A couple of months ago a supplement company that I do some writing for sent me a bottle of Therapain Plus® to try because they wanted me to research and write about it. I was happy to try it but skeptical about how well it might work. In my experience, most topical pain relievers have three negatives: they are stinky and/or sticky, their effectiveness doesn't last very long, and they're not practical for the all-over body pain of fibromyalgia.
My Personal Therapain Plus Experience
In addition to the body-wide aching, which is a daily occurrence with FM, more severe pain sometimes develops somewhere in my body – it may be my arm, hip, shoulder – you never know where it might crop up. So I set the bottle of Therapain Plus aside to wait for one of those migrating pains to rear its ugly head.
Two weeks later, it made its appearance. I had been working at my computer for several hours when a sharp, burning pain – located just to the right of my spine where my neck meets my shoulder – grabbed my attention. That sometimes happens when I sit at the computer too long without taking breaks. (Yes, I know better – shame on me.) Typically, nothing will ease that pain short of leaving the computer and resting for several hours. But since I was working on a job deadline, resting was not an option. I didn't know how I was going to finish my work.
Then I remembered the Therapain Plus and tried rubbing some into the painful area. Within a couple of minutes, the pain had eased up and I went back to work. I got involved in the article I was writing and didn't think about the pain again until after I finished the job several hours later. I suddenly realized that not only had the pain disappeared, it didn't come back again. Needless to say, I was quite surprised and very pleased!
Since that first experience, every time another painful spot pops up, I reach for the Therapain Plus. Thus far it has worked well every time.
The Story Behind the Product
After experiencing such unusually good results, I was anxious to learn more about the specific ingredients and how the product came to be. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Therapain Plus was originally created to help people with fibromyalgia! Now I was really interested in knowing more.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Rick Swartzburg, a chiropractor from Thousand Oaks, California, who developed Therapain Plus in an effort to help his wife who has fibromyalgia. For the first few years following her diagnosis in 1996, they tried a number of different treatments - including more than 100 different topical pain relievers - but nothing was giving her significant or lasting relief.
One of the better products his wife had tried was called Therapain. However, she felt it was too strong on her skin and the effects didn't last long enough. Dr. Swartzburg researched the ingredients and had some ideas that he thought would improve the product, so he contacted the manufacturers. Working with their biochemists, he developed a new, more effective formulation dubbed Therapain Plus.
Dr. Swartzburg reports that his wife has improved so much since using the Therapain Plus regularly, that she is currently back to "near normal." Dr. Swartzburg also began using Therapain Plus with his patients – not only those with fibromyalgia, but also with patients who had a wide variety of both acute and chronic pain problems. He was amazed to find that virtually every one of them reported a significant reduction in pain.
What Makes It Work
According to Dr. Swartzburg, the reason Therapain Plus seems to work so well is its unique combination of ingredients. The ingredients are completely natural; there are no artificial chemicals. It is a liquid so there are no thick, waxy substances that could impede its delivery through the skin. Each ingredient was chosen for its pain relieving effectiveness and/or its ability to promote fast absorption.
Three of the ingredients merit particular attention:
1. L-menthol 2% – Menthol is an organic compound obtained from peppermint oil. It has been used for many years as a pain reliever and is a frequent ingredient in topical analgesics. Menthol reduces pain by:
- Blocking pain messages from traveling through the central nervous system.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Causing blood vessels in the area to widen, increasing blood flow and aiding in cellular repair.
2. Glucosamine – Glucosamine, a precursor in the formation of chondroitin, is a key substance in the process of rebuilding cartilage. It has long been known for its use as an osteoarthritis treatment.
3. MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) – MSM is a sulfur compound found in all living things. [Note: Sulfur should not be confused with sulfa drugs, to which some people are allergic.] About half of all the sulfur in the body is concentrated in the muscles, skin and bones. When tissue cells become rigid, swollen and inflamed, the result is pressure and pain. One of MSM's primary functions is to restore flexibility and permeability to cell walls, allowing fluids to pass through more easily. This reduces the pressure buildup in cells that causes inflammation and pain.
Glucosamine and MSM work well together. When combined, they have the potential to relieve pain and help replace worn or damaged cartilage in joints, ligaments and tendons with healthy, flexible new cells. It's important to note that Therapain Plus contains the highest combined concentration of glucosamine and MSM in a topical solution - 14,000 mg.
How to Apply Therapain Plus
Since Therapain Plus comes in a spray bottle, it may seem obvious that you would apply it by spraying it on. Actually, that is one of it's positive features – because it's a spray, it's easier to apply to hard-to-reach spots. Of course, it will work well if you just spray it on any painful areas. However, for even faster absorption, Dr. Swartzburg recommends lightly rubbing it in. And for longer-lasting relief, he also suggests applying several coats, allowing each coat to dry for a minute or two before adding the next coat.
I specifically asked Dr. Swartzburg how his wife uses the Therapain Plus because we don't typically think of using a topical analgesic as a primary form of pain relief for fibromyalgia. As some of you have told me, due to the all-over body pain, you'd have to take a bath in it.
He said that she uses on the areas that give her the most problem, which in her case is her neck, back and shoulders. Every night before she goes to bed, he gently rubs several coats of Therapain Plus into those areas. He says that she now sleeps well and awakens feeling better. Although it can be used up to four times a day, Dr. Swartzburg says that for most people, applying it before bed and one time during the day is usually all that is needed.
Summing up my thoughts on Therapain Plus
In addition to the fact that Therapain Plus relieves my pain, which is its most attractive feature, there are several other positives I like:
- It's all natural. And none of the ingredients are processed or heated in any way, which would decrease their effectiveness.
- It's non-greasy, it dries quickly and doesn't stain my clothes.
- There is no strong, lingering odor. It has a light, pleasant smell that fades away quickly.
- It doesn't burn like some topical analgesics. There is a nice cooling sensation at first, followed by a slight warming as the pain eases away.
Therapain Plus will definitely continue to be my topical analgesic of choice for targed pain relief and I plan to try it as Dr. Swartzburg suggested for the all-over body aches and pains of FM.
As of now, I believe Therapain Plus is only available online. Here are links to two sites I trust that carry it or you can do a search for other outlets as well:
Therapain Plus at ProHealth (This is the company for whom I wrote the researched article on Therapain Plus.)
Therapain Plus at Relief Mart (Dr. Swartzburg is affiliated with this site.)
Published On: May 29, 2011