Topical pain relievers

A topical pain reliever is a product that is designed to bring pain relief to medical conditions such as sore muscles and arthritis. These pain relievers are also regularly referred to as analgesics and can be purchased over the counter. Many patients use topical pain relievers in addition to ibuprofen and other medications that help to reduce inflammation as well as pain. A topical pain reliever is available in several forms such as creams, oils, gels and can also be purchased infused into pads and patches that stick to the skin much like a Band-Aid.

There are three common types of topical pain relievers. These are salicylates, capsaicin and counter-irritants. Salicylates contain the same basic ingredients that are found in many oral pain relievers that have aspirin in them. Salicylates are chemicals that are naturally found in many plants and contain properties that are very similar to salicylic acid that is used to produce aspirin. They work reduce inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances resembling hormones that contribute to inflammation and pain. The most popular forms of salicylate based topical pain relievers include Aspercreme, Flexall and BenGay.

Capsaicin is also a naturally occurring compound that is regularly found in hot peppers. It works by diminishing neurotransmitters known as substance P that sends messages of pain to the brain. When applied, capsaicin causes a burning sensation as it comes into contact with the mucus membranes in the body. It works by blocking the signals of pain that are sent to the brain. Capsaicin topical pain relievers include Capsacin-P, Zostrix and Zostrix HP. Menthacin is also a topical pain reliever that contains capsaicin but it contains counter- irritants as well.

Counter-irritants are believed to work by distracting the communication between pain signals and specific areas of the body affected by pain. They work by cooling or burning sensations that basically confuse the pain transmissions before they reach the brain. The basis of tricking or fooling the pain has been used for many years for treatment of mild to moderate levels of pain in patients. Menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil are examples of topical pain relievers that are classified as counter-irritants. Some very popular types of counter-irritant pain relievers include Icy Hot, Eucalyptamint, Therapeutic Mineral Ice and Absorbine Jr. These topical pain relievers are considered very safe to use in conjunction with a number of other prescription or over the counter oral pain relievers. They are used and often prescribed by a physician to treat injuries such as sore muscles, strains and sprains.

Although most topical pain relievers are sold without a prescription, it is important that you fully read the interaction and any warning labels before you use these products. Always follow the recommendation by the manufacturer with regards to use and dosage. If you are not sure which topical pain reliever will be best for your injury or pain, you can speak with your doctor. He or she should recommend a topical product that is best for your individual situation. Keep in mind that while these products are relatively safe to use, using them for long periods of time to treat illnesses such as arthritis or fibromyalgia should be discussed with your physician. You can purchase topical pain relievers at a variety of places including many wholesale or department stores, Dollar Stores, drug stores and online at a variety of websites.

As with any medication, always check with your doctor if you notice any adverse side effects from using topical pain relievers. Although no major side effects have been noted with using these products, if you notice a rash or itching at the site where you have applied the topical products, consult your doctor before continuing use.

Last updated on Jan 28th, 2011 and filed under Drugs and Medications. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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