If you could rub a magic lamp to make a genie appear, would one of your first wishes be relief from your pain?
Well, the little spray bottle that contains Therapain Plus® may not be a magic lamp, but rubbing its contents into painful areas of your body may just grant your wish.
Originally created to help fibromyalgia patients, this FDA-registered pain reliever is an all-natural topical analgesic that can also be effective for a wide variety of acute and chronic pain conditions. In addition to fibromyalgia, it may help relieve pain from arthritis, neck and backaches, muscle stiffness and soreness, sprains, strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, tendonitis, bursitis, shingles, athletic injuries and more.
How Therapain Plus Came To Be
Dr. Rick Swartzburg, a chiropractor in Thousand Oaks, California, is always looking for ways to help relieve his patients’ pain without drugs. This goal became an especially personal one for him in 1996 when his wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Over the next few years, they tried a number of different treatments – including more than 100 different topical pain relievers – but nothing was giving her significant or lasting relief. As Dr. Swartzburg researched the various ingredients used in the topical pain relievers, he found that many of them contained a thick and sometimes waxy base that actually slowed down the product’s absorption. And a few even contained chemicals the State of California considers to be cancer-causing.
One of the better products his wife tried was Therapain. However, she felt it was too strong on the skin and the effects didn’t last long enough. Dr. Swartzburg 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 known as Therapain Plus.
Mrs. Swartzburg found that using Therapain Plus before she goes to bed at night is extremely effective for her, and she actually awakes feeling better in the morning, which is very unusual for someone with fibromyalgia. Dr. Swartzburg reports she has improved so much since using the Therapain Plus regularly, that she is currently back to “near normal.”
Of course, Dr. Swartzburg also began using it with his patients who had a wide variety of pain issues. He was amazed to find that virtually every one of them reported a significant reduction in pain.
What Makes Therapain Plus Different
The key factor that makes Therapain Plus different from other topical analgesics is its unique combination of ingredients. The ingredients are all natural. There are no artificial chemicals or thick, waxy substances that could impede delivery through the skin. Each ingredient was chosen based on solid research showing its pain relieving effectiveness and/or its ability to promote fast absorption.
The following three ingredients are particularly noteworthy.
Natural L-menthol 2%
L-menthol (usually referred to as just 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 works in three ways to reduce pain:
1. It blocks pain messages from traveling through the central nervous system. In 2002 Italian researchers found that menthol is endowed with analgesic properties that work by activating specific kappa-opioid receptors, which inhibit or block pain messages being sent to the brain.(1)
2. It reduces inflammation. Menthol calms the pain caused by inflammation. A 1998 study showed that menthol significantly suppressed the production of three inflammation mediators.(2)
3. It triggers vasodilation. Menthol causes blood vessels in the area to widen, increasing blood flow and aiding in cellular repair. It also reduces the skin barrier function, allowing the menthol as well as other active ingredients to permeate the skin and work faster. A 2006 study demonstrated that a topical formulation of ibuprofen combined with menthol delivered the ibuprofen to the body faster than topical ibuprofen alone.(3)
Therapain Plus uses 2% natural menthol, strong enough for effective pain relief, but mild enough to feel comfortable upon application.
Glucosamine, a precursor in the formation of chondroitin, is a key substance in the process of rebuilding cartilage.
Glucosamine sulphate has long been known for its use as an osteoarthritis treatment. In 2001, the results of a three-year study to determine the effectiveness of glucosamine for osteoarthritis was published in the Lancet. Half of the participants took 1500 mg of glucosamine sulphate and the other half took a placebo.
By the end of the study, the 106 patients who took the placebo showed progressive joint-space narrowing and a slight worsening of symptoms. However, the 106 patients who took the glucosamine had no significant joint-space loss and reported improvement in their symptoms.(4)
Many oral glucosamine supplements also contain chondroitin. But chondroitin is not really a good option for a topical pain reliever because it is a very large molecule that is not readily absorbed by the cells. Glucosamine, on the other hand, is a very small molecule which is easily absorbed. In fact, studies show that 90%-98% of glucosamine is absorbed compared to only 0%-13% of chrondroitin.(5)
And glucosamine works well with MSM. When combined, MSM and glucosamine have the potential to relieve pain and help replace worn or damaged cartilage in joints, ligaments and tendons with healthy, flexible new cells.
