offering the skin a cooling sensation that is required to heal fast, and by acting on the receptors that aids in providing quick pain relief.

  • Methyl Salicylate

Otherwise known as rubifacient, the medicine is designed to dilate skin capillaries. Thus, it increases blood flow to the injured muscles tissues. Thus, when little amount of this ingredient are absorbed through the skin, they will enter the bloodstream and function in the same way as aspirin.

To this end, the rubifacient will inhibit the COX (cyclooxygenase) enzyme which leads to inflammation. By doing so, the inflammation and pain will decrease.

  • Capsaicin

This chemical is what makes pepper hot. It is harnessed as counter irritant in pain relief creams. Thus, it will cause little irritation where it is applied, which in return distracts your body from any current soreness and pain.

On contact with the skin, such irritation will rid you of substance P from your nerves. Substance P is a neurotransmitter that undertakes the task of transmitting pain signals to the brain. With its absence, your body will stop feeling pain.

  • Benzocaine

This general anesthetic is added to pain relief creams to make the applied area numb. It will restrict nerves from transmitting signals by blocking the sodium channels that offer nerve conduction.