DMSO Uses – pain relief & anti-inflammatory

DMSO has many uses. Sports teams and Olympic athletes use it as a pain killer and to reduce swelling. Arthritis sufferers use it to reduce joint pain and improve their quality of life. It is also being used to prevent herpes outbreaks, treat scar tissue and other skin conditions. Read the many comments on this post to see how people are using this substance for pain relief.

But what is DMSO and why is it so controversial?

DMSO is dimethyl sulfoxide, a by-product in converting trees to paper. It has industrial uses as an antifreeze and as a solvent for a wide range of chemicals. There are also a wide range of medical uses. It has a remarkable capacity to penetrate skin and tissue and enter the bloodstream. It can also carry substances with it into the bloodstream, and while it has a very low index of toxicity, any toxins present from negligent manufacturing processes can be potentially dangerous.

The Side Effects of DMSO

Compared to many other drugs, DMSO is very safe with few side effects. It can cause skin irritation and people who use it will have a garlicky smell for a brief spell after applying it to the skin. You can even taste it a little.

The FDA has only approved it for the treatment of a single rare condition, not because of known side effects, but rather, because there is little evidence of its effectiveness for treating other conditions.

The medical community and the FDA are very concerned by the lack of rigorous research confirming its benefits and ensuring its safe use. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that medical research will get financed because it is not a substance that pharmaceutical companies can patent and earn money on. Further to this, it is difficult to carry out double blind studies because the garlic taste and smell make it impossible to eliminate the placebo effect.

Nonetheless, it is widely used in the former Soviet Union and other countries around the world, and a trial conducted by the Japanese Rheumatism Association concluded that DMSO relieved joint pain and increased range of joint motion and grip strength.

Three Grades of DMSO

There are three grades available: industrial grade (may contain toxins and is not for human use for humans or animals); veterinary grade (widely used for race horses); and medical grade which is classed as a prescription drug.

Because of the lack of FDA approval in the USA, the DMSO that is sold in health food stores and on the internet can only be sold as a solvent. There is no regulation to control how it is manufactured, and for this reason, it is thought by some people to be dangerous to use.

Who makes it?

There is only one manufacturer in the USA, Gaylord, a company based in Louisiana. Gaylord makes DMSO in various grades and they are thought to be pure and safe, however, it remains unapproved by the FDA and, therefore, can only be sold as a solvent to humans.

How to Use

DMSO is available as a cream, gel and liquid in various strengths. The most common strength for most uses is 70% (70/30). It can be applied to the skin to relieve joint pain and reduce swelling. It can be applied to burns to give immediate pain relief.

Anything on the surface of the skin will be carried into the bloodstream, so always take heed to apply to very clean skin. It is best to use your bare hands (not gloves) and wash them well before and after applying.

Some people like to combine DMSO with herbs and essences. Mixing it with any substance should be carried out with great caution because it will carry these substances with it into the bloodstream.

Using DMSO to prevent herpes outbreaks

At the first sign of an outbreak (tingling sensation) apply to the nape of the neck (for sores around the mouth) or at the base of the spine (for genital herpes). Also apply it to the sores themselves. Repeat twice a day for a maximum of three consecutive days. This should prevent a full blown herpes outbreak. If you already have a full-blown outbreak, apply as above to speed up the healing process and relive pain.

For information on the relationship between iron and herpes outbreaks Click Here.

Click here to buy DMSO at a discount!

It is important to note that DMSO is great for treating symptoms, but is not a cure for the underlying cause of a condition. For example, it will kill pain of tendinitis, but it will not cure it. It will prevent herpes outbreaks and reduce the swelling and pain of arthritis, but it does not kill the herpes virus or cure arthritis.

There are many uses for DMSO and many people use it for effective drug free pain relief. However, until the FDA approves its wider use, it will continue to be sold as a solvent to humans. Race horses are luckier – veterinary grade DMSO uses are common practice.

Ref: Dr Jacobs

If you have relevant information to add, or have a question about DMSO, please leave a comment.

Please do not try to leave a comment complimenting this post or this website, or promoting a product you want to sell. It will not be published!

123 responses to “DMSO Uses – pain relief & anti-inflammatory

  1. I Puchased DMSO at a Farm store
    97% roll on
    it says not for humans
    I have RA is it slright to use or
    do i need a less %

  2. Hi Bart, I’ve never seen 97%. It usually comes in 99.9% or 70%. Some people have concerns about farm store DMSO with regard to it’s purity, but other people don’t as I’m sure you have seen in the comments. If you’re not concerned about farm store DMSO you can try it. You might notice a bit of skin irritation (my skin can get itchy, for example) in which case use less or switch to a 70% cream or gel.

