The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) medication is still the mainstay of most classically taught clinicians for joint and spine related inflammatory pain, despite their commonly known side effects [Table 1]. NSAID mechanisms are primarily through interaction with proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1a, IL-1b, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Increased concentrations of TNF-α are believed to cause the cardinal signs of inflammation to occur.[44]
Different creams and gels combine different pain-relieving ingredients for a greater, synergistic effect. The most effective natural ingredients are arnica, cannabidiol CBD oil, glucosamine, chondroitin, celadrin, comfrey root, capsicum, MSM and Green-lipped mussel extracts. The most effective pharmaceutical pain relief gel are those containing diclofenac, which is a stronger version of ibuprofen.
Burdock root is a natural botanical for that is in wide use for many conditions, among them arthritic pain, swollen joints and rheumatism. More than anything else, clinical studies have found it most effective as a blood purifier that helps to rid the body of deleterious toxins and clear congestion from the circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory and urinary systems. Burdock is said to cleanse and eliminate long-term impurities from the blood very rapidly through its action on both the liver and kidneys. For those who suffer from arthritis and have taken too much Tylenol, burdock root has been clinical proven to protect the liver cells from the damage of taking acetaminophen. It is believed to stimulate the gallbladder and encourage liver cells to regenerate.
If you’ve got a taste for hot stuff, you likely know some level of pain is involved. Interestingly, though, hot foods like wasabi and cayenne pepper can actually act as natural painkillers. Cayenne pepper benefits include several types of natural pain relief. The powerful pepper actually helps alleviate post-operative pain, including pain relief after a mastectomy or amputation.
How much do you have to use at once and how often? Is it easy to apply too much? Generally, roll-on applicators are the best choice for reducing waste since it’s hard to put on too much when using them. It is also important to note that if you need deep muscle penetration roll-ons often don’t provide the same effect as hand rubbing gel or cream into the affected area. So be sure to keep that factor in mind as you review these products.
Acetylsalicylic acid works by irreversibly disabling the COX enzymes to block the cascade [Figure 1]. NSAIDs have evolved from blocking both COX-1 and COX-2 to selectively only blocking COX-2 in order to inhibit the inflammatory response and reduce the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes. The major push to develop the selective COX-2 inhibitors has been the recognition of significant complications associated with the nonselective COX-1 and COX-2 NSAIDs. Nonselective NSAIDs’ major side effects include significant gastrointestinal upset, gastritis, ulceration, hemorrhage, and even death. By locking COX-1, which also normally acts to protect the gastrointestinal mucosa, nonselective NSAIDs and aspirin can cause significant gastric tissue damage.[34,51,78,91,3,101,115]
When sudden changes occur in the weather or we overexert ourselves during physical activity, those of us who experience, or who already had, muscle and/or joint pain treat ourselves with the traditional prescriptions of conventional anti-inflammatories. There is a general tendency for us to take anti-inflammatories every time something hurts, as if they were water. Nevertheless, the damage caused to our bodies (liver, stomach, etc.) by anti-inflammatories is highly significant if these are abused. Symptomatic use of analgesics, such as paracetamol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is almost always the first treatment option, and ibuprofen is one of the most widely used anti-rheumatic drugs.

People who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as topical diclofenac (Pennsaid, Voltaren) may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not use these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who use NSAIDs for a long time. Do not use an NSAID such as topical diclofenac if you have recently had a heart attack, unless directed to do so by your doctor.Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke; if you smoke; and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of your body, or slurred speech.

Patient information articles published in both the Journal of North American Spine Society and the Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence that spinal manipulations were safe, effective, drugless forms of professional treatment for both acute (short-term or sudden) and chronic low back problems in adults. (2, 3) Egoscue, another type of postural therapy protocol that focuses on fixing musculoskeletal misalignments, may also be able to help reduce and prevent back pain.


The processes used to prepare herb-derived compounds pose complications when it comes to determining the quantity and concentration of the products.[30,63,102] The preparation processes are not standardized, and therefore, the extraction process and the type of plant used may affect the true concentration of the product. In addition, there is a lack of uniformity within and between manufacturers. Although dietary supplements are not held to the same rigorous testing and standards as pharmaceutically derived medications in the US, there are many regulations that still control their manufacture because these are food products.
Rannou F, Pelletier JP, Martel-Pelletier J. Efficacy and safety of topical NSAIDs in the management of osteoarthritis: Evidence from real-life setting trials and surveys. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2016 Feb;45(4 Suppl):S18–21. PubMed #26806189. “Topical NSAIDs have a moderate effect on pain relief, with efficacy similar to that of oral NSAIDs, with the advantage of a better risk:benefit ratio. In real-life studies, topical and oral NSAIDs demonstrate an equivalent effect on knee pain over 1 year of treatment, with fewer adverse events due to lower systemic absorption of topical NSAIDs compared with oral NSAIDs.” BACK TO TEXT
Acupuncture: Acupuncture may provide even more relief than painkillers, according to one 2013 review. In 11 studies of more than 1,100 people, this Chinese medicine staple improved symptoms of lower back pain better than simulated treatments and, yes, in some cases, NSAIDs. The needles appear to change the way your nerves react and may reduce inflammation around joints (which is only one of the therapy's benefits), says DeStefano.

