If you suffer from arthritis or other types of pain, you're probably all too familiar with drugs such as aspirin, Aleve, and Naproxen. All belong to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and all can be purchased without a prescription. But there is another related drug, available by prescription, you might want to talk with your doctor about: diclofenac, available as a gel, patch, or drop that you apply directly to your skin.

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tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol, in other products); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin, in Lotrel), captopril, enalapril (Vasotec, in Vaseretic), fosinopril, lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, in Prinzide and Zestoretic), moexipril (Univasc, in Uniretic), perindopril (Aceon, in Prestalia), quinapril (Accupril, in Quinaretic), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik, in Tarka); angiotensin receptor blockers such as candesartan (Atacand, in Atacand HCT), eprosartan (Teveten), irbesartan (Avapro, in Avalide), losartan (Cozaar, in Hyzaar), olmesartan (Benicar, in Azor, in Benicar HCT, in Tribenzor), telmisartan (Micardis, in Micardis HCT, in Twynsta), and valsartan (in Exforge HCT); certain antibiotics, beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin, in Tenoretic), labetalol (Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL, in Dutoprol), nadolol (Corgard, in Corzide), and propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal, Innopran); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); diuretics ('water pills'); lithium (Lithobid); medications for seizures, and methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
If you are using a topical anti-inflammatory there is a risk that your skin can become sensitive to light (photosensitivity). If you are using a preparation that contains ketoprofen you should cover the area of skin where ketoprofen has been applied (to protect it from sunlight). Also, you should not use a sunbed, or expose your skin to sunlight during treatment, and for two weeks after stopping.

Music therapy is a low-cost natural therapy that may reduce some of the stress of chronic pain in conjunction with other treatments. Studies find that it may reduce the disability, anxiety, and depression associated with chronic pain. It is thought to help because it can shift attention away from the unpleasant sensations of pain, and it may cause the release of endorphins or changes in catecholamine levels.
Chiropractic care involving spinal manipulation appears to reduce symptoms and improve function in patients with chronic low back pain, acute low back pain, and sub-acute low back pain, according to a research review published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics. In their analysis of 887 documents (including 64 clinical trials), the review's authors concluded that combining chiropractic care with exercise is "likely to speed and improve outcomes" and protect against future episodes of back pain.
The benefits of heat therapy are twofold: it increases the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area, and it suppresses pain signals. Some find that wearing a heat wrap, such as those from ThermaCare, is best because it releases a low level heat for several hours and can be worn under clothes so you can remain mobile. You can also combine the benefits of aromatherapy and a heat by adding an essential oil to the hot pack; you can experiment by making your own microwaveable heating pad at home and adding different essential oils to see what works best for you.

Despite what a majority of people may have been made to believe concerning the issue of anti-inflammatory creams and the pain-relieving creams the truth is that the two types of creams differ immensely. Pain relief creams serve the important function of disrupting the transmission of pain signals from different parts of the body to the brain thus allowing you to feeling a sense of temporary pain relief. However, most cream pain relievers would not have elements that would help reduce inflammation or swelling. Nevertheless, the anti-inflammatory creams and the pain relief creams both can be used for arthritis flare-ups and dealing with minor sports injuries. Nevertheless, for those people who may have never used these types of medications before or those who may not be sure of the type to use it is important to consult with the doctor before using such a product. Most all, never use the anti-inflammatory creams on a child or expectant mother unless who check in with your doctor.
Green tea research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. Additionally, green tea research includes the “Asian paradox”, which theorizes that increased green tea consumption in Asia may lead to significant cardiovascular, neuroprotective and cancer prevention properties.[113] The usual recommendation is 3–4 cups of tea a day. Green tea extract has a typical dosage of 300–400 mg. Green tea can cause stomach irritation in some, and because of its caffeine content, a decaffeinated variety is also available; but the polyphenol content is currently unknown.[2,49,53,108,112,117,120]
“My husband and I prefer more natural, holistic pain relievers, and we were thrilled when we found Relief cream. We take it with us everywhere we go, use it religiously for joint pain, and recommend it to everyone we know. Relief is FAR superior to Biofreeze; there truly is NO comparison. Relief smells better, feels better, and just plain works better. Thank you so much for a natural alternative to pain medications that come with some really nasty 'side effects.'” *
Having a variety of solutions for pain relief is not only helpful, it’s strategic. Depending on which type of pain you’re experiencing, you want a personalized option. And having different solutions on hand helps you be prepared for whatever life throws at you. Try adding an external pain relief cream to the mix so you can relieve muscle and joint pain, then get back to doing what you love.

