Best Anti Inflammatory Gels For Recovery & Relief
When training hard, you always run the risk of overdoing it or suffering an unfortunate accident.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should suffer the painful consequences. Anti-inflammatory
gels are not only good at mitigating the pain from these injuries but can, in some cases, also be
medicated to help you recover faster.
In this product review article, we look at some of our favourite anti-inflammatory gels for
recovery and pain relief. So, let’s get you back to your old self as soon as possible and with as
little suffering as possible with one of these great products.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
Very safe product
Deep Heat Heat Rub
Effective for most users
Polar frost ® Pain Relief Gel
Voltarol Back and Muscle Pain Relief Gel
Provides complete relief
Deep Freeze Pain Relief Cold Gel
A good alternative to Deep Heat
Extremely effective pain relief and anti-inflammation
The 6 Best Anti-Inflammatory Gels for Recovery and Pain Relief
Deep Heat certainly needs no introduction. It’s by far the most recognisable brand of anti-inflammatory pain relief creams, gels, sprays and even roll-ons. Anyone who has taken part in sports, especially at school, has probably already used it more than once. And for them, the merits of this product should be obvious.
Deep Heat Heat Rub is Deep Heat’s most famous product. It relies on the soothing power of heat to loosen up cramping muscles, thereby relieving pain. As you might well know, it provides quite an intense heat that can hinge on a burning sensation depending on how sensitive your skin is. While it’s rated safe, it might not be bearable for everyone. At the very least, you should keep it away from all sensitive areas.
Despite the brand name, it’s still one of the most affordable products on this list, which probably contributes to its popularity. This product is a non-greasy cream that can be applied directly to the affected area. You can also use it before exercising if you have an injured muscle or are recovering.
And so, we plunge straight from the sweltering Deep Heat Heat Rub into the freezing temperatures of Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel. As you have no doubt already guessed, the approach taken is the opposite of the previous product, although it produces similar results. This product is one of the top-rated among professionals as a topical analgesic.
One application can provide pain relief for up to three hours (some even say 6), which is fantastic if you have persistent pain that just doesn’t seem to go away. It is entirely free of any NSAID (steroidal substance) and is made with USP grade ingredients. Because the product is free of any anti-inflammatory drugs, it’s should also be safe for use if you already take these orally. It works just as well for sore joints as it does for muscular pain and can even be used for arthritis.
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel works great as part of a sports massage to relieve muscle pain and help you recover. Conveniently, you can buy this product in either gel, spray or roll-on form as well as in various sizes and packages.
Although this pain relief gel comes from Polar Frost, a lesser-known brand, it’s still a great product. The evidence of this comes from our hands-on experience as well as the overwhelmingly positive reviews from other customers. It’s based heavily on natural ingredients, two of which are menthol and aloe vera, which result in a soothing and very cooling sensation.
It’s a long-lasting product and 3 applications can give you up to 8 hours of respite. It’s ideal for treating anything from arthritis to joint stiffness to muscle soreness and chronic pain. This product has a very general spectrum of uses. It might not provide relief from pain stiffness, and discomfort as quickly as some of the other products, but it’s perfect for minor discomfort. Besides, it’s a small price to pay for going au naturale.
The use of natural ingredients also means it’s non-greasy/waxy and won’t stain your clothing. Polar Frost Pain Relief Gel is one of the least expensive products on this list and provides a very good bang for your buck.
Voltarol is another well-known name when it comes to gels and creams such as these. It’s a super-effective product that is said to provide up to 3x the relief of non-medicated alternatives. In fact, it’s potent enough that it’s encouraged to be used to relieve back pain, which can be quite a challenge.
Its efficacy also means you only need to apply a tiny amount to the affected area. However, it also means that you might not be able to use it if you take other pain or an anti-inflammatory medication like NSAIDs, aspirin, diclofenac, etc. It may not be suitable for everyone, so always make sure to read the label and consult a doctor before using this product.
Because it contains diclofenac diethyl ammonium, Voltarol doesn’t just provide relief as a result of warming or cooling your muscle tissue; it actually targets the pain at its source. This kind of penetration offers terrific relief. However, the effect doesn’t last as long as other gels. You should also carefully read the usage instructions, and don’t exceed them.
Although they are better known for their heat treatment products (one of which we have featured on this list), Deep Heat also creates highly effective cold gels to target muscle pain. Just like its hot brother, Deep Freeze is good at providing fast and intense relief to the target area. The cooling sensation is also quite intense but shouldn’t be uncomfortable for some like Deep Heat.
Generally speaking, cold gels are better after an impact injury and for use straight after the injury occurs. Heat cream is better for warming up muscles or relieving stiffness and pain later on. Many sports people use these two together to treat discomfort. You will also be pleased to hear that Deep Freeze doesn’t carry the same strong smell that Deep Heat does.
However, just like Deep Heat, Deep Freeze doesn’t last as long as some other products. You also should read the label carefully to see whether you suffer from any conditions or are taking any medication that is incompatible with it. It costs almost exactly the same as Deep Heat, which means it’s just as good a value for money.
If you are in need of a high amount of pain relief, then this should be the first product on your radar. It’s a medicinal cold gel that features 2 NSAID painkillers—Ibuprofen and Levomenthol. This means that it provides clinically proven, fast-acting, deep-penetrating and near instantaneous pain relief for even intense discomfort. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the Ibuprofen.
As a result of its NSAID properties, you will have to choose between this gel and oral analgesics to relieve your pain. As always, carefully read the leaflet for more information on whether or not this product is safe and suitable for you to use. It comes in a relatively small 50 g tube, but because it’s a strong product, you only need to use a small amount at a time. Pay careful attention to usage limits.
Deep Relief Cold Gel a good alternative to taking oral medication as it reduces your risk of developing side effects due to prolonged use.
Whenever choosing an anti-inflammatory gel for pain relief and recovery, you should always carefully consider the following 3 questions:
- Do I want a cooling or heating gel?
- How intense is the pain that I need relief from?
- Am I currently using any pain relief medication or analgesics?
Most cooling gels won’t interfere with your other medication and usually consist, at least partly, of natural products. Polar Frost and Biofreeze are good examples. However, you have the option to go with a stronger cooling product like the Deep Freeze or Deep Relief if you aren’t using medication and need something with a bit more oomph.
Heating gels like Voltarol and Deep Heat usually provide swift and penetrating relief. However, they might be a bit too hot for some to handle and you should be very careful to keep them from sensitive areas.
We liked the Deep Heat most. Sometimes, something is so popular and widely used for a good reason. Deep Heat provides superior relief and performance for something that comes at such an affordable price.