How Do I Choose the Best Analgesic Cream?

Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve pain.
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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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In order to find the best analgesic cream for one’s personal use, it is important to know the differences in the types of products available. Learn the specific indications but also make sure they won’t cause side effects or adverse interactions with other medications. By learning which types are suitable to treat specific needs, time will not be wasted while suffering continues and money will not be wasted due to using the wrong product.

Another good step in the process is to try various brands of analgesic cream, comparing store brands to the national brands. The quality and efficacy may be quite comparable, but the prices may be very different.

As is often the case when choosing a health aid, there are many different brands and types of analgesic cream from which to select. Typically, an over the counter product will be suitable for mild pain. While some types of topical analgesic simply lessen pain, others provide a numbing effect. Prescription strength analgesics may be indicated for severe pain, in which case a doctor visit is required.

The offerings, aside from analgesic cream, include analgesic balm, analgesic ointment, and analgesic spray. These also come in several different formulas including natural analgesics. These products are typically used to relieve pain associated with sprains, muscle strain, back pain, irritations, as well as for inflammation, including arthritis.

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Analgesic cream can provide relief for inflammation, as compared to oral pain relievers. However, since they are applied at the source of pain, they may provide quicker or more thorough relief, albeit temporary. Analgesics have been used in conjunction with oral pain relievers but instructions and dosage should be carefully assessed before use.

Products that create a warm or cool sensation are referred to as counter-irritants. Capsaicin, an ingredient found in hot peppers, is used to create an analgesic cream that warms the skin. Joints that you can feel just under the skin, are those that will benefit most from this type of product. Some forms, such as sprays, are specifically used to treat irritations including sunburn or pain related to minor procedures such as stitches, tattoos, or piercings.

It is always wise to check with a health care professional or pharmacist before using such a product, especially if the consumer takes medication that could possibly interact with it. As with all topical painkillers it is important to check for allergic reactions. As noted, some analgesic cream may have the same or similar effects as aspirin or ibuprofen so individuals with sensitivities to these medicines should seek different formulas.

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Discuss this Article

lluviaporos
Post 3

@pleonasm - Well, I don't think people should use a topical analgesic cream for every little knock and blister though. I mean, it is medication and some of the ones available are quite strong. And, it's difficult to tell whether a person has a good liver or not, really.

But what really worries me is that if you are hurting, say, after exercise, that's because you overdid it. Numbing yourself with creams and then doing the same thing again tomorrow is not the right response to that and can lead to serious injuries.

pleonasm
Post 2

@irontoenail - It's good to remind people of that, as we apply so many different kinds of cleansers and moisturizers to our skin that it's easy to forget that a pain cream is actually medicine and that medicine is getting absorbed into the bloodstream.

For a long time I actually didn't like using this kind of product for just that reason, because I didn't like the idea of putting random medication into my body, just to get rid of a little pain.

But a doctor told me that that wasn't the whole picture. Pain can really make it difficult to heal sometimes. If you have sore muscles, you'll be tensing those muscles with the pain and with that extra strain they'll take longer to heal.

If all you're doing is using an anti-inflammatory, pain relief cream it won't stay in your system and probably won't effect you all that much except to give you some relief. A healthy liver can take care of the chemicals with no problems whatsoever.

She convinced me it's better to just accept that my body doesn't need to be kept completely pure and that sometimes it needs a little bit of help.

irontoenail
Post 1

If you aren't familiar with these kinds of creams, make sure you read the instructions that come with the bottle. One of the things people don't realize is that while you're on some of them, you aren't supposed to take more oral pain medication, since you could be taking too much at once.

If the cream you're using contains Ibuprofen, for example and you then take a couple of Ibuprofen pills, you'll be increasing the dose beyond what they consider to be safe. And just checking to make sure they don't both contain the same ingredients isn't good enough as some of the ingredients might react with each other.

A pharmacist should be able to tell you which pills are safe to take when you're using ibuprofen cream, or any other kind. Don't take this lightly. People have died from taking too many different kinds of medication at once when they weren't well. It's better to be safe than sorry.

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