Features July 2007 Issue

How Effective Are Topical Pain-Relievers?

Their advantage is easy application and the ability to treat minor pain. The downside is their inability to treat severe pain and deliver long-lasting relief.

Itís easy to assume that at-home pain relief comes only from a bottle of pills. Truth is, you can get plenty of help from a variety of medicinal creams and gels. Choosing the right treatment for your particular pain, however, isnít always easy. One product promises help for lower back pain, but it might only work for mild muscle pain. Another reduces joint inflammation but contains salicylates that could interfere with blood thinners. A third guarantees pain relief, but itís really designed for skin irritations, not joint discomfort.

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