Muscles on Fire? Balms to Douse the Pain

The New York Times—March 9, 2006

Muscle soreness is a great equalizer.  Both regular exercisers and fitness newbies can be plagued by postworkout aches if their muscles “are not conditioned enough, not warmed up enough or not iced after exercise,” said Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., who practices sports medicine at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Athletes have long turned to strong-smelling ointments like Tiger Balm to ease pain.  In the past year, high-end skin-care companies have introduced new muscle rubs with pleasing odors and herbal ingredients.

Dr. Metzl, who is training for his 11th Boston Marathon, tested six products on his sore calves and Achilles tendons to see if they briefly dulled his aches.  He found them generally effective but cautioned that for persistent aches even the best topical creams are no substitute for medical attention because they just mask pain.

View an Internet version of The New York Times article.

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