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How Do I Choose the Best Heat Rub?

By Alex Newth
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Heat rub is used by many people to help sore muscles and other pains, and there are several things you should look at when choosing such a rub. There are various ingredients that can be used to cause the heat sensation in heat rub, and each one may have a different feeling, smell and texture. Depending on the ingredients, the rub may have common allergens such as peppers or shellfish that can affect you if you are allergic. The rub's carrier also may change how you can use it, because creams and sprays are used differently. Some rubs also specialize in helping a certain type of pain, which may be beneficial, depending on your needs.

The active ingredient in heat rub is the cause of the heat sensation, and there are many different ingredients that can cause this. For example, menthol, shark cartilage, cayenne pepper and peppermint oil can all cause this feeling. At the same time, each one heats the target area in a different way, and they all have different smells and textures. You should choose an active ingredient based on your preference, if you have one.

Heat rub sometimes will contain common allergens that may cause you to swell up or experience other allergic symptoms when using the rub. If you have any sort of allergy, then it may be a good idea to check for allergen information. There are many types of active ingredients, so you typically can avoid experiencing allergic reactions.

Cream is the most common carrier for a heat rub, but there also are several other carriers. There are sprays, swabs and patches, and each is used in different ways. For example, a spray is of a thinner consistency than cream, so it may be easier to absorb, while patches are easier to keep on the target area. While each rub will affect you differently, this mostly is preference-based.

Most heat rub products are made to help with general pains and muscle soreness, but there are some that are specialized to fix specific types of pain. For example, one rub may specialize in night pain while another may be best for athletes. If you are experiencing a specific type of pain, then it might be a good idea to select a specialized rub, but most pain can be treated with a general product.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Drentel — On May 13, 2014

I couldn't survive without my heat rub. I apply some almost daily. Heat rubs pose no danger for the average person. However, I have noticed that when I stay with the same product for a long time, it seems to lose its potency.

When this happens, I simply switch to a different type of rub and I notice a difference. Almost seems like my body become immune to the effects of the rub after a while.

By Animandel — On May 13, 2014

I just want to emphasize what the article says about allergens, and to stress how some components of heat rubs can be dangerous and even deadly in rare cases.

Several years ago, I read a newspaper article about a high school athlete who used too much of a heat rub to reduce muscle pain and died. This is an extreme case, but this story shows the importance of choosing the right product and using it correctly, even when it is sold over the counter.

By Feryll — On May 12, 2014

I once used a heat rub after football practice when I was in high school. I was a little sore and my teammates suggested I give the rub a try because it worked really great. Well, knowing my teammates, I should have been cautious.

I started applying the cream and I couldn't feel anything happening. They told me I needed to apply it heavily or else it wouldn't work, so that's what I did. After about a minute the cream began to work. After two minutes I felt as if my entire body was on fire.

When using a cream, read the directions. Some of them go on cool and then really heat up, and this can be very uncomfortable.

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