When the topic of pain relief comes up, whether for headaches, muscle soreness or arthritis pain, most people think about using oral pain medication. Fortunately, especially if you don’t like swallowing pills, topical creams can help relieve many of your aches and pains, especially those related to strains, sprains, muscle soreness, and joint pain.
Perhaps even better, topical creams can offer a number of benefits for pain relief that other treatments don’t.
4 Benefits of Using Topical Creams for Pain Relief
To get the most benefit of topical creams for pain relief, it is best to talk to your doctor, physiotherapist, massage therapist or other health care professional. They will be able to diagnose your condition and recommend a topical cream and treatment regimen best suited for you.
Topical creams are designed to be rubbed into and absorbed by the skin. In that way, they deliver pain-relieving medication directly to an affected area, versus needing to be absorbed through your digestive system and delivered though your circulatory system.
Fewer Side Effects
Many oral pain relievers have side effects that can make them difficult or impossible to use for many people. Side effects can include stomach upset and digestive issues, and issues with your liver and kidneys.
Targeted Pain Relief
Oral pain relievers carry their active ingredients throughout your body, even if you’re only trying to relieve arthritis pain in your hand. Topical creams let you precisely target the area you need treatment the most.
Relief For More Types of Pain
Oral pain relievers are not as effective for many types of pain. These include some muscle pain, inflamed tendons and ligaments, and compression neuropathy, which occurs when a part of the body puts pressure directly on a nerve. Conversely, you can apply topical creams to treat these types of pain quickly and directly.
To learn more about pain treatment, check out our article When to Ice and Injury and When to Heat It.