If you don’t know about Salonpas, it’s about time you learned. Their products are made in Japan, and I actually have no idea how to pronounce them. (Is the last “s” silent? Who knows!) They have a whole line of products, but for a recent bout of muscle pain I tried the “Pain Relief Patch,” which adheres to your skin and could best be described as a cleaner equivalent of having Icy Hot or Bengay on all day.
I have scoliosis, and one of the many consequences of this is that my shoulder and back muscles can get pulled (or at least, really sore) from relatively minor strain. The unevenness of my back puts more stress on one side of me than the other, so it’s easier for the muscles on my right side to get hurt. I had Salonpas in my medicine cabinet because I’d gotten a free promotional sample of it. I live in New York, where there are always people handing out free samples, and in this case I’m glad I took it.
The adhesive itself is great; it never loosened or peeled off at all, and thanks to the flexible material of the patch I frequently forgot I was wearing it. The flipside of the excellent stickiness is that you have to be really careful when you place it. I have never had to completely remove the patch and replace it, but I am certain that doing so would make the adhesive much weaker over the course of your day.
There’s also the weird experience of trying to pinpoint your muscle pain. Before adhering the patch for the first time, I kind of rolled my head and shoulders around to ascertain where the epicenter was, so to speak. I’m not sure you need to be laser-accurate, but if you’re a stickler like me, it can be kind of a challenge.
I found myself massaging the patch a few times during the day, which had the pleasant (real or imagined) effect of giving a little tingly menthol boost. But I also noticed how light the methol smell was. I work in an office and I never felt insecure that any of my coworkers were going to get a huge wave of minty smell when I walked by.
Overall, I was really happy with the results. The patch provided all-day pain relief, and it didn’t hurt to peel off at the end of the day. After two days I didn’t need to use one at all. Of course, I can’t say that my recovery was due to the patch; it’s for pain relief, not for curing any condition. However, if my muscle pain was destined to be brief either way, using the patch definitely made those two days more comfortable for me. I would recommend it for anyone with muscle strain or soreness, particularly those who would rather not take oral pain medication.
Be sure to read the warnings carefully. They include unexpected things like “Don’t wear more than one patch at once” and “Don’t use with a heating pad.” The second one is pretty important because I would imagine there’s a large overlap of people who use heating pads and people who give the Salonpas patches a try.
And of course, you should feel free to try other brands; I only specified this brand because it is the one I used, and I found it really effective. If you would recommend another brand as well, feel free to shout it out in the comments.