are dozens of medications for knee pain. If the pain is mild, topical pain
relievers such as ointments are worth a try. Ointments contain a higher
concentration of oil so they are stickier and greasier than creams. They are
likely to remain on the skin longer. Do they work? The efficacy is dependent on
the specific ingredients they have. To help you find the best ointments for
pain relief, here are pieces of information to discern.
Why topical pain relievers? When it comes to treating knee pain, most of us will look for a pain-relieving pill, especially if your knee hurts a lot — many times Tylenol (acetaminophen) for starters, or probably one of NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen).
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popping this pill doesn’t work for everyone. For people with poor
gastrointestinal tract in which the digestive system doesn’t respond well to
NSAIDs, they need alternative options. Some people are also reluctant to go with
pills due to certain reason.
Here topical pain relievers may help. Applying pain-relieving medication right on the painful area has many intuitive appeals, though there are also some drawbacks.
pill that involves gastrointestinal tract function (to absorb the medication)
and circulation of the medication in the blood — topical approach allows you
to treat the problem locally, reducing counterproductive effects to other
areas. This may also help reduce side effects of the medication. Plus, there is
no question that the medications can penetrate the skin.
ointments better than creams? This depends on several factors.
ointments are higher in oil than creams and stay on the skin longer, they are
more recommended if the medication is intended to be absorbed slowly. This
doesn’t soothe the pain as quick as creams, but they’re likely to keep the pain
cases when medications are intended to be absorbed quickly, creams are your
best bet. Creams are likely to provide pain relief more quickly than ointments,
because they are lower in oil and allow the skin absorb the medicine quickly.
common to find counterirritants in topical pain relievers, including ointments.
Counterirritants are ingredients that create sensation (cooling or a bit burning) to
distract the mind from the pain. These include camphor, menthol, and methyl
to be produced from the camphor trees that natively grow in East Asian
countries. But today, it can also be chemically produced from turpentine oil.
It has a
counter irritant effect. It stimulates a cool sensation when topically applied
on the skin. Also, it numbs the nerve endings so the transmission of pain is
But don’t take it by mouth! When ingested, it can cause serious side effects. People with seizure disorder should use it extra carefully, because camphor fumes make their seizure more likely to flare up.
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To reduce the counterproductive effects of camphor, a few additional substances are usually mixed with camphor. Avoid using pure camphor oil – or only use it with extra caution if you have to!
soothes knee pain by releasing cooling sensation. It drives the skin to feel
cool, the flip side of burning sensation. This feeling may be effective to
distract you from feeling pain deeper in your knee joint, muscles, and tendons.
not have to do with the real temperature of your skin since it doesn’t change
your overall skin temperature. It causes cooling sensation because it attaches
to a certain neuronal receptor.
general, menthol is harmless substance and safe for most people. But although
it works for pain relief, it doesn’t target the underlying cause of the problem
salicylate belongs to a group of chemicals called salicylates due to its
salicylic acid content. It is one of common ingredients in many OTC pain relief
ointments. In the plants that produce this wintergreen-scented active compound,
scientists have found that it has a role to help the plant stave off disease.
work for pain relief? This is probably not fully known. There is little
reliable evidence to confirm its effectiveness as a pain reliever. But once a
salicylate compound is absorbed and turned into salicylic acid, this can help
ease inflammation and pain — there’s not much question for this one!
use any topical ointments containing salicylate with prescription if you’re
taking blood thinners for heart problems or if you have an aspirin allergy!
‘capsaicin’ might not be familiar for most people, but we all do know the taste
especially for those who love spicy foods. This substance is responsible for
the hot taste of chili peppers. And did you know that it also has a medical
purpose, including for pain relief!
is a counter irritant. When you apply it on the skin, it causes a burning
sensation so the pain massages to the nerves are blocked. When first applied,
you may find it’s quite bothersome — but you will get used to it over time.
For pain relief, you may need to put capsaicin ointments on your knee joint for
a few days up to a couple of weeks.
on what causes the pain, capsaicin may help provide benefits more than just
driving your mind off the pain. For instance, it may help improve inflammation,
redness, scaling, and pain from psoriasis. It may also work effectively to help
relieve nerve damage pain caused by peripheral diabetic neuropathy and singles
You usually don’t need prescription to get capsaicin ointments since most of them contain low concentrations of capsaicin. However, stop right away if you experience any unusual symptoms (e.g. chest tightness, itching, trouble breathing, and hives). Capsaicin (even though in low concentration) might cause a counterproductive, allergic reaction in some people.
in topical form such as ointments and gels are getting a closer look nowadays.
As well we know that NSAIDs are powerful to soothe pain, but they also carry a
number of side effects. Here topical versions may help deal with. A number of
topical pain relief products containing NSAIDs have been approved by the FDA.
form, NSAIDs are quite commonly associated with gastrointestinal problems such
as increased risk of ulcers, stomach upset, and bleeding. This occurs because
NSAIDs can irritate the gut’s mucosal lining and decrease the amount of
prostaglandin in the blood.
topically applied on the skin may also go to the bloodstream and affect
prostaglandin levels. Even though there is no direct contact with the
gastrointestinal mucosal lining, a decrease in prostaglandin is still possible
to cause a similar counterproductive effect profile as one taken orally. But
topical applications are likely to result in lower amounts of NSAIDs in blood
than the pill forms.
question, is this effective enough to relieve pain? The data from various
clinical trials on this is mixed.
bottom line: when topically applied on the skin, NSAIDs probably are less
likely to cause negative effects (though there are doubts on the effectiveness
of topical application with NSAIDs for pain relief).
the kind of ointment you choose for your knee pain relief, it’s important to
use it properly. Here are a few things to remember.
off, make sure the package of your ointment is in a good condition.
the package insert (a document /guideline included in the package of your
ointment) so you can completely understand how to use the product properly.
sure the area where you want to apply the ointment is clean and dry enough.
Wash your knee, and pat the skin afterwards.
the ointment evenly to the painful area, gently massage it.
put it to damaged skin /wounds! Never use it under a tight bandage or along
with a heating pad.
touch your eyes, genitals, or other sensitive areas with the ointment on your
hands. Always wash your hands cleanly every time after using the ointment or
wear gloves if necessary!
All medications are potential to cause side effects. It’s difficult to predict who might get a negative reaction. But in general, there is a standard caution.
topical pain relievers may help relieve your knee pain, do also the RICE
formula. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
following are a few explanations about this: