In the field of physical therapy, the road to a patient’s recovery may have many obstacles but often one of the most challenging obstacles is pain. Let’s face it, no one likes or wants it but it is a part of a patient’s overall recovery that cannot be avoided. Conscientious and well-prepared physical therapists are equipped to handle the challenges brought about during this phase of a patient’s recovery. Patients are concerned only with what will alleviate their pain and discomfort. Among the many options for therapy when it comes to pain management is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy – as it applies to physical therapy – is a pain treatment that uses a method of localized freezing temperatures to deaden an irritated nerve. Two of the most popular topical gels are Biofreeze and Sombra Gel.

Biofreeze is so popular in the treatment of pain, inflammation and discomfort that not only it is used by physical therapists, it is also used by chiropractors as well. Some of the advantages of Biofreeze are that it works quickly and is available in many forms such as tubes, wipes, roll-ons, sprays and even in single-application packets. Biofreeze’s active ingredients are carbomer, FD&C blue #1, FD&C yellow #5, glycerine, herbal extract (Ilex paraguariensis), isopropyl alcohol USP, methylparaben, natural camphor USP (for scent), propylene glycol, silicon dioxide, triethaolamine (TEA), purified water USP.

Sombra Gel, on the other hand, does not have the widespread availability of Biofreeze. It comes in pump, jar and roll on form. One of the differences between it and Biofreeze is that it can be more difficult to find, but many massage suppliers do carry it. It comes in a pump, jar and a roll on. Another thing that distinguishes it and Biofreeze is that Sombra Gel contains no artificial colors, fragrances, or alcohol. It is more like a lotion than a gel. Massage therapist prefer it over Biofreeze due to how much easier it is to apply. Among its more natural ingredients are Menthol 3.0%, Aloe Vera Extract, Capsaicin, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Orange Peel Extract and Green Tea Extract. Professionals, whose businesses tend towards a more naturalistic approach to therapy, prefer it over Biofreeze. As far as the most important factor of all – its ability to relieve pain – many professionals rank them as being nearly even.

Because some people prefer one over the other, we at Team Medical have an ample supply of both Biofreeze and Sombra Gel and sell them in their many forms. Yes, both will continue to be useful tools for physical therapist and others trained in helping patients who have suffered from some form of injury. It is up to physical therapist to be prepared to meet the challenge of pain management no matter which gel they or their patients prefer.