I am quickly turning into an old man with aches and pains that Ben-gay can't touch. Sadly, I have upped the dosage on those athletic rubs to their maximum and even the strongest of them is no more effective than putting a stick of spearmint gum on my knee. So I have moved on to the rough stuff - Capsaicin. The active ingredient is the same pepper compounds as you'll find in mace. Yes the pepper spray used to incapacitate bad guys and grandmas with bad attitudes (both sprayed just before the eventual tasing). Anyhow, so I used this stuff in earnest and in copious amounts last night and here are some things I learned that might have been nice to know beforehand:
1) If you are going to take a bath so hot you could make human broth, do not apply directly after. Apparently the heat opens your pores creating direct pathways to your nerves. Imagine pouring hot sauce into a hole in your skin and you can't wash it off.
2) Soap and water are a good start in removing excess cream, but time is a better mellowing agent. Even after washing, you still might transfer some of it to another body part if it is physically heated, includes extended contact, or vigorous rubbing.
3) Gentlemen, beware not to fiddle, even mindlessly. You may love hot peppers on your hot dog but you won't want mace on your wiener.
4) Unless you enjoy the stinging nettle sensation of a Jellyfish tickle session, then there should be no reason to ever apply the cream to the back of your knee or the inside of your elbow.
5) If you take a shower the next day in water hot enough to steam sterilize silverware and brew coffee, then the heat may reactivate the cream even the next day.
6) If you are putting cream on your lower appendages, make sure it is after you at least have underwear on. Pulling on clothes could transfer the cream to other parts of the body along the path. See #4.
7) You know you're not supposed to scratch the area before or after application. That is common sense because you don't want to break the skin. Don't forget though, that scratching the area would deposit the cream under your fingernails. And you don't really want that stuff burning under your fingertips. The feeling of shooting fireballs from your fingers in cool in a magic show or on a cartoon.