Care for Soft Tissue Injuries: From Traditional Remedies to Modern Pain Patches


Soft tissue injuries caused by falls, bumps, or similar incidents are often characterized by local swelling and pain. In severe cases, these injuries might lead to bleeding, fractures, dislocations, and even internal organ damage.

In traditional Asian medicine, there’s a term called “activating blood and dissolving stasis.” This pertains to medications or treatments that address blood clots or stagnation. Normally, blood circulates nonstop within our veins and arteries. However, when there’s an issue, blood can clot, forming what’s targeted by these treatments.

In the vast realm of injury treatments, traditional remedies often intersect with modern over-the-counter solutions. In this article, we’ll explore this blend, diving into time-tested treatments and the latest pain patches available in the U.S. market.

Ointments and pain patches for bumps and bruises


Penetrex is an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory pain reliever. It’s great for easing inflammation and pain in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Common uses include tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy.

The formula of Penetrex includes Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM/DMSO2) and Glucosamine Sulfate, both essential for joint and cartilage health. These ingredients are also found in one of America’s top-selling bone health products, Move Free.

Penetrex Joint & Muscle Therapy – Soothing Comfort for Back, Neck, Hands, Feet – Premium Whole Body Rub with Arnica, Vitamin B6 MSM &...
Penetrex Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief Cream
2 Fl Oz / 57g
Arnica (natural remedy for bruises)
Vitamin B6 (anti-inflammatory)
MSM (for cartilage health)
Glucosamine (for cartilage health)
Penetrex Joint & Muscle Therapy Roll On – Soothing Gel for Back, Neck, Hands, Feet – Premium Whole Body Rub with Arnica, Vitamin B6 MSM...
8,906 Reviews
Penetrex Pain Relief Gel (Roll-on)
3 Fl Oz / 89ml
Arnica (natural remedy for bruises)
Vitamin B6 (anti-inflammatory)
MSM (for cartilage health)
Glucosamine (for cartilage health)


Bengay is a topical remedy for muscle and joint pain. It contains ingredients like Methyl Salicylate and Menthol that penetrate the skin to soothe discomforts like muscle soreness, strains, and sprains. Apply Bengay by massaging it into painful areas. It’s for external use only—avoid eyes, mouth, and open wounds.

Bengay Ultra Strength Topical Pain Relief Cream, Non-Greasy Topical Analgesic for Minor Arthritis, Muscle, Joint, and Back Pain, Camphor,...
Bengay Ultra Strength Pain Relieving Cream
4 oz / 113g
Camphor 4% (pain relief)
Menthol 10% (pain relief)
Methyl Salicylate 30% (anti-inflammatory, pain relief)
Bengay Pain Relieving Lidocaine Cream, Non-Greasy Topical Analgesic Cream with The Maximum Strength Numbing Relief of 4% Lidocaine HCl,...
Bengay Lidocaine Pain Relief Cream (Jasmine Scented)
3 oz / 85g
Lidocaine 4% (local anesthetic/pain relief)


Neosporin is a topical antibiotic ointment typically used for minor skin injuries like cuts, scrapes, and burns. Its main ingredients—Neomycin, Bacitracin Zinc, and Polymyxin B—help prevent and treat bacterial infections, accelerate skin healing, and prevent scar formation.

After cleaning and disinfecting the affected area, apply a small amount of Neosporin and cover with a bandage or gauze. Remember, it’s only for external use. Avoid the eyes, inside of the mouth, and deep open wounds. If the wound gets infected or other symptoms persist, consult a doctor.

Neosporin Original First Aid Antibiotic Ointment with Bacitracin Zinc For Infection Protection, Wound Care Treatment & Scar Appearance...
Neosporin Antibiotic Ointment
0.5 oz / 14.2g
Bacitracin Zinc 400 units (for skin infections)
Neomycin 3.5mg (for skin infections)
Polymyxin B 5,000 units (antibacterial)
Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Cream, 1 Oz
Neosporin Antibiotic/Pain Relief Ointment
1 oz / 28.3g
Pramoxine 10mg (pain relief)
Neomycin 3.5mg (for skin infections)
Polymyxin B 10,000 units (antibacterial)

Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm, known as a universal ointment, primarily contains camphor and menthol. While camphor provides mild pain relief, menthol offers a cooling sensation on the skin. It’s commonly used for headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, rheumatism, and soft tissue injuries. There are two types:

Note that while Tiger Balm is legal in the U.S., the FDA doesn’t regulate its use. Marketed as a natural remedy, it’s essentially a topical medication and should be used as directed. If symptoms persist after a week of use, consult a medical professional.

Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Ointment, Extra Strength, 0.63 Ounce, Cinnamon Yellow (Pack of 1)
Tiger Balm Extra Strength Pain Relief Ointment
0.63 oz / 18g
Camphor (for pain relief)
Menthol (for pain relief)
Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Patch, 5 Count
5,771 Reviews
Tiger Balm Pain Relief Patches
4×2.75 inches / pack of 5
Camphor 80mg (for pain relief)
Menthol 24mg (for pain relief)
Capsicum Extract 16mg (for promoting blood circulation)


Biofreeze is an OTC pain relief gel/patch primarily containing menthol. It effectively alleviates muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and muscle fatigue. Commonly used for sports injuries, arthritis, muscle spasms, and other pain and inflammation-related issues. Directly applied to the affected area, Biofreeze is also a favorite in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and massage treatments.

Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, Arthritis Pain Reliver, Knee & Lower Back Pain Relief, Sore Muscle Relief, Neck Pain Relief, Pharmacist...
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel (Roll-on)
3 fl oz / 89ml
Menthol 4% (for pain relief)
Biofreeze Pain Relief Patches, Knee & Lower Back Pain Relief Patch, Sore Muscle Relief, Neck Pain Relief, Shoulder Pain Relief, Pharmacist...
18,360 Reviews
Biofreeze 8-Hour Extended Relief Patch
14x10cm, pack of 5
Menthol 5% (for pain relief)

Icy Hot

Icy Hot is a well-known therapeutic product brand in North America. Its main ingredients are lidocaine and menthol, designed to cool and relieve pain, relax muscles, and temporarily ease conditions like arthritis, muscle strains, neck and shoulder pain, and backaches. Icy Hot is also popular in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and massage treatments.

Icy Hot Max Strength Lidocaine Pain Relief Patch (5 Count) Penetrates for Fast, Targeted Relief
Icy Hot 8-Hour Extended Relief Patch
14x10cm, pack of 5
Lidocaine 4% (local anesthetic/pain relief)
Menthol 1% (for pain relief)
Icy Hot Max Strength Pain Relief Spray With Lidocaine Plus Menthol, 4 Ounces
Icy Hot Extended Relief Quick Dry Spray
4 oz / 113g
Lidocaine 4% (local anesthetic/pain relief)
Menthol 1% (for pain relief)

Should I use a cold or hot compress?

Acute injuries include sprains, contusions, falls, or impacts:

  • For acute injuries within the first 6 weeks, it’s usually best to apply ice to constrict blood vessels, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation and bruising.
  • After 6 weeks, a warm compress can help by increasing blood flow, relaxing tight muscles, and easing joint pain – particularly helpful in restoring joint mobility.
  • A hot compress can improve physical movement restrictions. Thus, before rehabilitative exercises, warm up with a hot compress; post-exercise, cool down with ice to prevent inflammation.

Moreover, each compress should last no more than 20 minutes, with a 20-minute gap between applications. For convenience, use professional medical gel patches that can be used repeatedly. Some products can be frozen or heated, making them suitable for both cold and hot applications.

Rester's Choice Gel Cold & Hot Packs (2-Piece Set) Medium 5x10 in. Reusable Warm or Ice Packs for Injuries, Hip, Shoulder, Knee, Back Pain...
Rester’s Choice Gel Cold/Hot Pack
5×10 inches x 2 | Reusable
Used for swelling, bruising, and both hot and cold compresses.

Asian traditional medicines & treatments

Time-tested Asian treatments for bumps and bruises include Yunnan Baiyao, Dieda Wan, Red Flower Oil, which are available in the U.S. as well. Specifically, they are sold at Tak Shing Hong, the largest distributor of Asian traditional herbal medicine and groceraies in America, with brick and mortars stores in California and also online at

Minor pain from injuries can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, either taken orally or applied topically. Oral medications are recommended within 72 hours after the injury to avoid worsening pain and swelling.

Yunnan Baiyao plaster
6.5 x 10cm | Pack of 5
Secret formula, includes herbal ingredients
For bruises, swellings, and rheumatic pain | Topical use

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Dieda Wan
6 pills
Ingredients include Panax notoginseng, Angelica sinensis, Safflower, and Dragon’s Blood
For bumps, bruises, and back sprains | Oral consumption

Imada Red Flower Oil 25ml
Methyl Salicylate (anti-inflammatory, pain relief)
For rheumatic bone pain, injuries, and sprains | Topical use

KGS Wan Hua Oil 30ml
Menthol, Camphor, Methyl Salicylate
For injuries, sprains, and burns | Topical use

Yulam Zhan Hong Hua Pain Relieving Oil 50ml
Camphor, Methyl Salicylate, Saffron, etc.
For back pain, injuries, sprains, and bruises | Topical use

Yulin Zheng Gushui (Sports Pain Relief Liquid) 30ml
Menthol, Camphor
For injuries and post-exercise fatigue relief | Topical use
Angela Liu

Love reading, love running, love binge-watching shows, love vegetarian food.

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