Kentucy-based researchers recently performed a study to evaluate knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients’ ability to complete functional tasks after a topical application of either 3.5% methol gel or an inert placebo gel. The researchers determined that the menthol gel, which in this study was Biofreeze Pain Reliever from Performance Health, Akron, Ohio, led to a clinically significant decline in pain during functional tasks. The results of this study were published in September online ahead of print in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy.
According to the results, Biofreeze significantly decreased pain in four of the five functional tasks, but the placebo did not reduce pain in any of the functional tasks. In addition, applying Biofreeze to the arthritic knee reportedly resulted in improved performance in three of the functional tasks, while the placebo improved only one of the tasks. Although statistically there were no significant differences between Biofreeze and the placebo in pain or performance, the researchers determined that the declines in pain during the functional tasks after participants applied Biofreeze appeared to be clinically significant.
The researchers conclude, “Using topical menthol to compliment standard pharmacological treatment of knee OA may contribute to enhanced pain relief and improve functional ability, particularly during pain-evoking activities.”
[Source: Performance Health]