What is Aspercreme?
Aspercreme is a topical anesthetic made by the American firm, Chattem, a company that specializes in a variety of pain relief, health-care and beauty products. A number of people suffer from chronic joint and muscle pain that requires one type of a complex treatment or another. While intensive drugs might be treating the problem, they might not be suitable for every patient. Some of the treatments known to be effective in alleviating muscle and joint pain come with risks and potential side effects, sometimes creating problems in the stomach or the kidney due to reactions that are intolerant by the body. This has led to people turning to non-pharmacological interventions and topical products like creams and patches. One such product that is easily available is Aspercreme
This cream is a local anesthetic with active ingredients that the manufacturer claims to be effective for minor arthritis and muscle pain. As a topical ointment, Aspercreme penetrates easily through the skin and ideally reaches to the joints, muscles, connective tissues, and other sections where the pain is felt. Doctors recommended this product to people experiencing pain and inflammation connected with arthritis, backaches, muscle and joint pain, cramps, sprains, strains and in some cases to patients going through chronic pain treatment.
The key ingredient is Trolamine salicylate (10%), however, the product also contains Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerol, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Triethanolamine, Potassium Phosphate, Stearic Acid, Propylparaben, Mineral Oils, and Water.
Trolamine Salicylate is primarily made up of Triethanolamine and Salicylic Acid. Their functions are as follows:
- Salicylic Acid
This component is responsible for 2 things:
1. Reduces swelling and pain
2. Offers protection from the sun
It is primarily responsible for neutralizing acidity in connective tissue.
- Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
It provides the moisturizing effect to keep the skin healthy and hydrated.
There is also a relatively new variant of Aspercreme that come with an additional ingredient known as Lidocaine. In general, Lidocaine is a component used for healing irritation, inflammation, itchiness, and soreness caused by various skin conditions, such as burns, scrapes, and insect bites. It is also an important substance in medicines aimed at reducing the discomforts caused by hemorrhoids.
Working of Aspercreme
Aspercreme carries a chemical known as trolamine salicylate, which belongs to the drug class of salicylates and is commonly used in treating mild aches, pains, or inflammations of joints and muscles. It penetrates thoroughly through the skin and infuses readily with the affected regions. The components of this cream have been clinically proven, however, there isn’t any detailed information about the studies done.
The Lidocaine variant of Aspercreme functions a little differently. It numbs the affected area causing a reduction in pain but only for a short period. The person might need another application after a certain time.
Pros of using Aspercreme
- Aspercreme is a topical formulation which means it only required an external application to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- A non-greasy product that absorbs quickly and easily through the skin
- Contains skin conditioners to keep skin adequately moisturized
- The cream does not burn or cause irritation when applied
- Comes in different sizes to suit different needs
- The tube comes with a convenient flip-top cap
- Easily available at low prices
- The product is manufactured by Chattem, Inc. a subsidiary of the reputable drug company, Sanofi
Cons of Using Aspercreme
- Very little scientific and clinical information on the efficacy of the product
- Is only effective in relieving light to moderate pain
- Can cause allergic reactions for people who are sensitive to aspirin and salicylates. People have identified symptoms such as rashes, hives, inflammation of the face, mouth or tongue, and in worst but rare cases breathing difficulties.
- Must not be used with other topical analgesics
- May not be safe to use on children under 12 and pregnant or breastfeeding women
How to use Aspercreme
For adults and children above the age of 12:
- Apply gently to the affected region.
- Rub into the skin till the cream gets well absorbed.
- Rinse your hand thoroughly immediately after applying the cream
- Repeat as required but do not exceed 4 times a day unless recommended by your doctor
For children below the age of 12:
Please consult a doctor.
It is imperative to notify your doctor or pharmacist first before using the cream since some medical condition can interfere with Aspercreme’s functioning. For instance:
Since it contains Salicylate which is a component not recommended for pregnant women, they must be extremely careful while applying Aspercreme. It is essential not to forget that a small amount of this cream might get absorbed with the blood, which may incite a risk for Reye’s Syndrome if used with oral salicylates. Please be sure, not to apply Aspercreme on open wounds, burns, or damaged skin. Also, try to avoid sunlight immediately after applying the cream. The reason being, sun rays may dry the cream before it is able to penetrate the skin properly.
Be aware that application of the product for prolonged periods may cause a risk of systemic toxicity. Also, read the list of ingredients carefully before using and avoid it if you have an allergy to any of Aspercreme’s components.
While there haven’t been many reports about possible side effects, it is better to consult your doctor if you have a sensitive skin or any kind of skin related allergy. There have been a few individuals claiming to have experience burning and itching sensations.
Aspercreme is for external use only. If, by any chance, it goes into your eyes, mouth, or nostrils, make sure to rinse those areas thoroughly.
Users have stated that Aspercreme comes in an easy-to-use design with a flip top cover and a greaseless texture. Due to the fact that is odorless, it can be used anywhere and at anytime.
A large number of reviews about Aspercreme verify the effectiveness of this product for backaches and other minor pain treatments. There have been reports that even sports people who apply it before any intensive activities feel a lot more relieved when they take rest.
While the number of positive responses is significant, there surely are a large group of consumers who aren’t entirely satisfied with the product. A few have reported burning sensations on their skin in regions where Aspercreme was rubbed. Most patients with chronic or complicated pain conditions say that this cream doesn’t help them at all.
Where can I buy Aspercreme?
Aspercreme is so popular and widely used that it would be extremely difficult not to find one. The product is an OTC (Over-The-Counter) drug, which means there is no need of a prescription from a doctor to buy one. It is readily available in most pharmacies, and retail stores like Walmart, Walgreens, and Target, as well as on most e-commerce websites.
Verdict on Aspercreme
Pain and inflammation are 2 things that millions of people suffer from today on a daily basis. It could be pain caused by an injury, sprain or even a degenerative condition like arthritis. Intensive drug treatment options that are available can have unpleasant side effects which is why a growing number of people are looking for alternative options, one of them being mild topical analgesic formulations, like Aspercreme. There is no doubt that such an option trumps most clinical treatments. But the main concern here is whether it is effective enough or not. Most people describe the relief they get from using Aspercreme equivalent of taking two extra strength aspirins, which means that Aspercreme is effective in relieving mild to moderate pains. It might not be the strongest analgesic solution out there, but it certainly is one of the safest and the cheapest in the market.
Thomas Matthys a former world-class track & field athlete and the founder of Swol Headquarters. He graduated from the University of Fordham with a Master’s degree in Science. Matthys is a certified sports nutritionist and personal coach of several professional athletes. Matthys has been involved in various clinical studies within Track & Field including one on the factors associated with muscle recovery and HIIT.