Topical painkillers help reduce the pain and swelling that affect joints. It should be rubbed on the skin or over the affected area. You end up using a topical preparation when your body has low anti-inflammatory content.

Topical Anti-inflammatory painkillers are a group of medicines that are commonly used to relieve muscle pains, sprain, and arthritis. They can be consumed by mouth (tablets, capsules, or liquids), applied on the skin, and injected. If you apply on the skin it is known as topical anti-inflammatory painkillers and also called topical anti-inflammatories or topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Researchers recommend that topical anti-inflammatory drugs can be more effective than tablets and in some cases, it may have some side effects.

New Guidelines on Topical Painkillers Usage

If you are controlling yourself to avoid consuming painkillers to treat strained neck, sprained ankle, or bruised knee, you should check out the new guideline suggested by the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The study says specific topical (gels, liquids, or patches placed on the skin) painkillers help heal musculoskeletal injuries in areas other than the lower back.

A new guideline was published recently on August 17, 2020, by Annals of Internal Medicine, which focuses on a review of around 200 studies and a total of 33,000 patients participated who had short-term injuries or pain which lasts for less than four weeks.

The study recommends that using a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that may or may not contain menthol creates a cooling sensation.

Topical NSAIDS comes in the form of liquid, gel or patch. Diclofenac gel (Voltaren Arthritis Pain) and aspirin cream may be available without a prescription. Oral NSAIDs may have major risks than topical NSAIDs such as high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and bleeding, kidney damage, and heart attacks.

The guideline further suggests you can switch to oral NSAIDS if topical doesn’t work. You can choose ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or the non-NSAID painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol); transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or acupressure. This guideline warns using opioids except in critical cases such as tramadol (Ultram).

How Do Topical Anti-inflammatory Painkillers Work?

Topical painkillers  work on the area where you applied them. Once you rub on the skin, it will be absorbed.  It will relieve pain and decrease swelling that affects joints and muscles when you apply to the affected area.

Topical anti-inflammatory is often consumed when you have muscular pains, strains, and sprains. They also can be used to ease the pain which is caused by osteoarthritis in the hand or knee.

If you have sensitive skin, it is better to consult your physician before using topical anti-inflammatory painkillers. If you are using a preparation that has ketoprofen means you shouldn’t be exposed to UV radiation from the sun, specially where you applied.

You must apply to the affected area and gently massage the skin. Once you finish applying, immediately wash your hands so that you can avoid rubbing the medicine into eyes or other sensitive areas.