  3. Has anyone used dmso with baking soda to rub on skin of topical tumors with hope that it will carry bs into the skin and kill the tumor?

  4. There are some interesting comments on this website
    I hope you find what you’re looking for.

  5. My son introduced DMSO to me nearly 15 yrs ago. I used it to remove one skin cancer from my hand (basel cell) Now I have some more I am working on. Anything that can be used on a million dollar race horse, and professional football players can’t be all bad. And my opinion of the FDA (Fear and Death Administration) is that they are owned by Big Pharma.

  6. Love MSM, have been taking it for nearly 18 years…it relieved overnight pain I had in my right foot relative a car accident which left me with nearly three inches of bone missing. Over the years, the resulting bony incongruity was causing so much pain I could hardly walk. I used MSM and overnight, it must have removed debris, overnight it worked, I was able to flex my foot for the first time in 15 years. Have started using the DSMO gel sold by jabob labs…I agree that the packaging they use is top of the line. They have excellent service all around. I have used DSMO on the back of my neck for pain. I find when I have used it, it smarts—feels like pin pricks. Half an hour application, it is still hurting like that, not unbearable and it makes me think it is working—at something, I know not what. A quick shower to wash off is all that is needed Anybody know what this reaction is? I have not used MSM liquid (Jacob Labs again) for several days and tried the DSMO gel again thinking that there was an overload causing the reaction. But, same results. Again, it makes me think it is a beneficial part, but what the heck is it?

  7. Ive heard WAAAAAAAY more good about it than bad, so I am trying it today for the first time on my tennis elbow. Its the 99.9 % Gel from FWI in Tulsa , Oklahoma. It also says 90% DMSO within the gel, so Im not sure what strength it is, 99.9 or 90?I tried just a tiny little bit on my fingertips at first and noticed the initial inflamation subside within minutes, so later on tonight I rubbed about a teaspoon worth on and see how it works. No garlic taste in my mouth yet. Ill keep everyone posted.

  8. We look forward to hearing how it goes for you Tim!

  9. DMSO is very good for pain. I am a nurse and use it myself and recommend it to my patients. One caution about DMSO, putting it on the body…. and where….. above the waist will cause a stinging or burning sensation. Using it below the waist causes no sensation. Why is this? Don’t know but if the stinging bothers you, just apply it below the waist. It will still help with elevating pain even if the pain you are having is located above the waist.

  10. did any body use it for Carpal tunnel syndrome

  11. Yes Sam, I purchase dmso online and applied it to my wrist for carpal tunnel, and amazinly in about 2 days my pain was gone, I have no more sypmtoms of carpal tunnel, this is some good stuff.

  12. I was introduced to DMSO back in the 70’s when I lived in Oregon were the stuff was discovered. I read the book that was written by Dr. Jacobs as he researched it at OSHU in Portland, OR. I suffered a severe knee injury in 88 and used it as part of my rehab. I can only tell you that my Orthopedic surgeon was most impressed to the extent and speed in which I mended. I still have arthritis as the bone and cartilage will never be like a uninjured knee but I have exceeded my Dr’s goals by a huge margin. I now use DMSO for all kinds of aches and pains and through the years have built up a “tolerance” to the itch and stinging that may bother some. It is a powerful and amazing drug with almost magical powers. Best thing I can tell you is DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!

    The FDA refuses to approve this wonderful drug because it can be unpredictable to the uninformed. It can have some powerful side effects that may not in themselves be harmful but if you are not aware of them you could do more harm than good.
    AGAIN: Do the research and find out the hows and whats to expect. The best surprise is NO surprise. Know what to expect and you will be grateful with the results. That is my best advise from a long time user.

  13. Thanks Bert. It’s great to hear from long time users!

  14. Just curious, for how long after applying DMSO will the skin absorb stuff? Will it only stop after it dries or after it’s washed off? I’m a massage therapist and i’m wondering if it would be affective for relieving muscle pain in addition with the massage?

  15. DMSO absorbs into the skin straight away. I’m not sure when or how it stops absorbing. I would be wary of using DMSO on your clients. It is not an approved substance so you could be opening yourself up to problems if you began experimenting with it. It can also irritate the skin. I personally wouldn’t use it before or during a massage. Possibly after, but a hot bath is much nicer.

  16. Has anybody currently had success using DMSO for tinnitus? I read the research from 1975 but didn’t know if someone personally used it and how did they use it and what results did they get? Thanks for this site. Appreciate the quick reply Brenda.

