As most of us know, growing up was a daily battle to see just how much pain we could put our bodies through. Between stitches, twisted ankles, swollen eyes, deep bruises and a host of other ailments. What kid never went thru life hurting themselves and constantly needing a bag of ice or frozen peas. Of course, as we grew older our tolerance for pain improved but the injuries just got more severe. Thus, as teens, we quickly learned the benefits of pain remedies and the occasional ibuprofen. Now as adult’s, luckily having less frequent injuries but when we do, we have diversified our treatments adding hot patches and the latest topical pain relief creams or gels.
I know, I’m not alone out there and many of you are also looking for basic remedies to deal with the knick-knacks, the wear, and tear of everyday life. In fact, according to Consumer Reports back in January 2014 millions of Americans rely on aspirin, ibuprofen, and other oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs every single day to deal with chronic and temporary pain. But with the emergence of topical pain relief creams millions are finding themselves with more options that ever. Which can be both, a relief, or a new headache all together. So let’s take a few moments to compare topical pain relief gels and taking pills/oral medications and understand some of the benefits and drawbacks of each because just as our pain is unique to each of us, so are the remedies we employ to deal with it.
Benefits And Drawbacks Of Topical Gels And Creams
When I first started using a topical pain relief cream, I immediately noticed three key benefits, localized treatment, fast acting comfort, and no chalky aftertaste.
First, localized treatment is a key feature of applying a topical cream. As Pharmacy Solutions explains, “When an oral medication is used to treat pain, the medication is transported through the bloodstream, impacting the entire body along with the area in pain. Topical pain medications allow users to introduce the medicine directly to the affected area, concentrating the effects of the medicine where it’s needed most.” For injuries like muscle bruises or stiff joints, topical gels make it easier to massage the key areas without over aggravating the injury. This specified treatment allowed me to focus in on the quad delivering pain relief deep into the muscle tissue. I also have to stress the mental relief that provided me knowing I was targeting the pain directly.
Second, being able to target the specific area meant fast acting relief. I was using a topical gel that promised to start off cool and then get warm, or something to that effect. Within 30 seconds of applying the medication to my ailing leg I could feel the soothing temperature change. This is great because I have very little patience, and don’t like waiting a extended time to start feeling better. So If your looking for a quick relief, topical gels/creams work great.
Finally, and most noticeably with pain relief creams you can avoid the search for water to help you down a pair of chalky aspirins, and a little food to keep them down. Better yet, you can avoid the after taste some brands leave in your mouth all together. Biral Patel, MD, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas told Everyday Health, “topical pain relievers are often used by patients who cannot take oral medications.” This convenience mixed with relief makes topical pain relief creams a great alternative to oral medications.
I don’t want to make oral medications sound completely outdated or topical creams the catch-all solution. A quick pill is great for a scathing migraine, and for some major injuries necessary. Gels and creams also run the risk of staining clothing or smelling of vapor rub. The aforementioned Consumer Report explained “always follow label instructions because topicals can come with some risks. For example, using topicals too often or leaving them on too long can make your skin prone to allergic reactions.” So if you have sensitive or infected skin makes sure you grab a brand that will best support you, and always check with your pharmacist before starting a new oral medication. Again, as long as we know we have options, we can best treat the injuries life is going to throw at us no matter how hard we try and avoid them.
Please feel free to contact us today, we will do everything we can to help you with your pain management.