Anyone that participates in athletic activities knows that there are some items you need to have in your athletic bag. Regardless of what age you are, a muscle sprain, strain or contusion can happen. There's nothing worse than having a muscle injury in a tightly contested game or match. Unfortunately it will happen and you have to be prepared. When you are competing you never know what or when some nagging injury will occur. The important thing is that you have it when you need it. Almost none of the competitors I know desire to quit without the injury is severe I'm sure you'll agree the following 5 kinds of products really are essential for any serious athlete:
I. Before Competition:
My personal favorite pre-sports treatment for muscle aches and pain (especially lower back pain) is a product called ThermoDerm. Most will recall the "atomic balm" most trainers utilized to treat deep muscle injuries. It was a thick, gooey substance that stunk up the locker room and anything it touched. The good thing about "atomic balm" was that it lasted a long time. The advantage of ThermoDerm is that is simple to apply and is a deep penetrating lotion that warms the muscles for a long period of time. Most typical "drug store" products I've tested work for less than an hour. Thermoderm still works after 2 hours. It has very little scent and washes off easily. Thermoderm is very useful for me and I highly recommend it.
II. After a Muscle or Joint Injury:
The muscle pain reliever I've used most after muscle injury occurs is the popular product BioFreeze. I apply BioFreeze on the injured area and wrap it (if at all possible) with an elastic wrap to compress the injured muscle tissue. BioFreeze is also quite effective for the treatment of joint pain, tendinitis, bursitis and arthritis. The cooling effect of BioFreeze helps relieve the pain so you can finish your sporting event. Biofreeze also has very little odor and is also simple to wash off. Biofreeze is available in several different easy to apply containers. Another product I use for minor joint pain is Mueller coolant spray. It provides an immediate cooling effect to ease soreness. The benefit to this product is the fact that it works immediately and easily sprays on the injured area. The disadvantage is that it will not last long or penetrate as deep as BioFreeze. I use the Mueller coolant spray primarily for golf and always carry it inside my golf bag.
III. Tape and Wraps:
The product I've used quite often for different applications has been the great old ace bandage that you can get at any drug store. I like the 4 inch width the best because it can cover more area with less sliding around like smaller size do. The newer versions use Velcro at the end of the wrap so you do not have to use those old pointy clips that scratch your skin.
The newest product is a cohesive elastic bandage. The cohesive elastic bandage ± ± s really a stretchable wrap that sticks to itself. The bandage easily conforms to the body joints large or small. It features special cohesive material that will not stick to the skin or hair, just itself, so removal is painless and easy. It can be easily hand torn so there is no need for scissors or a special dispenser. Another product advancement is Fabrifoam flexible wraps that include a thin layer of flexible insulation for better support and compression.The old standby is standard athletic tape which is used for sprained ankles. Team athletic trainers are "artists" with athletic tape and employ it for any number of different sports injuries.
IV. Cold Therapy:
When you get done with your athletic activity you need to apply cold to your sprain or strain. Cold therapy reduces pain, inflammation and swelling. If ice is not available, I'd recommend an instant chemical cold pack which offers immediate cold without refrigeration or freezing. Simply squeeze the bag to activate and the bag will turn cold. If ice can be obtained I personally use an economic sports ice bag that securely holds cold water, crushed ice, or ice cubes for quick and easy cold therapy. Use an ace bandage to hold the ice bag against your injured body part. Another option is a combination ice bag with an attached adjustable neoprene wrap which enables hands-free application of cold therapy. The thermal neoprene wrap serves the necessary temperature longer and provides adequate compression with strong Velcro closures.
V. Braces (be prepared):
It's a good idea to carry a basic knee brace and an easy to use ankle brace in your bag all the time. Those joints are the key locations that everyone has the most trouble with. A basic knee and ankle brace is usually made of a stretch elastic or neoprene.