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Topical pain medications-a guide

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Pain relievers are available in different forms including medicines that are applied directly to the skin. Let’s find out more about the different topical therapy for pain relief that you can use for getting relief from different types of pain you might be suffering from.

When you talk about pain relief, though generally picture taking a pill. However, there are different types of topical pain relievers are available which you can use for getting relief from different types of pain. Such topical pain relievers include pain relieving medications applied to the skin, including creams and patches.

Such topical medications are generally used by people who cannot or do not want to take oral medications. Some people may have difficulty swallowing pills. Some other people may have had surgeries because of which they cannot absorb medicines through their GI system. In such cases, you have topical medications for pain relief and control. It pain relief cream or patch can also be used in case of patients who are suffering from a pain in a very specific area. If you are suffering from pain in a joint, you can apply the medication on the joint. On the other hand when you take medicines orally, it goes through your whole body.

Different choices


There are different sources available in case of pain medication applied to the skin. Among them free main types of pain medications are available which you can use for pain control and management.

Local anaesthetics

These are the medicines that are applied to numb painful areas for short periods of time. They are using different situations. Such medications can help you to relieve the burning, stabbing, chronic ache that may happen after a particular infraction. Dentists also use a topical anaesthetic on the gums before going for any procedure or even before using an injection. There are some topical local anaesthetics available over-the-counter in spray and gel form for different uses.

Pain medications

These are the medicines applied to the skin and they include different drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which work by reducing inflammation in a localised area of your body. There are speeding creams which work by blocking substances in the body that cause pain. Such topical medicines may also contain narcotic pain relievers. Some of the topical pain relievers are available over-the-counter but there are many others which can be bought using a prescription.

Counter irritants

Counter irritants are the products that contain substances like menthol, eucalyptus or other oils. They irritate nerve endings and thereby produce a cool feeling on the skin. That feeling distracts the brain from the good sources of pain. Vicks Vaporub is a good example of a counter irritant.

Ensure you needed

Not everyone is a good candidate for topical therapy for pain relief. If you are allergic to some of the medicines, or adhesives on patches, you should avoid using such medicines.  Your doctor can help you to find out what is good for you and what is not. If you’re buying such products over-the-counter, you can always try it first in a small way to see whether it is suitable for you are not.

References 1. CBD
2. Topical preparations for pain relief: efficacy and patient adherence
3. Pain and pain management †adults