I was at REI this weekend cashing in my annual dividend and I picked up a few samples of FlexPower pain relief cream to try out.
Many of us geezers (over 30 years old) experience joint pain after a long day of backpacking. My main trouble spot is my knees, particularly after a day on New Hampshire granite. I normally control my pain by taking Ibuprofen, commonly called Vitamin I, before turning in for the night. There's also the small flask of good bourbon I sometimes bring along. By morning time, the pain is gone and I'm ready to go.
FlexPower looked like an interesting over the counter alternative to Ibuprofen that was worth a try. It comes in a mildly scented cream that combines the heating properties of products like Bengay or Tiger Balm, with aspirin, which is absorbed through your skin when you rub it on. FlexPower also contains MSM and Glucosomine, two nutriceuticals thought to provide anti-inflammatory relief and repair cartilage which cushions the joints.
I am currently suffering from an injury in my upper left bicep caused from indoor rock gym climbing this winter. I am rehabbing it slowly with physical therapy, but it hurts like hell some days. Yesterday I was in a lot of pain and figured I'd give a FlexPower sample a try. Heat helps reduce the pain and accelerates the healing process for this kind of injury.
I applied the FlexPower lotion after taking a shower (recommended by manufacturer) and experienced a strong heating sensation on the parts of my arm and shoulder that I had applied it to. The heating sensation was far more intense than what I experience with Bengay and just on the border of pain & pleasure. However, after an hour or so I still had no discernible reduction in pain from the aspirin. Your mileage may vary. The heating sensation lasted about 2 hours.
The next morning I took a shower and found that the lotion was incredibly difficult to wash off, even after scrubbing with Dr. Bronners. I found this a little disturbing: the stuff sticks to you like glue and becomes very slick when it gets wet.
There's also the scent which I couldn't smell, but is called "Clean Scent" as opposed to unscented. Ah, the mind of a marketer. I guess this is to differentiate it from scented Bengay.
Given what we know about bears, I wouldn't recommend that you take FlexPower on a backpacking trip until FlexPower comes out with an unscented version. Bears are attracted to unnatural smells and might mistake you for food. That's why backpackers like Dr. Bronner's soap so much. I has a natural peppermint smell, which bears supposedly ignore.
FlexPower didn't blow my socks off although it is heavily endorsed by a lot of professional teams and olympic athletes. I don't think the dosage level of the aspirin is high enough for me, and I prefer taking an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen for my knee pain.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.
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