The World Cup has brought renewed attention to the mysterious


Viewers of the World Cup are seemingly acquainted with the “magic spray” that typically will get whipped out after a participant tumbles to the bottom, writhing in ache from a mid-game damage.

The aerosolized substance garners renewed intrigue on occasion, when staff docs douse gamers with it after which ship them again into motion, seemingly healed. So, how does the spray work, and simply how magical is it?

The sprays generally utilized in these settings don’t truly do any therapeutic, in accordance with specialists. Relatively, they provide momentary chilling and numbing to uninteresting ache.

What’s within the bottle varies from model to model, however the sprays normally include ethyl chloride, a prescription medication used as a topical antiseptic and cooling substance, or methyl salicylate, a counter-irritant that may trigger a cold-and-hot feeling and is often present in over-the-counter rubs like Bengay.

“It’s offering just a little little bit of momentary anesthetic or numbing or freezing of the pores and skin,” mentioned Dr. Shane Davis, a physiatrist specializing in nonoperative sports activities drugs at Tufts Medical Center. “It’s quite a bit like for those who put an ice pack on — you lose sensation of that space, it calms down the ache.”

The relief lasts just some seconds to a few minutes, Davis mentioned, however it’s sufficient to get a participant over that preliminary ache. Different ache reduction interventions like ice packs require extra time to take impact, however in a sport, gamers typically can’t afford to spend 10 or quarter-hour on the sidelines.

For some gamers, the spray can also have a placebo impact. And by the point it wears off, the adrenaline of being again within the sport would possibly additional masks a number of the discomfort.

It’s widespread for soccer players to take impacts in bony areas, which may trigger ache however don’t typically result in lasting accidents. But when a participant suffers a fracture or tear, chilly spray would possibly do extra hurt than good.

“If there may be concern for structural injury or concern that the athlete may make issues worse, that’s the place the choice could be to drag that athlete out,” mentioned Mitch Therriault, a bodily therapist in sports activities drugs at Ohio State Wexner Medical Heart. “But when it’s one thing that’s extra minor or extra of a short-term ache … that’s the place this [spray] comes into play.”

“Magic spray” is extra generally utilized in soccer than different contact sports activities, however not all groups depend on it. The U.S. Soccer Federation, the group that governs the Males’s and Girls’s Nationwide Groups, doesn’t use magic spray, a spokesperson advised NBC Information.

“Some guys truly don’t want it and don’t ever ask for the chilly spray, however some guys have gotten accustomed to utilizing it and understand it helps them,” mentioned Sam Cervantes, the athletic coach for males’s soccer on the College of Pittsburgh. “It’s not one thing that I’m going to leap to, but when any person requested for it, I’ll actually present it for them.”

Outdoors the sports activities world, physicians typically use sprays like ethyl chloride to numb an injection website earlier than inserting a needle.

Most of the people can discover variations of those sprays at drug shops or on-line, bought as “Chilly Spray” or “Ache Aid Spray” by manufacturers like Cramer or MyDerm.

Cervantes mentioned chilly sprays can pose dangers when utilized by untrained customers, although: Their freezing properties can injury the pores and skin when utilized for too lengthy, and the merchandise shouldn’t be used on folks with circumstances that make them susceptible to chilly or that impair their pores and skin sensation.

He added that he doesn’t suppose the ache reduction the spray affords World Cup gamers could be very completely different than the expertise anybody has after rubbing their shin for just a few moments following a collision with a desk or dresser.

“That’s sort of the humorous factor about it,” Cervantes mentioned. “There’s actually no magic to the spray.”


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