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Menthol vs Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Creams

January 11, 2018 4 min read

Menthol vs Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Creams

For many years the medical sciences and technology fields have committed themselves to making our lives easier and more manageable by bringing the intense levels of modern life and activities to a less and less stressful point. On the other hand, life is not getting easier, and the intensity of modern activities and its many responsibilities take their toll on us producing several categories of pain and physical inconveniences that compromise our wellbeing thus disrupting our routines and tasks.

Every activity, be it working, gardening, exercising, housecleaning, shopping, etc. has the potential to produce pain when done excessively. Handling the pain is then a major concern if we want to keep up with what we are doing. Pain can interfere with our concentration, our ability to perform and to learn, and, again, our perceived happiness.

It´s possible to devise or learn strategies to make these pain-inducing activities easier, for example: using our bodies more intelligently, being aware of our movement and routines, improving the way we move (especially during repetitive tasks), simplifying the number of actions, and adopting good body postures. It´s incredible how much we can improve and reduce our daily pain by paying a little more attention to our body and what we do with it.

These activities and stress producing situations can induce pain problems of various degrees of seriousness, from a light, low backache to sore muscles to inflamed fingers, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

A popular way to deal with these problems, at least in their initial stages of light pain, is by using creams or ointments.

There are two big categories of pain relieving products widely used to treat local discomfort: menthol as a localized ointment and the group of chondroitin-glucosamine-MSM creams and oral supplements. Let´s review each.

Menthol is an organic chemical derived from peppermint oil, mint or eucalyptus; it also can be synthetically made from thyme. It has many uses in health care, in food flavoring, and the tobacco, liquor and makeup industries. In medicine, menthol is used mainly in the form of ointments, cough treatment, and breathing relievers.

Menthol has several properties which make it a popular pain reliever. When applied to the skin it triggers a chemical reaction in the skin´s cold receptors producing this way a very known and comforting cooling and refreshing sensation. At the same time, it activates the opioid receptors inducing a decrease in pain sensitivity. Menthol also blocks neural activity channels reducing further the transmission of pain sensations. For all this, menthol has always enjoyed a very popular acceptance of pain treatment. However, as pain reliever menthol is just a topical reliever, it would lessen the inconvenience but nothing more. It would act only as a numbing factor.

So menthol should be viewed, as best, as a helper to reduce pain while other treatments are considered or while waiting for those other treatments to act. Most pain relieving brands use Menthol as the primary ingredient to temporarily alleviate pain.

Let´s talk about a newer alternative, the use of chondroitin-glucosamine and MSM cream such as Workvie Work Pain Relief Therapy Cream.

Chondroitin, chemically known as chondroitin sulfate, is a natural component of cartilages made of a molecular chain of sugars which gives the cartilage strength. It is made naturally by the body, but it can be supplemented topically or orally. It also can be made in a laboratory from animal’s cartilage. In most cases is combined with glucosamine.

Glucosamine, an amino-sugar, is also a natural part of a healthy joint cartilage and is derived from the exoskeletons of lobsters, crayfish, crabs, prawns and other crustaceans. The most natural presentation of glucosamine is also a sulfate that shows anti-inflammatory properties.

MSM, methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur carrying molecule naturally produced in the human body very important in various biological processes, and, as a dietary supplement, is used to improve the immune system, for inflammation treatment, and to restore body tissue, especially collagen.

It is important to note that all three of the molecules described above, chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM, are sulfur compounds which is an all-important mineral for many body functions. Sulfur is not mentioned very often, but it is the third most abundant mineral in the human body, behind calcium and phosphorus. It is a basic component of amino acids, a potent antioxidant, excellent anti-inflammatory; it is present in skin, muscle, bones, hair, nails, cartilage and connective tissue. There are studies which relate sulfur deficiencies to the surging of Alzheimer’s disease, heart problems, cancer, and ADD: attention deficit disorder.

The combination of Glucosamine-Chondroitin-MSM reduce inflammation that often pinches nerves and causes pain. It goes beyond just a temporary numbing sensation to improve longer term wellness. In the case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, this powerful combination reduces the inflammation of the carpal tunnel to find relief. In a cream format, the ingredients are applied directly to the pain areas and the effect is not diluted throughout the body. This makes it a better alternative to only menthol based pain relief creams. Now is easy to see why this group of supplements composed of chondroitin-glucosamine and MSM, are a much better alternative than menthol to treat muscle or joint pain. They help not only to relieve discomfort and to ache but also in the restorative process by bringing down the inflammation, lessening the amount of pain and facilitating the generation of new tissue.

 

This article is not intended to substitute the advice of a medical professional. Please consult a doctor.

Glucosamine is not recommended for patients with diabetes, pregnant or nursing women, or children.

 

REFERENCES:

  • Kraemer, William J., et al. “A cetylated fatty acid topical cream with menthol reduces pain and improves functional performance in individuals with arthritis.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 19.2 (2005): 475.
  • Clegg, Daniel O., et al. “Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and the two in combination for painful knee osteoarthritis.” N engl j Med 2006.354 (2006): 795-808.
  • McKay, Lawrence, et al. “Effect of a topical herbal cream on the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 9.3 (2003): 164-169.
  • Kelly, Gregory S. “The role of glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfates in the treatment of degenerative joint disease.” Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic 3.1 (1998): 27-39.

 

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