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Troubled by sore muscles, aching joints or a sprain? Topical pain relievers can help with these ailments. Let’s see what options are available to you.
Topical pain relievers – or analgesics – go to work where they are applied. They are an option to be considered by people who wish to avoid oral pain relievers due to side effects or an allergy, and for those who obtain no relief from acetaminophen.
You need to use these products with caution, since some formulas have high enough concentrations which, when absorbed by the body, can produce unwanted side effects or interact with other medications you may be taking.
Different topical pain relievers have different action mechanisms. They fall into two main categories: those with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAI) effect and those that act by counter-irritation.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products penetrate the epidermis and neutralize the inflammatory process at work in the affected area. They are recommended for strains, sprains and chronic pain due to musculoskeletal disorders: tendinitis, bursitis, epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”), carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain. They have the same contraindications as oral NSAI products.
Counterirritants work by temporarily irritating skin and stimulating nerve endings, which are responsible for the pain in the muscle or joint just beneath the skin. They are formulated with a variety of ingredients, such as salicylate, capsaicin, zucapsaicin, camphor, eucalyptus, menthol or herbal extracts. They deliver a hot or cold sensation and are useful during physical therapy massages.
Here is an overview of the effects of topical pain relief creams, gels, patches and sprays:
|Active Ingredients||Relieves Muscle Pain||Relieves Joint Pain||Reduces Inflammation|
For the safe use of topical pain relievers, follow these general tips from your family pharmacist:
When it comes to choosing the right topical pain reliever, your family pharmacists are your best sources of information and advice. Talk to them: it’s what their job is all about!
[UNIPRIX] - The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.