  17. Sorry Colleen. I can’t help with this one. Can anyone else help?

  18. Will Dmso work for excemia as well?

  19. Susan Anderson

    Can DMSO be used internally?

  20. I only know it as a topical.

  21. I Pollished My motorcycle for 6 hr.s yesterday, which is why I dread cleaning it. Last night my hand was hurting worse than ever. It had bothered me before but never like this. I was awake all night. I took Hydrocodone before bedtime but that didn’t help much. I also tryed Icy/Hot and used and ice pack during the night . Nothing seemed to work. I remembered someone telling me about the DMSO so I went to the feed store and picked up a bottle of 99.7% for only $6.00. I couldnt wait to try it and it worked! I wasn’t completly pain free but I could move my hand and use it after about an hour. I would say I was at leist 70% better which is saying a lot compaired to how it felt before. I would recommend using this to anyone and wish I would have tryed it sooner.

  22. has anyone used it for genital herpes? i heard it works really well, but i am afraid of skin damage. can it damage my skin down there?

  23. yes dmso can be used internally and is safer that way as there won’t be any chance of bringing another chemical into the blood stream. Check out this link

    What I am trying to figure out is can you use it after a joint replacement?

    I also would never use it on anyone but close family and friends- its a good way to be sued!

  24. Sally, It shouldn’t damage skin. Use for three days (2-3 times a day) and then stop for a couple. Apply to the base of the spine and directly on the sores. If you catch the outbreak just as it starts you might stop it from becoming a full outbreak.
    Check out the article on this site about iron and herpes. It’s worth looking into.

  25. thank you. It said it can irritate the skin and i didn’t know if that would lead to skin damage. I also want to ask if genital herpes can only be spread during sex? can it be spread during oral or even by just touching the area with your hand? I also am concered because i have a little baby and i was sharing a towel with him (before i knew i had herpes) and i am scared of him getting it. I’m always constantly washing my hand before i touch him and everything.. i want to have my “normal” relationship back with my son with out worrying that he might get it some how.

  26. i forgot something… can the genital herpes have a effect on your period?

  27. Sally those are all really good questions. First, you should go to your doctor with your questions concerning spreading herpes. The internet is really not the best place when you need reassurance that you are not putting your child in harms way.
    Second, you are right to wash your hands after touching a herpes blister. However, if you haven’t touched a blister or you do not have an outbreak, you do not need to wash your hands before touching your baby. I have raised a child and have not given her herpes. I have been careful when I had an outbreak, but have acted normally when I didn’t have an outbreak. We share towels! I have also never passed the virus on to my husband. While the herpes virus does not live long outside the human body any kind of close physical contact during an outbreak puts your partner at risk.
    Third, I’m not aware that herpes has any impact on your period or conception or anything of that nature. I never noticed any.

  28. what about close physical contact when you do not have a outbreak? I did not know i had genital herpes untill a couple days ago. i just had my first outbreak but it did not look bad. i guess that is what a mild outbreak is? and also when do these terrible flu like symptoms go away! they are kicking my butt! will i always feel like this durring an outbreak or when i am getting one?

  29. Sally, I urge you again to talk to a health professional – a nurse or doctor – so you can find out exactly what you can expect and how you can prevent infecting others. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed – they know how common it is.
    The flu symptoms don’t last forever. Your immune system will get better at fighting the virus. You may find that you get outbreaks when you are run down. The virus sits dormant at the base of the spine until it has a chance to break lose and cause an outbreak. This can happen when you are stressed, not getting enough sleep, not eating healthy food or when your iron is low. Read the other article on this site about iron and herpes. It may help you:

  30. Forgot to add that when I don’t have an outbreak, I live my life like anyone else and don’t worry about it at all.

  31. Iused this DMSO Gel right out of the container on my feet for plantar Facilisis (sp). After everything else and a $500 Chiro bill, this helped along with the PF exercises recommended by everyone. It only hurt/tingled if I got it on my leg and skin above my ankles where I had shaved my legs. I am going to try it for a tingling, aching burning sensation in my arms that I have been told is caused by my liver being overloaded. I am also going to put my daughter with the “cold sore” thing on to the use of it on her neck and spine. Thanks.

