Many different herbs, plant compounds and essential oils are used as natural pain relief. Menthol is one of the most common plant-based natural pain relief remedies used around the world.
Chronic pain is incredibly common, from chronic back pain and constant headaches to consistent neck pain or arthritis pain - many people suffer with chronic pain.
Whether this chronic pain is occuring due to a car accident or sports injury, or even if someone has chronic back pain due to their poor posture while working - pain is pain. One thing is for sure: someone with chronic pain will typically be willing to try just about anything to relieve their pain, from natural pain relief creams to alternative therapies such as acupuncture.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that menthol is a common ingredient in many topical pain-relieving creams and ointments.
This is because menthol is one of the most commonly used ingredients when it comes to substances for natural pain relief. In fact, many people who are morally against taking prescription painkillers rely on natural pain-relieving ingredients such as menthol, and menthol is a common choice for a reason. In this article, you’ll find out why and why menthol works for natural pain relief.
Experimenting with Options for Natural Pain Relief
When it comes to natural pain-relievers, you may have to experiment and try many different ingredients before you find one that helps relieve your pain. What works as natural pain relief for one person may not work for another person.
Often, the products that work the best when it comes to natural pain relievers, are products that contain a combination of various natural painkillers. An example of this would be a pain-relieving cream that contains various pain-relieving ingredients, including menthol, cajuput oil, CBD, and more. These ingredients known for natural pain relief can often work together to help relieve someone’s sore neck or other sore body parts.
If you can find natural pain relief methods that work for you, and you don’t need to take prescription painkillers, that could be a major blessing. Prescription painkillers tend to have many unwanted and even dangerous side effects, and they can also lead to addiction. That’s why many people turn to natural pain relievers such as CBD oil, menthol, camphor oil, heat therapy, massage therapy, and more - because this is safer than prescription painkillers.
Below, we’ll review how menthol works as a natural pain reliever, and why.
What is Menthol?
Menthol is a natural chemical found in mint plants such as peppermint. Menthol is known to have cooling properties.
Menthol is what gives mint its "cool" taste and smell, but it can also create a cooling sensation on the skin. Menthol's cooling sensation is due to this organic compound’s ability to trigger the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin.
The cooling properties of menthol are considered very soothing. Menthol is one of the most popular plant-based pain relief compounds.
How Does Menthol Help Relieve Pain?
When a pain cream contains menthol, a cooling sensation will be felt on the skin where it was applied. The cooling sensation can both numb and distract you from the sensation of pain. The numbing effect can also reduce the pain signals sent to your brain.
Menthol is also a counterirritant, as menthol works by causing the skin to cool down briefly, before warming up again, which can improve blood flow. This means that menthol can help prompt better blood flow to the area where it was applied, which promotes healing.
Menthol works as a vasodilator, meaning that it helps blood vessels widen which increases blood flow. Increased blood flow helps with pain because good blood flow is necessary to bring the nutrients needed for cellular repair to the wounded or inflamed area.
Most of the scientific research out there on using menthol as a natural pain relief method focuses on menthol for the relief of minor aches and pains. For example, this research study found that participants with some pain from carpal tunnel syndrome found their pain to be relieved when menthol was used compared to a placebo.
Menthol could therefore be used as a natural remedy for minor aches and pains throughout the joints and muscles, from arthritis and achilles pain to neck pain, muscle soreness, and facial pains.
Menthol Can Help Block Pain Signals Sent to the Brain
Menthol is known to stimulate thermosensitive neurons, which is associated with an analgesic effect. This sports injury research study from 2012 found that menthol-based topical pain relievers applied to a painful area was more effective at relieving pain than applying ice to the area. The study revealed that thermosensitive neurons which are stimulated by moderate cooling from the application of menthol can have an inhibitory effect on the nociceptive afferent neurons and on the dorsal-horn neurons, which conduct pain impulses to the thalamus. In other words, menthol is backed by scientific research as an ingredient that can help block pain signals being sent to the brain.
The thalamus is an important part of the brain that mediates different components and sensations of pain. Muscle soreness, for example, can be soothed with menthol due to its ability to help inhibit pain signals from reaching the brain.
If you struggle with chronic pain, look for a topical pain-relieving cream that lists menthol as one of the natural ingredients.
Your Risk of Experiencing Chronic Pain: Do You Have Higher Genetic Pain Risks?
Not only do some people have a genetically higher or lower pain tolerance, but based on your genetic makeup, you could also have a higher risk of injury.
This is because based on your DNA, you might have a higher risk of injury in certain body parts. For example, some people have a genetically higher likelihood of having very tight achilles tendons. This means they can get hurt easily, even from something simple like going for a hike, and pain can be very common in that achilles tendon and foot area. People with tight achilles tendons need to get very good hiking shoes if they’re going for a hike, especially if they want to avoid pain in that area. If pain does occur, try natural remedies for pain such as rubbing a pain relief cream with menthol and camphor oil in it. Your DNA test from CircleDNA will explain many different possible genetic health risks you should watch out for, along with some fun information about your genetic personality traits, genetic talents, and much more.
- A COMPARISON OF TOPICAL MENTHOL TO ICE ON PAIN, EVOKED TETANIC AND VOLUNTARY FORCE DURING DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS
- Acute Effect of Topical Menthol on Chronic Pain in Slaughterhouse Workers with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Triple-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial - PMC.