A not very scientific review

I am not injured. Generally speaking this is a good thing, but less so when I have been sent some Deep Heat products to try out. Had I been offered them a few weeks ago when my back was dodgy I would have been able to give all three products a good run for their money, but as it is I am relatively unscathed at the moment. Apart from my niggly hip (which serves as a reminder that a foam roller is for life, not just for recovery) and a patch of exczema under my right eye (which is not something that Deep Heat would be good for) I am fit and well.

The Deep Heat range

Luckily Unfortunately, Ginge’s back has been out of sorts this week and he very kindly offered to be a guinea pig in my own personal clinical trial.

The process of gaining informed consent was me ambushing Ginge over breakfast and there was little in the way of ethical approval (I have actually sat through an NHS ethics committee to get approval for my undergraduate dissertation, it was highly traumatic and made me cry. I don’t like to talk about it) (That’s a lie, I do like to talk about it because even 5 years on, I’m quite proud of myself for having done it).

In terms of selecting the sample, the inclusion criteria was that participants should be agreeable to being a little unclothed whilst I maul them a bit. After considering the risk of someone calling the police, I excluded everyone who was outside of our house. Therefore the inclusion criteria was “being married to me” (n=1). If a randomised controlled trial is the gold standard of research, this one was going to be nickel with a splash of decorative rhinestone.
The intervention was selected by me fanning out the three boxes (Deep Heat Max, Deep Relief and Deep Freeze) like a cardigan-wearing Debbie McGee and letting Ginge pick the one that he fancied trying (Deep Relief, which contains both ibuprofen and levomenthol to give a two-pronged attack on the pain). I did consider using a splodge of Colgate as a minty placebo, but realised that this was both unethical and a waste of toothpaste. Sadly we missed the opportunity to test the full efficacy of the product because even though the instructions clearly stated that it should be reapplied three times a day, someone was reluctant to ask his co-workers to assist with this (confidentiality prevents me revealing which participant this was).

The feedback from the study was good. In fact, to quote “it was really, really good”. From two local areas of pain (one more lumbar spine and the other just below his shoulder) the lower one was pain-free for the rest of the day and the other was better for 5 hours or so. His only criticism was that it didn’t seem to sink in properly and felt wet all day (this might have been to do with me putting it on five minutes before he left for work).

Due to the flaws in this study, further testing is required. Not wanting to be left out, I had a go with the Deep Heat Max before going out for yesterday’s run – I wasn’t troubled by my hip and I enjoyed a good run. As for the Deep Freeze, I actually used this when my back went because it was good for those mornings when I didn’t have the time to loll around with an ice pack. All three are going to get a place in the bathroom cupboard because inevitably my back will go again (I should really look at some preventative strengthening exercises) or something else will go twang in the future.

Deep Heat Rub provides fast relief from muscular aches and pains; you can use Deep Heat before exercising as part of your warm up regime, or 72 hours after an injury occurs to ease muscular aches. The rub uses heat therapy in a portable and easy to use format, and also contains eucalyptus oil and turpentine oil which help dilate local blood vessels, taking more heat, oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Deep Heat rub comes in 35g, 67g and 100g sizes with RRPs of £2.34, £3.54 and £4.69 respectively.

Deep Freeze Gel is a fast-acting pain relieving gel that has a cooling action and analgesic properties. Use Deep Freeze Gel straight after injury as an ideal alternative to ice in the RICE technique; research shows that Deep Freeze Gel is better tolerated than ice for maintaining prolonged low skin temperature. Deep Freeze gel can also be used at various stages during the recovery of an injured muscle or joint. Deep Freeze Gel is available in 35g or 100g sizes and has an RRP of £2.25 and £4.36 respectively.

Deep Relief is a topical pain relief product containing 2 active ingredients: ibuprofen and levomenthol. Deep Relief acts on both inflammation and interrupting pain signals; levomenthol stimulates the nerves that perceive cold whilst suppressing the nerves that perceive pain, so less or no pain is felt.