Heat vs Cold Pain Relief

Good morning from everyone here at Zims! We make it our mission to help ease the pain of sore muscles so you can get back to your regular workout as quickly as possible. However, the question is often asked “what’s better for pain relief: Heat or cold?” In truth they can both be helpful so we thought we’d go over the pros and cons of both.

Cold treatments such as ice packs, cold compresses and our Zim’s Max Freeze products are helpful for swollen muscles, tenderness and inflammation. According to Dr Anne Rex “…ice wins for acute pain inflammation and swelling. Heat perpetuates the cycle of inflammation and can be harmful.” You can also use an ice pack to help bring down a high fever or other ailments.

Heat treatments such as heated towels, hot water bottles and heated blankets are helpful for treating chronic pain and less for injuries. Any pain that lingers more than 6 months like osteoarthritis or tendinitis can be helped by heat so the muscles can relax and become more comfortable.

The main difference to keep in mind is that ice “constricts blood vessels which numbs pain, relieves inflammation and limits bruising.” Heat, on the other hand, “increases blood flow, which relaxes tight muscles and relieves aching joints” (Chronic Pain) So, you need to ask yourself “what’s the kind of pain I am having? Is it for an injury or something more permanent?”

Which strategy do you prefer for muscle discomfort and pain? Do you have a well thought-out course of action or do you wing it trying a bunch of different approaches each time? Let us know in the comments section.

How to Deal with Spring Gardening Pain

Like many of you, here at Zim’s we love going outside in the beautiful Spring weather this time of the year has to offer. After all, we’ve made it through Winter and now it is time to enjoy fresh air and the world all abloom! One of the best ways to appreciate the glories of Spring is by getting our hands deep into the soil working in our personal or community gardens. Not only do we get delicious food from this practice but we also get to feel the satisfaction of seeing plants grow from a seed to a plant ready to pick. Unfortunately, all these positives can be outweighed by the strain gardening can put on our bodies. Fortunately there are common-sense steps we can put in place to help reduce our risk and make our experience gardening pain free.

The biggest culprit for becoming injured while gardening is in our back. The bending over that happens while pulling weeds or preparing the ground for plants can be hard on our backs and knees. To try and avoid this type of injury make sure you invest in ergonomic gardening tools that are designed to reduce stress on the back. Also take breaks to stretch and move all your muscles around so that your body is more flexible and less likely to be injured.

Pulled and torn muscles be can another problem when we are participating in any athletic event or intense activity for many hours. One helpful tip in avoiding these injuries is to do a variety of tasks using different muscle groups. If your arms are getting tired of pruning a tree or bush than take a break and water the flowers for a bit. There are always multiple tasks to be done in a garden, so shake things up and your body will thank you!

Finally make sure to stay fully hydrated and avoid working in the heat of the day. Even in the Spring or Fall the sun can be draining on the body and can put us at risk of heat exhaustion or more. Making sure we have enough water can be easy to skip especially in humid weather where sometimes we get a false sense of hydration. This is very important because dehydration can contribute to muscle pain and fatigue making our entire experience unpleasant and even dangerous.
If you do get some aches and pains from gardening try our Zim’s™ Max-Freeze cooling gel. It offers long lasting cooling relief and will help you recover so you are ready to take on the next big activity in your life!

When to Use External Analgesics

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You’re sore from your workout. You’re hurting from chronic aches and pains. Maybe you went too hard playing back yard football with the kids and now you’re paying for it. Whatever the source of your achy muscles and joints, you want relief. If you’re looking for a solution besides OTC internal analgesics, external analgesics may be what you need. Also known as topical pain relievers, these products are applied on the skin directly at the source of the pain, rather than going through the digestive system and liver to be disseminated through the body. There are many great reasons to use external analgesics and we’re going to cover them, as well as some of the cons, so you can make the most educated decision possible when looking to relieve your pains and discomforts.

Despite being generally accepted as safe, ingesting internal analgesics can have negative effects on the body, especially the liver. The FDA has some good tips on avoiding liver damage, which include not taking the medication if you consume over a certain amount of alcohol daily and following proper dosage amounts. More powerful ingested pain relievers can have very addictive properties, unfortunately contributing to the opioid epidemic. For these reasons, and others like them, external analgesics are preferred. Zim’s MaxFreeze is non-habit forming and is not digested. Instead, it is applied directly to the source of the pain, outside of the skin.

Along this same line, because external analgesics are applied directly to the location of the pain, they act very quickly. Ingested medications must be processed in the body before being sent out all over. External analgesics are put right on the source and work fast. No pain-relief is wasted on areas that don’t need it. Zim’s offers three convenient means of application: continuous spray for fast, convenient application, roll-on stick for no mess application, and gel for total coverage and absorption.

The biggest downside to many external analgesics is that they have a strong, not-always-pleasant, scent. This usually comes from the primary active ingredient, which could be menthol or salicylate. Zim’s MaxFreeze has a quick vanishing scent, so you can apply it to your sore spots then get on with your day.