Funny how things like this slip through the cracks. I communicate with patients and professionals locally and abroad more or less all day every day, study and research musculoskeletal pain problems obsessively, and am more or less constantly immersed in answering the question, “What can you do for body parts that hurt?” And yet I didn’t hear about this stuff for a good year after it had already hit the shelves.


Massage. Various forms of body work can provide temporary pain relief. You can try full-body Swedish massage for  stress relief and relaxation; deep-tissue massage, which uses pressure and slow strokes on deeper muscle tissue to release knots and relieve tension; or myofascial release, which uses long, stretching strokes to relieve tension around the connective tissue of the muscles.
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This herb has been shown to prevent the activation of the transcriptional factor NF-kB and it directly inhibits TNF-α production by up to 65-85%. It inhibits the expression of inducible genes associated with inflammation, specifically negating the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, and hence attenuates nitrous oxide production. Side effects may include nausea, although it has shown an impressive protective effect on indomethacin-induced enteritis in laboratory studies.
The good news regarding back pain is this: Most cases of lower back pain are believed to be due to “mechanical” problems of the musculoskeletal system rather than serious illness or chronic health problems. Abnormalities, weakness, and added stress placed on the bones, joints, ligaments and muscles can all contribute to back problems. It’s been found that the most common causes of low back pain (there are many!) include: (8)

According to recommendations of the Arthritis Foundation, when treating conditions related to arthritis it is best to use “fish oil capsules with at least 30 percent EPA/ DHA, the active ingredients. For lupus and psoriasis, 2 grams EPA/DHA three times a day. For Raynaud’s phenomenon, 1 grams four times a day. For rheumatoid arthritis, up to 2.6 grams fish oil (1.6 grams EPA) twice a day.”


Thank you for providing a list with creams that aren’t simply analgesic! Most lists are just full of creams that provide analgesic properties by blocking pain receptors. It doesn’t really help your body repair from damage or strain. I use a cell-regenerative, anti-inflammatory cream with analgesics and its completely natural. It has the MSM and Arnica. I apply it before I work out and after to help nurture and heal my muscles & joints as well provide pain relief. This way I recover faster and get into the gym quicker knowing my body is supported and I am not just exasperating a problem.


Stay strong. Once your low back pain has receded, you can help avert future episodes of back pain by working the muscles that support your lower back, including the back extensor muscles. "They help you maintain the proper posture and alignment of your spine," Reicherter says. Having strong hip, pelvic, and abdominal muscles also gives you more back support. Avoid abdominal crunches, because they can actually put more strain on your back.
Pycnogenol, like white willow bark, is a nutraceutical material that has been used since ancient times. Pycnogenol is derived from the bark of the maritime pine tree (Pinus maritima) and has been used for more than 2000 years. It has been considered helpful for wound healing, treating scurvy, healing of ulcers, and reducing vascular inflammation. It contains a potent blend of active polyphenols, which includes catechin, taxifolin, procyanidins, and phenolic acids. It is one of the most potent antioxidant compounds currently known.[17,118]
In contrast, the guidelines of the American Pain Society and American College of Rheumatology have in the past recommended topical methyl salicylate and topical capsaicin, but not topical NSAIDs. This reflects the fact that the American guidelines were written several years before the first topical NSAID was approved for use in the United States. Neither salicylates nor capsaicin have shown significant efficacy in the treatment of OA.
According to Susi Hately, owner of Functional Synergy, Inc., in Alberta, Canada, and author of several international best-selling yoga books, yoga can be very therapeutic for people with back pain as well. A review of scientific studies published in 2013 in the Clinical Journal of Pain found strong evidence that yoga can help reduce chronic low back pain. Yoga may help improve back pain by loosening tight muscles, building strength and range of motion, and improving breathing, explains Hately. Yoga also focuses on relaxation, which may help to relax your muscles as well as reduce pain perception.
An essential nutrient available in certain foods (such as fortified milk and fish with small bones), vitamin D is produced naturally by the body during exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. But since it's difficult to obtain your recommended daily intake of D solely through dietary sources and sun exposure, many medical experts recommend increasing your vitamin D levels by taking a dietary supplement.
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Almost every person with fibromyalgia describes their muscles as tight and full of painful muscle knots called trigger points. After I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia during medical school, I tried many different styles of massage, but got no benefit until I found a specialized technique called myofascial release pioneered by John Barnes, PT. This form of massage therapy involves using very slow but sustained gentle pressure to separate tiny adhesions in the muscle tissue and fascia, and this lessens muscle tension and gently breaks up knots in the connective tissue (to learn more about the vital importance of fascia in fibromyalgia, read my previous blog post). Two European studies found that myofascial release therapy was effective for reducing fibromyalgia pain, and that it gave long-lasting pain relief even at one month and six months after the last session. To find a John Barnes-trained therapist skilled in this technique go to www.mfrtherapists.com.