Pycnogenol inhibits TNF-α–induced NF-kB activation as well as adhesion molecule expression in the endothelium. Grimm et al, recently reported that oral intake of pycnogenol inhibited NF-kB activation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes as well, thus decreasing the inflammatory response. It also statistically significantly inhibited matrix metalloproteinase-9.[46] This matrix-degrading enzyme is highly expressed at sites of inflammation, and contributes to the pathogenesis of various chronic inflammatory diseases.[96]

For arthritic pain in the hands and knees, capsaicin is your best bet if you want to go the natural route. Otherwise topical NSAIDs work well, too. If you are taking any medications for your arthritis, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before using any creams and gels and make sure there are no ingredients in them that could interact with your medication.
Within the cartilage around your joints is a chemical known as chondroitin. Chondroitin is naturally produced by the body. As you age, your natural supply starts to plummet. And a loss of chondroitin from cartilage is linked to a major cause of joint pain. Moreover, through wear and tear the joint cartilage breaks down, resulting in the condition of Osteoarthritis. We can’t regenerate cartilage on our own, but we can take a supplement called chondroitin sulfate which, studies show, can help slow down this degenerative process and help naturally reduce arthritic pain. Chondroitin sulfate is made from the cartilage of cows and other animals, and is often used in combination with other products including glucosamine and manganese.
For greater efficiency in using these types of products ensure that you by an anti-inflammatory cream that would not make you feel less comfortable when you are around other people. The best quality creams in such a case are the ones whose scent vanishes quickly with every application or the ones that would emit no scent thus allowing you to continue your daily life activities more proficiently with no distractions. The creams made of natural ingredients are the best quality you could ever buy because they are both efficient and would not leave you feeling less comfortable perhaps because of the irritating smell you may be forced to endure in the hopes of dealing with your pain or inflammation that may arise from an injury. Never spend your money on a product that would not serve your needs as desired because the very reason why we buy different products at different points in time is so that they could meet our needs if not then there would be no need of acquiring the product in the first place.
While these are not the only risks NSAID medications, they are somewhat more common, and some of the more worrisome, side effects. It is always safest to have a discussion with your physician if you have any concerns about the risk of taking these medications. It is important to understand that even in healthy people without underlying medical conditions, there is always the risk associated with any medication. The benefits of taking an anti-inflammatory medication need to be balanced with the possible risks of taking the medication.
Staying in bed for any prolonged period can make you stiff and increase pain. When you don’t move and bend, you lose muscle strength and flexibility. With bed rest, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle strength each day. And you can lose 20 to 30 percent in a week. It becomes more difficult to return to any activity. As you become weaker and stiffer your recovery takes longer.

It is therefore necessary to resort to another type of product which are less harmful for our bodies. One of the most effective products, which is widely backed up by scientific studies, is the arnica plant extract. The most widely used plants with local anti-inflammatory action in phytotherapy are arnica (Arnica montana) and, in a distant second place, devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens).
Chondroitin sulphate chains bind to hyaluronic acid to form ‘springy’ molecules that increase the strength and elasticity of cartilage, making it more resilient. Chondroitin also acts as a signal to inhibit the enzymes responsible for breaking down cartilage, and to increase the production of collagen. Chondroitin is therefore an ideal complement to glucosamine and the two are often combined in joint and muscle pain relief creams.
To minimize your risks for a skin reaction, Cowling recommends doing a skin test before starting any topical pain reliever and washing your hands immediately after applying. Also don’t use topicals on any areas of the body where you have an open wound or broken skin, even a scratch. If you develop severe itching, redness, swelling or any other signs of a worsening skin reaction, contact your doctor. 
Since herbal therapies for pain management have yet to be thoroughly studied, be careful when embarking on this treatment path. Regardless of the herb you try, remember that they're not benign. Research into their safety and efficacy is still limited, and the government doesn't regulate herbal products for quality. The best course is to talk to a health-care professional before testing out a herbal remedy.
×