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)
MSM is a natural sulfur compound found in all living things. [Note: Sulfur should not be confused with sulfa drugs, to which some people are allergic.] MSM was first isolated by Robert Herschler and Dr. Stanley Jacob of the University of Oregon Medical School in the early 80’s. Their research found that sulfonyl (the sulfur in MSM) is as safe and important to our bodies as vitamin C.
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.
In his book, The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain, Dr. Jacob and associates say that MSM is a safe, natural remedy for pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis, bursitis, TMJ, carpel tunnel syndrome, and many more conditions.(6)
Although MSM is best known as an oral supplement, Dr. Swartzburg found a way to use it effectively in a topical application. While testing various amounts of MSM for Therapain Plus, he found that the more MSM he used, the better the patients did. As a result, Therapain Plus contains the highest amount of MSM possible without altering its structure.
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Putting Therapain Plus to the Test
I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Therapain Plus in relieving pain. I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago when my neck/shoulder area was extremely painful from sitting at the computer for too long at one time. Typically when that happens, nothing will ease the pain short of leaving the computer and resting for a few hours. But since I had a job deadline, resting was not an option.
Remembering the Therapain Plus, I tried rubbing some into the painful area. Within a couple of minutes, the pain had eased up and I went back to work. I didn’t think about the pain again until after I had finished several hours later. I suddenly realized that not only had the pain disappeared, it didn’t come back again. Since that first experience, I’ve used Therapain Plus several more times on other painful areas, and each time it relieved the pain very quickly.
We also heard from Aaron, whose hobby is body building. He said, “I have dealt with lower back pain for years from an old weightlifting injury. I have tried many things, some worked really well, some pretty well and some not at all. I can say for sure that Therapain is in the ‘really well’ category. I spray it on my lower back and rub it in and the relief is almost instant and it lasts for hours. I have even used the Therapain in conjunction with my Hi-Dow massager and the two work great together. I have also used Therapain on my shoulders when they are tense.”
Notable Features – Therapain Plus has several special features that make it unique among topical analgesics:
• Non-greasy, dries quickly and won’t stain clothes.
• No strong, lingering odor. The light, pleasant smell usually fades away in less than 20 minutes.
• Contains the highest combined concentration of glucosamine and MSM in a topical solution – 14,000 mg.
• Doesn’t burn like some topical analgesics. You will feel a pleasant, cooling sensation at first, followed by warming pain relief without any burning or numbing.
• No processing or heating of ingredients that would destroy their natural potency.
Application – Therapain Plus comes in a convenient spray bottle and will work well if you just spray it on any painful areas. For faster absorption, Dr. Swartzburg recommends lightly rubbing it in. 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.
In the case of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, Dr. Swartzburg has found that applying several coats of Therapain Plus before going to bed and then once again during the day is usually all that is needed to maintain the pain-relieving effects.
Precautions – Therapain Plus is for external use only.
• Avoid contact with eyes, mouth, genitalia, mucous membrane, irritated and very sensitive skin.
• Do not apply to open wounds or damaged skin.
• Do not bandage tightly.
Contraindications – Check with your doctor before using Therapain Plus if you have poorly controlled diabetes or impaired circulation.
Therapain Plus is an all-natural, FDA-registered topical analgesic that can support significant pain relief for a wide variety of both acute and chronic pain conditions. And people considering Dr. St. Amand’s Guaifenesin Protocol for Fibromyalgia will need to avoid using this product, as it contains salicylates (herb-derived compounds).
* Supplement research writer Karen Lee Richards is the Lead Expert specializing in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS for HealthCentral’s ChronicPainConnection. Karen is co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and was Executive Editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine for four years.
1. Galeotti N, et al. “Menthol: A natural analgesic compound.” Neurosci Lett. 2002 Apr 12;322(3):145-8.
2. Juergens UR, et al. The anti-inflammatory activity of L-menthol compared to mint oil in human monocytes in vitro: a novel perspective for its therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases. European Journal of Medical Research. 1998; 3(12):539-45.
3. Braina, et al. “The Role of Menthol in Skin Penetration from Topical Formulations of Ibuprofen 5% in vivo.” Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2006;19:17-21.
4. Reginster JY, et al. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet. 2001 357: 251-256.
5. Benedikt H. “Chondroitin sulfate: The new arthritis therapy.” Nat Pharm. 1997;1(8):1,22.
6. Jacob, S.W., Lawrence, R.M., & Zucker, M. (1999). The miracle of MSM: the natural solution for pain. Berkely Trade.
Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any condition, illness or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.