Review of Penetrex Inflammation Formulation
I am a big fan of “Tiger” balm from South East Asia. As a kid growing up I always had this massaged over my aches and pain at night to wake up with much relief the next day. I spoke to my tennis buddies and also personal trainers at the facility so that they could recommend some products. I ended up trying various oral NSAID(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and anti-inflammatory creams hoping they would provide relief. The creams did feel good upon application but shortly after I felt soreness was back. It probably felt good initially because of the warm or cold effect they had.
Penetrex is a transdermal NSAID. The huge advantage is that the drug passes through the skin directly to the affected area. I found Penetrex on Amazon and one of the user reviews caught my eye. Dave one of the verified reviewers of this product on Amazon shared a side-effect of using oral NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). It turns out he was dead on. Oral NSAID is the most commonly prescribed medication for pain relief and inflammation. Over 103,000 individuals are hospitalized for oral NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications every year and more than 16,000 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone.
I ended up digging further and found a research comparing oral NSAID with transdermal(topical) NSAID. A team of UCSD professors had conducted and published paper on this in 2010. In short, transdermal NSAID is much safer and effective than its counter part.
Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 3 inches ; 2.1 ounces
Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
Sale Price: $19.95 compared to List Price: $24.95
My Experience with applying Penetrex
When I came across this cream and applied it for the first time, I felt something was different about it. This cream is odorless and didn’t have any hot or cold sensation. I was not sure initially and didn’t have any expectations. I tried it for the first time after playing a tennis match and then applying the cream before bed. Woke up next day with still some soreness in the elbow. As you can guess I was not initially impressed so decided to read the instructions at the back to see if I had missed anything. Turns out for this to really work you will need to apply the cream multiple times in the day. The recommendation is to apply the cream 3 – 4 times for at least 7 -10 days. After doing this within a few days my elbow started to feel better. I ensured that I just didn’t apply the cream, but also massaged so that the my skin absorbs every bit of it. What really worked well for me to was to apply this cream before and after playing tennis.
There are over 3300 reviews where others have reaped the same benefit.
Note: This cream can also be used in the treatment to provide relief for a variety of stress induced ailments such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Bursitis, Arthritis, Shin Splints, Plantar Fasciitis, Sciatica, Back Pain, Neuropathy, Gout, etc. and is not limited to tennis elbow.
Penetrex Active Ingredients
There are numerous chemical compounds that make up this unique anti-inflammatory cream. I only talk about the main ones:
- Pyridoxine aka Vitamin B6
- MSM aka Methylsulfonylmethane
It is a plant belonging to the sunflower family. It has been used for medicinal purposes for the past 5 centuries. The primary use is to treat and soothe muscle aches, inflammation and common injuries such as sprains and bruises.
Precautions:Excess use over long period may irritate the skin and cause eczema, peeling, blisters and other skin conditions. Those that have sensitive skin and/or allergic should consult with their healthcare professional prior to using it.
Do not consume arnica by mouth as it may result in serious side effects.
About Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6 main purpose is to create neurotransmitters that is needed for normal brain development and function. Prior research had shown that B6 may reduce inflammation but newer research seem to believe otherwise. The research doctors for Penetrex believe that vitamin B6 deficiency may also be a reason for repetitive strain injuries such as tennis elbow.
Precautions:Traditionally vitamin b6 is taken orally. Large dosage can make a person feel clumsy and/or feel numb in hands and feet. It is unclear if used in a topical cream can cause the same side-effects.
About MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
It is believed that sulfur is important for both strength and maintenance of joint tissue such as tendons, ligaments and muscle. Sulfur is the primary component in MSM. So by popular beliefs doctors advise patients to take MSM as a supplement or topical gel to prevent damage. When rigid fibrous tissues swell and inflame, it causes pressure and pain. MSM can restore flexibility and permeability to cell walls allowing harmful toxins and lactic acid to flow out and nutrients to flow in.
Precautions:Oral overdose of MSM can cause diarrhea, vomiting and headaches. It is not known if the same may occur when used over skin.
- University of California, San Diego: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2003/07_11_Bracker.html
- University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/arnica
- Amazon Penetrex User Reviews
- How Stuff Works: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/msm2.htm
- Penetrex Official Site: http://www.penetrex.com/index.htm
Related: Read my post comparing Penetrex with its competitors before you buy.