Tools of the Trade: Lazy and Cheap Pain Management

September 7, 2008 at 8:11 pm | Posted in General Health, Injury, Product Review | 11 Comments

For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I suffer from chronic knee problems. My bad left knee is the primary reason that I’ve waited so long to finally train for a marathon. So far, so good *knocks on wood*.

I’ve already discussed how I treat and prevent this knee pain: Trigger Point and ARTmuscle corrective exercises, and a training method that allows my body to rest. 

But I cannot believe that I’ve left out two key products that I use to control and treat my knee pain. For those of you with milder pain who don’t want to spend a lot of money on Trigger Point and Active Release Technique, and don’t want to spend the time on a bunch of exercises, here’s a lazy, cheap, non-alcoholic way to treat and prevent.

Behold, the Lazy Runner’s Ice Pack.

That black tail-looking thing is a velcro strap. I keep this in my freezer, and after I run and shower I wrap it around my knee and then continue getting ready for work. No sitting around wasting time while holding an ice pack on my leg. This one is from CVS Pharmacy.  

Next, a more exotic product.

Allow me to introduce you to Absorbine. And yes, it does say “Veterinary Liniment Gel” on the front. It’s for arthritic horses, and it’s Ben-Gay + Icy Hot to the 8 billionth power. And it smells better. Slightly. As in your significant other will only move to the other side of the mattress instead of to the couch if you wear this to bed.

It’s great and very inexpensive. I got my bottle at my local feed store. If you do not live somewhere with a local feed store (you poor, deprived thing), I believe they have a website.

Yes, horse liniment. You heard it hear first, people.


I also take a Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplement. I’m not sure if it’s working, but I’m afraid to discontinue use while my knee is doing well. When choosing a supplement, make sure to check that it contains glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. If it says HCL anywhere on the label, don’t buy that kind. It won’t work.

I also take omega essential fatty acid supplements. These are good for you for many reasons, but in terms of pain management, they are a natural anti-inflammatory. That means they will make your joints feel gooood. I also make attempts to incorporate these fats into my diet. It’s best if you also eat a lot of foods rich in vitamin C, which will aid in muscle repair.



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  1. i am intrigued/tempted to try the glucosamine/chondroitin thing too. i may hit pubmed and see what kind of evidence is out there 🙂 if there is ANY suggestion that it might help, as long as there are no side effects, i think it would be a good idea (for hip joints rather than knees in my case!)

  2. I do the g/c thing too.

    and I started when I started giving it to my aging black lab 🙂

    we did different pills but it seemed to work so well for his poor knees I wanted to give it a try!!

  3. jess,
    we talked a while back about figuring out how many calories are necessary each day to fuel long runs and daily activities. There’s a website I like,, that had a daily needs calculator. I think its a pretty good estimate. At first I thought it was a little high, but I’ve found that when I up my calories a bit, my body actually burns more. Maybe I haven’t been eating enough? and you certainly don’t need to worry about a few extra calories with the miles your doing.

  4. Wow, veterinary liniment! That’s pretty funny. Hopefully I won’t have to look for it. I don’t want to jinx myself, because I’ve had knee issues in the past, but not since I started taking glucosamine/chondroitin, fish oil, and another supplement called Zyflamend. Hope yours stay strong and that all these things really are working!

  5. Sarah: If Pubmed says anything interesting, let me know.
    MizFit: Knowing that it helped your lab is going to make me keep taking it.
    Sara: I’ve seen that one! There seems to be so much variation in the online calculators. I think the higher estimates might be better for runners.
    tfh: Zyflamend? Hmm…need to look it up.

  6. […] Notes: I had a great run yesterday, but the speed and hills really wiped out my legs. This morning’s run was slow and relaxed in preparation for tomorrow’s 18-miler, which I am desperately hoping to finish before the expected wind and rain comes tearing through. I even picked a route with fewer hills. The focus of my Friday runs is never on that actual run, but always on the long run the next morning. Poor little leggies; I can’t wait to get them home and cover them in Absorbine. […]

  7. […] and gave me some Biofreeze samples. Biofreeze is a topical pain-relieving gel similar to Absorbine, but umm…for humans. I put some on about 90 minutes ago and my foot is still […]

  8. […] my CVS ice pack underneath my foot to ice the plantar fascia and a bag of frozen broccoli on top. I wrapped the […]

  9. […] right glute, however, still feels strange while running. Not painful, but tight. Guess where I put Absorbine last night? Don’t try it unless you absolutely must. I was so, so […]

  10. […] I’m freezing because I covered my legs in Absorbine. I’m huddled under a blanket. I’m almost out of Absorbine so I need to buy […]

  11. Well I don’t know why everyone is so doubtful about the use and effects of this Absorbine Veterinary Liniment and the Power Gel on Humans. As a young child of only twelve years of age I was inflicted with problems with my knees Doctors had told me that these where sports injuries caused by playing to much sports however because of an underlying ailment that caused these infections not to heal I was in constant pain 24/7 day and night
    I had tried and used almost every product on the market and had countless visits to see orthopedic specialists at the medical arts building in Edmonton AB. The Doctors had even injected my knees with cortisone in the hops of relieving my constant pain
    one day when I had run out of my supply of regular Absorbine Jr and Arthritic pain ointment I was feeding the horses up at the barn and had noticed the bottle of Absorbine Veterinary Liniment and decided to try it instead well I am now forty eight years old and have been using it since for my aches and pains and have never found anything else that works as well as this product I have also been using the Power Gel for the past few months and find its effects to be really helpful in treating my aches and pains I would hope that the company that developed this product would do further testing on Humans with severe pain in there joints due to Arthritis and what ever other ailments that may cause them pain
    I find this produce to be a wonderful aid in the relief of chronic pain and discomfort and will continue to use if for the rest of my life even if it is meant for my horse;)

    And I have never felt any side effects yet in almost 36 years and use it daily

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