Cold and heat therapies. It's best to use cold compresses or an ice pack, not heat, immediately following a back injury, since this can alleviate pain by numbing the area and prevent or reduce swelling. About 48 hours after the onset of back pain, though, applying heating pads or a hot-water bottle to your back may be helpful. The warmth soothes and relaxes aching muscles and increases blood flow, which helps the healing process. Keep in mind that heat therapy is only helpful for the first week.
Many arthritis creams have a telling medicinal smell, but you won’t get that from this Blue Emu cream. Like other arthritis creams on the market, it contains glucosamine and MSM. What stands out about this one, however, is that it contains emu oil (thus the name), which promises to penetrate deeply into the skin and provide soothing relief to joints and muscles. Thousands of customers say it delivers on those promises too.

Maybe. They may not completely get rid of your monster headache but they may help relieve some of the aches that come with them. Some people who experience migrains also have neck and shoulder pain and topical pain relief gels and creams may help to lessen this symptom. Some migraine sufferers use roll-ons on the forehead or back of the head to induce a cooling or heating sensation to help cope with the pain.
Preliminary research suggests that hypnotherapy may be of some use in the treatment of low back pain. For instance, a pilot study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that a four-session hypnosis program (combined with a psychological education program) significantly reduced pain intensity and led to improvements in mood among patients with chronic low back pain.
Any activity that gets your blood pumping for a sustained period will release pain-relieving endorphins into your system. The obvious problem is: How do you exercise if you're in too much pain to exercise? For many, the solution is to pick an exercise that is tolerable and start with help from a the right type of health professional, such as a physiatrist, chiropractor, or physical therapist.
Its active ingredients include eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil, but nothing that will heat up your skin or provide the icy, cooling sensation that some other arthritis creams do. It comes in a roller-ball format, which you use to massage the product into the skin. Devoted fans say it’s the best pain-relief cream on the market, and they love that it doesn’t come with a lingering medicinal scent.
Luminas fast pain relief patch is incredibly easy to use. You simply apply the patch on the troublesome area or a flat area of skin close to it if the pain is in a joint like the elbow or knee. That’s all you need to do to be on your way to being pain-free for up to 24-hours. You don’t need to worry about it coming off in the shower, bath, or pool either. You’re covered!

Long term and/or large oral doses of NSAIDs can be extremely dangerous, even lethal. They “nuke” your entire system with much more active ingredient than you really need, all of it absorbed through the digestive tract and distributed through your entire circulatory system. These drugs can and do cause complications at any dose, and are linked to heart attacks and strokes and ulcerations of the GI tract. For example, Diclofenac …


3. Menthol, Eucalyptus and Mint Oils. Pain relieving creams containing either one or a combination of menthol, camphor, eucalyptus, spearmint, wintergreen or peppermint are thought to work by "confusing" nerve signals into feeling heat and cold sensations instead of pain.  Popular brands include Mentholatum Deep Heating Rub® and Icy Hot® (which may contain methyl salicylate too).  While many pain sufferers say these products work, its' relief is temporary at best.  These pain relief creams have to be reapplied frequently and tend to have strong fragrances.
As runners and athletes many of experience pain and discomfort here and there. So, it's important we stock up on over the counter options that will help us deal with these issues. After evaluating our list, we have decided to add two more products--Arnicare and Blue Emu. Both of these come highly rated and will help relieve your pain and get you ready for your next day of training.
Note: The cream is hot to your skin and should be used with caution. The heat comes from capsicum (capsicum annuum) oleoresin a hot pepper. Try a small amount the first time at your inside wrist and wait a half hour to see how it feels. Do not bathe or shower after putting it on because that will only make you feel hotter. Let your body cool down first. Never put the cream near your eyes or mucous membranes such at the lower nose. Do not use on your private area. Wash your hands after you have rubbed the cream into your skin.

Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilize your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. And despite how hard it is to imagine doing Downward-Facing Dog with a bad back, yoga can work in your favor, too. A 2013 review of studies found strong evidence it can help beat lower back pain. Any type works; one to consider is the restorative viniyoga style.
"I don't use topical pain relievers often, but when I do I use a product called Biofreeze ($15; performancehealth.com). It's a menthol-based gel that soothes local aches and pains in much the same way that ice therapy works but with less skin irritation, and the ability to be mobile once it's applied. It's also the product physical therapists and massage therapists choose." — Yusuf Jeffers, Tone House coach
Finally, the active ingredients within a pain relief cream interact with local nerve endings to damp down inflammation, reduce pain and swelling and ease stiffness. All these different actions make topical, rub-in creams and gels highly effective for treating painful joints, sore muscles and sport injuries. Here, I’ve reviewed what I believe are the best pain relief creams, sore muscle creams and pain relief gels.
Just how does acupuncture work? According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blocked energy along the meridians of the body, which are unblocked when acupuncture needles are inserted along these invisible pathways. Acupuncture may also release natural pain-relieving opioids, send signals to the sympathetic nervous system, and release neurochemicals and hormones.
Whether the pain that someone experiences is activity related, leftover from an old injury, or due to a chronic inflammatory condition, bone broth in the diet can help to reduce chronic pain and flares. This is due to the presence of collagen in bone broth, which can help to alleviate joint problems and repair pain that originates from the digestive tract. (23)
How it works: A misaligned spine can cause muscle tension (read: pain). Both physical therapy and chiropractic treatment improve spinal alignment. Physical therapists strategically stretch and strengthen the muscles that help hold the spine in place. Chiropractors manipulate the spine to relieve areas of tension on the muscles. Consult your primary-care doctor for a referral.

Although it is difficult to establish the mechanism of action of a plant due to the variety of its components, in vitro clinical trials have shown that the anti-inflammatory properties of arnica are based mainly on the inhibition of NF-kappa B transcription factor, which is a key part of the immunological and anti-inflammatory processes. This protein regulates the transcription of various inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins, as well as that of the genes encoding COX-2 (an enzyme which favours inflammation).
"As we all know, Arthritis pain can really stop you from enjoying your life. I love to fish, and I have found that your wonderful Arthritis Cream has just the right amount of heat in it that it does not cause any discomfort. To spice it up a bit, I put on rubber gloves and use my heating pad set on medium heat. It is truly a great Cream! It works so fast to stop the pain and cramping—I cannot believe it. You have really created a great thing here, and I want to thank you with all of my heart. If I could bathe in this Cream, I truly would. Please keep up the great work! Many blessings to you! Thank you so much, Baker’s Best Health."
Deng ZH, Zeng C, Yang Y, et al. Topical diclofenac therapy for osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rheumatol. 2016 May;35(5):1253–61. PubMed #26242469. “Topical diclofenac is effective in pain relief as a treatment of OA. It may also have a potential effect in function improvement, which needs further studies to be explored. Although, some adverse effects were observed in the application of topical diclofenac, none of them was serious.” BACK TO TEXT
NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory (reduce inflammation), analgesic (relieve pain) and antipyretic (lower temperature) effects. Although different NSAIDs have different structures, they all work by blocking cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes. There are two main types of COX enzymes: COX-1 and COX-2. Both types produce prostaglandins; however, the main function of COX-1 enzymes is to produce baseline levels of prostaglandins that activate platelets and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, whereas COX-2 enzymes are responsible for releasing prostaglandins after infection or injury. Prostaglandins have a number of different effects, one of which is to regulate inflammation. Most NSAIDs inhibit both enzymes, although a few are available that mainly inhibit COX-2. The pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs are mainly due to inhibition of COX-2, and their unwanted side effects are largely due to inhibition of COX-1.