  32. I was injured by a horse and my leg was badly broken , had traction pin in lower leg for about a month( long story of hospital errors) got infected so bad I almost lost my leg due to this pin . This caused a huge lump of scar tissue on the bone about the size of a half grapefruit and lots of pain . Years later, I worked for a vet and he noticed me rubbing it due to pain and suggested DMSO. I used it about 2 weeks or less and forgot about it. Later that month he asked about it and I realized the pain was gone and the mass of scar tissue was now a indention on my leg! That was over 15 years ago and no problems!!
    No return of scar tissue or pain.

    by the way if your dog gets snake bitten and the vet wants to use antivenom which costs hundreds a vial, ask him if he is educated enough to use DMSO(medical grade injectable) and Dexamethazone . Most vets use this anyway and charge you for antivenom. Cost difference to the Vet? Antivenom about $200 per vial and the DMSO mix about a dollar or so.
    Also the mix works better in our experience!! We only lost 1 dog to snakebite and that was because the owner did not keep up antibiotics for infection at bite and dog died of infection.

  33. I’ve had nerve damage in my hand for the past 11 years from an injury. My hand hurt at least 4 days a week from it. I started rubbing DMSO on it and now it only hurts maybe twice a month. LOVE it!!!!! I have also used it on cold sores and they’re usually gone within a couple days.

  34. I have heard that people make their own salve from DMSO. I have a 90% gel and I want to try to make my own salve. I sprained my ankle and want to get back on it. Anyone know of things that would be good in the gel. (Ex msm powder??, ibuprofen??,, flexall?) I dont know much about what these would do?? Any help??

  35. I would recommend giving your ankle the time and rest it needs to heal properly. DMSO is a good drugless painkiller on it’s own. I’ve never felt the need to add additional painkillers – sort of defeats the purpose for me. MSM powder works well for joints if you take it orally, I don’t know how well it works for tissue injury such as a sprain.

  36. carl de marco

    can it be used on a open foot blister having a very hard time with this blister its on the inside of my right foot near the under center one pain to heal i do belive in dsmo and down with the f d a
    thanks much carl

  37. My girlfriend was given iron supplements for our baby cause shes pregnant, should she take them?

  38. Does DMSO interact with any other medicines, blood thinners or heart meds.

  39. Iron is important for a healthy pregnancy. If your girlfriend’s doctor has given her iron, she should take it.

  40. I really couldn’t say Chad. Sorry. Check out

  41. Sorry I didn’t get back about this. I do hope your blister is better by now! Can you let us know if you used DMSO and how it worked for you?

  42. Does anyone know if this works on poison ivy?

  43. I am a rancher of 66 years,have had difficulty with artheritis for ten years, mostly in my hands. DMSO has helped, but, I didn’t know what it might do to the rest of my body. Dale

  44. Good question. I’ve never tried DMSO on poison ivy. I hope someone who has leaves a reply.

  45. I would not use DMSO on Poison Ivey. Everything that I have read regarding the usage of DMSO says the area of use must be clean because whatever is on your skin can be carried inside your body. I would think it would cause the Poison Ivey to be carried into your blood steam and that would not be a good thing. Years ago when I was in Boy Scouts someone thought it would be a good idea to burn the weeds we were clearing for our camp sight. The weeds turned out to be Poison Sumac. Everyone near the fire the breathed the smoke from the burning weeds had to get shots for a saevere case of poison Ivey. Inhailing the smoke caused it to go directly into the blood stream. I wouldn’t try it. Its better not knowing than to find out in a bad way.

  46. Thanks Troy. A very sensible comment!

  47. Hey How2gethealthy,
    I take your point, For most pain discomfort, we reach for NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
    They are very effective, but “when people take inbuprofen, aspirin, ketpprofen
    or naproxen sodium, they figure since those drugs are ITC so they must be safe. As
    as result they overdo them, or don’t pay attention to interactions with other
    medications,” says Joseph Markenson, M.D., professor at Weill Medical College in New
    York City. “While the benefits of these drugs are enormous and real, so too are the
    risks of gastrointestinal upset and bleeding.
    Great Job!
    I may be disabled but I will never be Diss-Abled

  48. G’Day! How2gethealthy,
    This might be off topic, however, Are you searching for pain relief for your cat or your dog? I’ll bet that you aren’t having much luck are you? There are millions of people searching for pain relief and not finding it. I haven’t seen any figures for dogs and cats, but I’ll bet that there are an awful lot of people looking for help for their pets also.
    All the Best
    I may be disabled but I will never be Diss-Abled

  49. Not at all off topic Sheryl! This is a really good point. DMSO is surely great for our elderly pets with arthritis. It would be great to hear from anyone who has used DMSO on their pet!

  50. Pingback: DMSO Stops Herpes and Coldsore Outbreaks Fast

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