As I write in this month’s Harvard Men’s Health Watch, these so-called topical analgesics work best for more superficial joints like the knees, ankles, feet, elbows, and hands. “In those areas, the medication can penetrate closer to the joint,” says Dr. Rosalyn Nguyen, a clinical instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
After reviewing data regarding various treatments for lower back pain, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality concluded that those suffering from back pain should first try conservative/natural treatments and then consider other options for lower back pain relief if pain persists. Oftentimes low back pain sufferers can find relief naturally by making changes to their lifestyles (including sleep, physical activity, stress and body weight) before choosing more intensive care options.
“For years I have suffered with sciatica pain going down my right side. It is so painful that even sitting hurts. Nothing has ever worked well. I tried your patches by putting 3 discs on the painful area. For 3 days, I was pain free. As you suggested, I replaced the patches with new ones after 3 days and it no longer hurts. I also used it on my shoulder after a fall. It works! Thank you for helping me find relief.” – Norma M.
It may be tempting to quit exercising when you're suffering from back pain, but it's essential to keep yourself moving. Pilates is one great option. In a 2014 European Journal of Physical Rehabilitation Medicine study, researchers found an improvement in pain, disability, and psychological health in chronic low-back pain patients who took five hourlong Pilates classes a week for six months. Meanwhile, people who remained inactive experienced further worsening of their pain. Similarly, a Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise study revealed that taking either Pilates or a general exercise class twice a week for six weeks both improved pain and quality of life.
The usual dosage of standardized turmeric powder is 400–600 mg taken three times per day. Side effects are few, but with extended use, this agent can cause stomach upset, and in extreme cases gastric ulcers may occur at very high doses. Caution should be used if the patient is taking anticoagulant medications or high doses of nonsteroidal drugs. Studies have shown that curcumin may be used in combination with lower doses of nonsteroidal medications.[7–9,11,21,40,87,111,121]
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
One concern about the use of products like Voltaren is that several conditions are less inflammatory in nature than they feel like. Patients usually assume that the “burning” pain of repetitive strain injuries like tendinitis is caused by inflammation, but in fact classic inflammation is largely absent, especially after initial flare-ups have died down (but pain is still carrying on). While it is possible, even likely, that tendinitis is still inflamed in some sense, it’s doubtful that they are inflamed in a way that NSAIDs are actually good for. The biochemistry of cranky tendons is rather complex and largely unknown. There’s probably some overlap between the biology of acute, classic inflammation and the subtler biology of chronic tendinitis, but no one really knows. So the value of Voltaren for tendinitis is unclear.
Learning to keep your cool is as good for your back as it is for your mental health. When you're anxious, your body sets off the "fight or flight" response, which involves tensing your muscles so you're ready to spring into action. One European study revealed that people prone to negative thoughts and anxiety are more likely to suffer from back pain. Get calm now with these stress-busting solutions.
Last year, I suffered a severe attack of gouty arthritis. I was crying in pain and tried several pain killers without any effect. Then, I consulted my doctor. He told me to not take any pain killers and prescribed Generic Colchicine 0.5mg no rx instead. And thankfully, the pain started subsiding. I would like to recommend this medicine to all patients suffering from gouty arthritis.
For a 2006 report published in Rheumatology, investigators analyzed the available research on the use of balneotherapy in treatment of low back pain. Looking at five clinical trials, the report's authors found "encouraging evidence" suggesting that balneotherapy may be effective for treating patients with low back pain. Noting that supporting data are scarce, the authors call for larger-scale trials on balneotherapy and low back pain.
The first generic (cheaper) equivalent of Voltaren® Gel entered the marketplace in 2016, produced by Amneal Pharmaceutical. It should be widely available now. Both products are still prescription-only in the US, but fortunately they are over-the-counter almost everywhere else (there’s a rack of tubes of Voltaren by the till at my neighbhourhood drugstore).
Because drugs, unlike natural remedies for inflammation and pain, are created in a lab and our bodies are not equipped to digest and process them. Moreover, drugs are incredibly powerful which gives them the ability to offer fast relief of symptoms, like pain and inflammation. This is good for short-term use, but can be harmful over time. The body just can’t metabolize these drugs sufficiently to prevent them causing new damage and side effects.
A lot of people who read this are going to want to try it on their low back pain, neck pain, and/or other kinds of muscle pain. Will it work? The only honest answer is, “Who knows?” I have no clinical experience with this yet, and certainly it’s unstudied. It might be worth trying, in moderation, with the full awareness that there’s every possibility that it could be a waste of time and money.
Most of the active research with resveratrol has been done in neuro and cardioprotection, but several studies are being reported on resveratrol’s use for arthritic joint pain. Elmali et al, reported in 2007 using animals that intra-articular injection of resveratrol protects cartilage and reduces the inflammatory reaction in simulated knee osteoarthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol have also been observed in experimental animal models with paw edema, which is attributed to suppression of inflammatory prostaglandin synthesis. Resveratrol is also a potent and specific inhibitor of TNF-α- and IL-1b-induced NF-kB activation. Resveratrol shows the anti-inflammatory properties as it suppresses COX-2 by blocking NF-kB activation.
Turmeric roots are dried and ground into a spicy orange powder that has been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for hundreds of years in India. More recently researchers have called curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, the “herbal ibuprofen.” One study found that curcumin was actually more effective at reducing pain and swelling in arthritic joints than anti-inflammatory medications.
Bromelian is a mix of proteolytic enzymes (those found in pineapples), which have been used for centuries to help indigestion and reduce inflammation. Studies indicate this product helps reduce pain associated with arthritis, especially when used in combination with some other natural pain-relieving agents making it a great natural remedy for inflammation and pain.
"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
"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."