While you are training, cross-training, competing, and racing, your body can become incredibly physically exhausted and your muscles, tendons, or joints will ache.
Over anything else, it is most important to really listen to your body and your health care professionals. If there is something that is too painful to continue training or running on you might want to rest and take a break from your training.
If the pain you are facing is a soreness, tightness, or stiffness, then a pain-relieving gel, lotion, or balm could be helpful to your recovery and your training.
This article will help you to learn between Icy Hot and Tiger Balm, which pain-relieving cream is best for you and your training.
Icy Hot vs Tiger Balm
The biggest difference is that Icy Hot contains 30%-40% active ingredients including methyl salicylate where Tiger Balm uses 60% active ingredients making it slightly stronger.
Methyl Salicylate is an organic compound that is methyl ester of salicylic acid and can irritate skin. So if you have sensitive skin, I would recommend Tiger Balm.
Let's dig in a little deeper:
There are multiple different kinds of pain-relieving creams, or gels, but two of the most popular brands of pain-relieving creams are Icy Hot and Tiger Balm.
Both have similar results among athletes and what they claim their products do, so how are these products the same and how are they different?
What is Icy Hot?
Icy Hot is a product that comes in creams, gels, and balms that can be used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints, for example arthritis, backache, sprains, and muscle soreness and tightness.
Read our full review Icy Hot here.
Menthol and methyl salicylate, two of the active ingredients, are known as common counterirritants.
They work by causing the skin to feel cool and then warm which causes your pain receptors to temporarily numb or decrease the pain you are feeling.
How does Icy Hot work?
The active ingredients in Icy Hot formulations are menthol or a combination of menthol and methyl salicylate. These specific ingredients help to cause a cooling sensation that is followed by a warming sensation.
This sensation distracts you from the pain by blocking pain signals sent to the brain to decrease the pain you are actually feeling.
What are the primary ingredients in Icy Hot?
Icy Hot formulations include FDA permitted active ingredients to help to relieve minor pain. Icy Hot products contain menthol, a combination of menthol and camphor, and a combination of menthol and methyl salicylate.
Menthol and methyl salicylate are both considered active ingredients and work together to relieve pain. The camphor is used often times to in place of methyl salicylate in other icy hot products to reduce pain.
What are some possible side effects?
Pain-reliever creams and patches can burn the skin, cautions FDA. Pain-relieving products applied to the skin, such as Bengay and Icy Hot, can help relieve muscle and joint aches, but in rare cases, they can cause severe chemical burns, the Food and Drug Administration recently warned.
If used in excess they could become dangerous, and if you notice any kind of rash, that could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
You should seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible.
- INCLUDES: Four (4) 3.5-oz. jar of Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relieving Balm
- PAIN RELIEF: Use Icy Hot Balm for back pain relief, shoulder pain relief, muscle pain relief and joint pain relief in minutes
- EXTRA STRENGTH: This pain relief balm helps relieve minor pains associated with arthritis, sprains, bruises and muscle cramps
- NON-GREASY FOR LESS MESS: Massage in Icy Hot Extra Strength Balm for powerful, non-greasy pain relief
- AMERICA'S #1 TOPICAL PAIN RELIEVER: Icy Hot is the number-one topical pain relief brand* *among OTC topical analgesics
What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm is a product that comes in a balm-like salve that helps to relieve and alleviate pain and soreness in muscles and joints caused by perfectly healthy situations such as running or working out as well as situations such as alleviating the pain caused by arthritis or sprains.
The product helps relieve pain by creating a numbing effect on your skin in the area in which the balm is applied.
Tiger Balm can also be applied to the throat or chest area in order to help aid in decreasing congestion and the common effects associated with colds or the flu.
How does Tiger Balm work?
Tiger Balm works by tricking nerve endings with cooling and heating sensations, interrupting other signals from muscle pain or itchy insect bites.
It is much stronger than anything else on the market. While Icy Hot contains from 30%-40% active ingredients, Tiger Balm contains about 60% active ingredients.
What are the primary ingredients in Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm contains 60% active ingredients, including natural camphor, mint oil, cajuput oil, menthol and clove oil.
While this seems like a lot of active ingredient content in the product, this does not mean that the product will have negative effects on your skin or that you will be putting a bunch of chemicals on your skin.
You can see in the ingredient list that most of the ingredients used are natural ingredients such as oils.
What are some possible side effects?
There are some side effects that can occur with this product if you are allergic to any one of the ingredients.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
You should immediately call your doctor and stop using Tiger Balm if you experience severe burning, stinging, or irritation after using this medicine, or breathing problems after using this medicine on the chest or throat.
- INSTANT RELIEF. TIGER BALM Pain Relieving Ointment, Sports Ultra is formulated to provide temporary relief from minor aches in the muscles and joints
- WORKS WHERE IT HURTS. For over 100 years, TIGER BALM has been used to soothe discomfort associated with overexertion, backaches, arthritis, strains, and sprains
- INGREDIENTS. This sports rub ointment is made with camphor (11%), menthol (11%), cajuput oil, cassia oil, clove oil, dementholized mint oil, and paraffin petrolatum
- FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY. Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes. Do not apply to open wounds or damaged skin. Do not bandage or use a heating pad with this ointment
- HOW TO USE. TIGER BALM Pain Relieving Ointment, Sports Ultra should be rubbed onto the affected area 3–4 times per day.
Icy Hot vs Tiger Balm: Wrap Up
These two different products are both incredibly helpful pain-relieving gels that can be incredibly beneficial to your training.
Always remember to seek professional medical advice and help if you are injured.
If you are not injured, both can be used throughout your training before runs and/or workouts in order to help decrease pain and soreness.
I also recommend Tiger Balm for a wider range of issues such as congestion or colds, not just athletic or arthritic pain.
If you prefer to use Icy Hot and have more sensitive skin, they do sell products that do not contain methyl salicylate and instead contain camphor which is a more naturally occurring ingredient.
Hopefully, this article will help you to better understand the similarities and differences between the two pain-relieving products to better your training.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.
Last update on 2022-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API