Use Topical Meds

Topical Meds

Consider pain-relieving topical meds such as gels, creams, and patches that you apply to the skin. Some topical meds target pain relief where you need it. Note in your Journal how topical meds affect your pain level.

Conditions: Nerve pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, neck pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, muscle tenderness, joint pain

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Meds

Duration

7

Try NSAID Rubs

NSAIDs aren't just in pill form. You can also get anti-inflammatory relief in creams and gels. Some over-the-counter (OTC) topical NSAIDs include Aspercreme Cream and Myoflex Cream (trolamine salicylate.) Prescription-only topical NSAIDs include Voltaren Topical and Pennsaid (diclofenac). These topical meds are convenient because you can use them directly on the areas that hurt. They also carry less risk of typical NSAID side effects like stomach upset, bleeding ,and kidney problems. Just be sure not to use NSAID creams and oral NSAIDs at the same time.

Prompt: NSAID in a cream?

CTA: Rub in relief.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis

Symptoms: Aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments: Voltaren Topical, Pennsaid, diclofenac gel, Aspercreme Cream, Icy Hot, Bengay, Mentholatum D, Menthoderm cream, Thera-Gesic Plus Cream, trolamine salicylate, Myoflex cream

Categories: Meds

Capsaicin for Pain

Capsaicin creams contain an extract from hot peppers, which works by blocking a chemical that delivers pain messages to the brain. Capsaicin is available both OTC and by prescription. Many people use it for arthritis pain or nerve pain. One study found that applying capsaicin to the skin over a sore area can help with fibromyalgia tenderness. You may feel a burning sensation when you first use it, and for a couple of days it might make the symptoms worse. It takes 2-4 weeks of continuous use of the cream for maximum improvement. Don't use it on broken skin, and avoid getting it in your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Prompt: Pepper for pain?

CTA: Get red-hot relief from creams.

Conditions: Nerve pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, neck pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments: Capsaicin, Capzasin-P, Zostrix, Pain Enz, Capsagel, Capsin, Icy Hot arthritis therapy, Sportsmed, Trixaicin, Double Cap

Categories: Meds

Lidocaine Eases Pain

Lidocaine is a drug that helps numb pain. It's available in a patch sold as Lidoderm. Lidocaine patches often work well for treating one area of pain -- just apply the patch to the area that's most painful. Don't use the patch on skin with any sores or open areas. A common side effect is redness or swelling on the area where you've placed the patch. People taking antiarrhythmic medications and those with liver problems should talk with their doctor before using this medication.

Prompt: Numb it!

CTA: Try a pain patch.

Conditions: Nerve pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments: Lidocaine patch, Lidoderm

Categories: Meds

Check Your Skin

Lidocaine patches can sometimes cause redness on the skin. The redness typically goes away in few minutes or hours after you remove the patch. If you notice irritation or burning, remove the patch until it goes away. If the irritation doesn't go away -- or gets worse -- call your doctor.

Prompt: Skin Reaction?

CTA: Lidocaine patch can cause redness.

Conditions: Nerve pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments: Lidocaine patch, Lidoderm

Categories: Meds

Low-Price Lidocaine

Are lidocaine pain patches too expensive? Ask your doctor about using a lidocaine gel instead. It can be effective in treating nerve pain and costs less.

Prompt: Lidocaine patch pricey?

CTA: Use a cheaper gel instead.

Conditions: Nerve pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments: Lidocaine patch, Lidoderm

Categories: Meds

Using Pain Rubs

Use care when applying any kind of pain patch or gel. Wash your hands thoroughly after each use, and don't get the medicine in your eyes, nose, mouth, or genitals. When applying capsaicin, you may want to apply it using cotton balls or wearing disposable latex gloves, because it will burn anything you touch with it. Also, don't put a heating pad over an area with capsaicin; it could burn your skin.

Prompt: Handle with care.

CTA: Apply topicals carefully.

Conditions: Nerve pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, neck pain

Symptoms: Burning, pain, pain with movement, sharp pain, shocking pain, extreme sensitivity, electric pain, foot pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments: Capsaicin, lidocaine, lidocaine patch

Categories: Meds

Topical Rub Options

Some OTC rubs, such as Bengay, Thera-Gesic, and Mentoderm, contain ingredients like menthol and methylsalicylate. Some brands are also available in patches you can place on the skin over a sore area. They work by causing the skin to feel cool, then warm, which soothes and distracts you from pain.

Prompt: Rub off pain.

CTA: OTC rubs may soothe pain.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, neck pain

Symptoms: Aching, lower back pain, pain when standing, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, difficulty standing up, difficulty sitting down, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, stiffness, stiff joint, swollen joint, warm joint, joint pain, upper back pain, joint tenderness, pain when standing

Triggers:

Treatments: Menthol, methyl salicylate, Bengay, Icy Hot, Mentholatum D, Voltaren gel, diclofenac gel, aspercreme, Menthoderm cream, Thera-Gesic Plus cream, capsaicin, Capzasin-P, Zostrix, Pain Enz, Capsagel, Capsin, Icy Hot arthritis therapy, Sportsmed, Trixaicin, Double Cap

Categories: Meds

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on January 19, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: "Pharmacologic management of neuropathic pain: evidence-based recommendations."

Arthritis Today: "Voltaren Gel Offers Rub-On Relief" and "Take Medicines Wisely."

American Chronic Pain Association: "Frequently Asked Questions."

Arthritis Foundation: "Frequently Asked Questions About Fibromyalgia;" "Supplements for Your Condition;" and "Rub It On: Topical Analgesics."

Cruccu, G. European Journal of Neurology, 2007.

De Silva. Rheumatology, 2010.

Dworkin, R. American Journal of Medicine, October 2009.

Journal of Rheumatology, April 1992.

FamilyDoctor.org web site: "Diabetic Neuropathy."

Fidelix, T. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2006.

Freynhagen, R. BMJ, August 2009.

Gammaitoni, A. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2004.

National Pain Foundation: "Neuropathic Pain: Medications;" "Neuropathic Pain: Injections;" "Neuropathic Pain: Surgery;" and "Using Complementary Therapy."

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