“I cannot even tell you how AMAZING this stuff is. I never do reviews, but this product most certainly deserves one. I have dealt with MANY injuries, I was in a bad car wreck, and I have had more surgeries than I could count on both hands. My main area of pain is my upper back and neck. I have bulging disks, cervical stenosis, degenerative disk disease that causes horrible spasms, swelling, tension, and PAIN. I also have cancer and several other issues that put my pain level over the top every day. I have seen neurosurgeons, all of whom say they will eventually need to operate. I have done absolutely every possible treatment other than a spinal fusion, have had probably 10 injections, and they even went and tried to burn the nerve endings throughout my entire cervical spine, yet nothing worked. I can't even begin to tell you the medications the doctors have tried, each of which help some, but you get to a point where you don't want to constantly take medications forever. One day I was at my spine doctor's office and they had a bottle of Relief pain cream on the counter. While I was waiting there I asked the staff some questions about Relief and thought "yea, yea, but can I try it?" So, I put some on, and thought, "HOLY COW! What is this! Whatever this is, it's amazing!" Then and there I literally bought the rest of the supply they had on-hand because I couldn't believe how much it helped relieve my pains and aches. That night, I couldn't sleep because I was in so much pain, and none of my medications were helping. I felt like I was dying. So again, I put on some Relief cream and it helped soooo much. Since that day I never, ever, go anywhere without Relief! I will use this pain cream forever and continue to tell everyone I know about it because it truly works! I'm so glad I randomly tried this stuff at the doctor's office because I finally found something that gives true RELIEF!!” *
Studies have shown that the gel from this medicinal plant is able to relieve the pain and improve joint movement and stiffness in individuals with arthrosis in the fingers at the same level as ibuprofen. It demonstrates that arnica is an effective alternative to the use of NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) against this type of conditions, as arnica also prevents the gastric irritation caused by treatment with ibuprofen. Its use is therefore particularly recommended in individuals with stomach problems.
The use of both over-the-counter and prescription nonsteroidal medications is frequently recommended in a typical neurosurgical practice. But persistent long-term use safety concerns must be considered when prescribing these medications for chronic and degenerative pain conditions. This article is a literature review of the biochemical pathways of inflammatory pain, the potentially serious side effects of nonsteroidal drugs and commonly used and clinically studied natural alternative anti-inflammatory supplements. Although nonsteroidal medications can be effective, herbs and dietary supplements may offer a safer, and often an effective, alternative treatment for pain relief, especially for long-term use.
Having a variety of solutions for pain relief is not only helpful, it’s strategic. Depending on which type of pain you’re experiencing, you want a personalized option. And having different solutions on hand helps you be prepared for whatever life throws at you. Try adding an external pain relief cream to the mix so you can relieve muscle and joint pain, then get back to doing what you love.
An ancient mind-body practice, meditation has been found to increase pain tolerance and promote management of chronic pain in a number of small studies. In addition, a number of preliminary studies have focused specifically on the use of meditation in the management of low back pain. A 2008 study published in Pain, for example, found that an eight-week meditation program led to an improvement of pain acceptance and physical function in patients with chronic low back pain. The study included 37 older adults, with members meditating an average of 4.3 days a week for an average of 31.6 minutes a day.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage have several health benefits. They naturally support detox organs like the liver and kidneys, and they contain plenty of natural fiber, folate, and vitamin C. But they can also help to regulate inflammatory bacteria within the digestive tract, especially H. pylori, which is implicated in ulcers and other chronic digestive conditions. (25) Since the body obtains all of its nutrients via digestion, an inflamed digestive system will contribute to inflammation throughout the rest of the body. Eating cruciferous vegetables daily can help to promote the healthy elimination of toxins as well as the proper regulation of the digestive system.

Although it is normal to experience some pain and soreness when running or while engaging in similarly intense forms of physical activity, pain that persists long after you exercise is usually indicative of a greater problem. Be sure to consult with a medical professional before turning to any topical creams and gels; they can help you diagnose the source of your pain and may recommend alternate treatment options.
"I'm really big on heat, since it draws blood to the spot that is heated. I am a huge fan of ThermaCare Heatwraps ($8; drugstore.com) since you can just wrap or tape them on and go about your life (I really like and recommend using one at night if you have a knot, or an especially tight spot)." —Heidi Kristoffer, creator of CrossFlowX (Got PMS cramps? Kristoffer shares the best yoga poses to ease aches and bloating.)
"Herbals or other nutraceuticals that may help in some way — as well as those which may not actually help — do almost universally have the potential to harm through unwanted side effects, allergic reactions, and undesirable interactions with other substances and medicines," says Sam Moon, MD, MPH, associate director of education at Duke Integrative Medicine, a division of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "Relative safety must be very carefully balanced against likely effectiveness."
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