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Treating Muscle Pain

Do sports creams really work against muscle pain?
Submitted by FitnessEditor

They might make you feel warm and tingly, but most rubs won't take the pain away. A recent review of studies found that topical pain relievers containing salicylate, an ingredient related to aspirin and found in products such as Bengay, are no better than placebos as painkillers. Creams that have anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen may be more effective, but physical therapy is a better Rx for nagging aches, says Angela Smith, MD, former president of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis. "When pain resurfaces, it often means the injury never completely healed," Dr. Smith says. "Even old injuries frequently respond well to PT."

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