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Aspirin Lotions and Analgesic Balms Do Not Heal Injuries

No lotions or creams heal athletic injuries. Most lotions and creams that are advertised to heal muscle injuries contain oil of wintergreen which is methyl salicylate, a type of aspirin that is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream to help block pain. Aspirin may actually delay healing. The pain of muscle injuries comes from the release of prostaglandins which are also part of the first stage of healing. So, when aspirin blocks prostaglandins, it can delay healing.

Aspirin-containing lotions make your skin burn and feel hot by widening the blood vessels in the skin and bringing hot blood to the surface. Menthol containing creams make your skin feel cold. Creams containing aspirin and menthol make your skin feel alternately hot and cold, but they don't help muscles heal. Aloe vera creams don't help muscles heal either.

If you are injured during exercise, stop exercising until you can exercise without pain. If the pain is severe or your injury does not heal in a few weeks, check with a physician. No creams help healing.

Checked 8/9/08

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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