One area of pain management that is growing exponentially is the use of topical pain medications. Essentially this involves either applying a patch, a gel, or a cream to the area overlying pain and having it absorbed through the skin relief.
This does not refer to pain patches that have a goal of getting the medicine into the bloodstream such as a fentanyl patch. In fact, the goal of topical pain medications is to have as little as possible get into the bloodstream, with the bulk of the medication going into the area of pain only.
The benefits of topical pain medication include the fact that less side effects are seen since not much gets into the bloodstream. In addition, it is possible for the medications to reduce the amount of oral pain medications necessary for relief.
The most common type of topical pain medication involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. There are now FDA approved options such as diclofenac and Voltaren which have been shown to work extremely well for joint arthritis and soft tissue injury.
In addition, published studies have shown that the topical medications are able to achieve a higher local concentration in joints and soft tissues when compared with oral medications of the same variety.
Another type of topical pain medication is lidocaine patches. Patches are able to numb the area with a slow release of the numbing agent, and the patch lasts for approximately 24 hours before needing replacement.
A third option for topical pain medication includes capsaicin. Capsaicin is made from chili peppers and works as an irritant, inhibiting the transmission of pain. The effect is a hot, slightly burning sensation that can reduce the overall pain in the area dramatically. There are really no side effects from topical capsaicin.
Dexamethasone is a topical medicine that can help with pain control as well. It is typically useful in the therapy setting where an instrument can push the steroid into the soft tissues. This is typically called iontophoresis and otherwise, dexamethasone has minimal usefulness with hand placement on the skin.
Arnica is an herbal agent that is sometimes used in topical pain creams. There have been published studies showing that Arnica can work very well for joint osteoarthritis.
Usually, topical pain medicines are ordered by pain management doctors through a compounding pharmacy. The lidocaine patches however, are simply available in a box as a prescription.
Overall, topical pain medicines have dramatically increased in popularity for pain management for numerous reasons. With their low risk profile, high effectiveness, and ability to decrease the normal amount of pain medicine required by mouth, topical pain medicines will continue to increase for pain relief.
The Nevada Pain Network connects those in need with the top Pain Management Doctors in Las Vegas. The Network offers Board Certified Las Vegas pain doctors, Las Vegas chiropractors, physical therapy, spinal decompression therapy and acupuncture.
Over 50 insurances are accepted at several locations. Call (702) 323-0553 for more information and scheduling today!