Pregnancy pain – cold treatments on test

Can cold treatments relieve pregnancy aches and back pain?

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Have you suffered aches and pains during your pregnancy? If so, you’re not alone. One recent survey by OnePoll found that 75% of pregnant women have lower back pain at some point in their 9 months.

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It’s not really surprising. You’re obviously carrying a lot more weight (not just your baby, but your placenta and lots of fluid), plus your posture and centre of gravity changes. Your body is also awash with the hormone relaxin, which softens your muscles to help you prepare for labour. 

You can’t take many prescription or over-the-counter painkillers in pregnancy, either. Doctors recommend that occasional use of paracetamol is safe, but advise you to avoid ibuprofen and aspirin. However, many of us try not to take chemical painkillers during pregnancy. 

The company behind the well-known Deep Heat muscle pain reliever has created cold treatments – the Deep Freeze range – which avoid the need for oral painkillers. These cold treatments work in two ways: 

  • By lowering your skin and tissue temperature, which helps numb nerve endings. This can reduce pain and swelling
  • The menthol in Deep Freeze is thought to further reduce pain signals

We asked three pregnant MFMers to test three different products – a spray, gel and a patch – to see how much relief it brought to their lower back pain.

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Deep Freeze Cold Patch

What it says:

“Like an ice pack, Deep Freeze Cold Patch works by lowering the temperature of the skin and underlying tissue which helps numb nerve endings and reduces both pain and swelling. It contains menthol, aloe vera and water in a hydro-gel layer which slowly evaporates to produce prolonged cooling relief for up to 3 hours.”

Costs: £1.55 for a single patch and £5.10 for a pack of four patches

What our tester says:

“Very handy as it can be used on the go. You don’t even know it’s there and it provides a constant source of relief until the patch runs out. I had a sickness bug during testing and as a result of dehydration my kidneys became particularly painful and I found the patches worked really well for the pain. It fitted really well in the small of my back.”
Louisa, 22 weeks pregnant 

Score 8/10

Deep Freeze Cold Spray

What it says:

“Provides a convenient way to deliver cooling relief to hard-to-reach spots such as the back, shoulders, feet and ankles. It delivers an instant burst of cooling pain relief, working just like ice. You don’t need to rub it in, so it is convenient to apply.”

Costs: £3.47

What our testers say:

“It relieved my pain initially, but it wore off quite quickly.”
Rosemary, 28 weeks pregnant 

“I couldn’t use it on my own as I couldn’t get arm far enough back round! When the spray was applied it took the pain away but as soon as I stopped spraying, the pain was there again.”
Naomi, 12 weeks pregnant 

Score: 6/10

Deep Freeze Cold Gel

What it says:

“A more convenient and longer-lasting alternative to ice-packs, Deep Freeze Cold Gel combines all the benefits of cold treatment with those of gentle muscle massage. With its cooling, analgesic menthol, Deep Freeze Cold Gel can be effective for up to 60 minutes and is more tolerable than using ice.”

Costs: 

What our tester says: £2.25 for 35g, £4.36 for 100g 

“I struggled to apply this on my own. It was nice while it was being applied – but a few minutes after application, the pain was back.”
Naomi, 12 weeks pregnant 

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Score: 5/10

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