As with other subjective experiences, such as love, fear, or anger, there's no way to objectively measure pain. We asked Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the Pain Management Division and associate professor of anesthesia at Stanford University School of Medicine, to explain the unpleasant sensation we all feel in different ways.
People use arnica as a cream or gel for soothing muscle aches and
inflammations and healing wounds. When applied to the skin, it may improve
healing by decreasing swelling and pain and speeding blood reabsorption.
People also apply arnica to the skin for treatment of acne, boils,
Is it safe?
Arnica is recommended for external use only.
Do not put arnica inside your mouth or swallow it. The plant is poisonous and,
if swallowed, it can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty
breathing, cardiac arrest, and death.
Do not use arnica if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Do not use
it on open wounds or broken skin. Stop using arnica if you develop a skin rash.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate
arnica in the same way it regulates medicine. It can be sold with limited or no
research on how well it works or on its safety.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative product or
if you are thinking about combining one with your conventional medical
treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and
rely only on an alternative product.