When you’re dealing with chronic pain from arthritis or painful problems such as failed back surgery, taking pain medications by mouth may help significantly. However, the side effects from those medications may be bothersome to patients. These may include constipation, tolerance, addiction, and the inability to think clearly.
Therefore, it can be very helpful to have topical pain medications to place over an area of discomfort. Over the last few years, the number of non-narcotic topical options have become mainstream that can significantly help achieve pain relief. Los Angeles Pain Management Doctors are using them more often to achieve a higher success rate with treatment.
Here are five of those options.
1. The first is a lidocaine patch. These are available with a prescription from your Pain Management Doctor in Los Angeles.
The original indication for their FDA approval was for postherpetic neuralgia, but they have become much more common for other types of painful conditions. The patches can be cut to the area that needs them and are effective for approximately 24 hours and then need to be replaced.
The lidocaine patches have been looked at in studies for osteoarthritis and lower back pain as well as for myofascial pain syndrome and have shown effectiveness in all. They can also be very helpful for those with RSD pain or from complex regional pain syndrome.
2. A second option for topical pain relief is NSAIDS. These anti-inflammatory topical medications are available in a cream form and have much lower side effects then those taken by mouth. They have none of the G.I. side effects or potential issues with kidneys.
Along with the better safety profile, they have been shown to be extremely effective for multiple conditions such as tendinitis and knee osteoarthritis along with other areas. Along with the cream form, there also patches and gels available. The medications available include diclofenac along with ketoprofen and ibuprofen.
3. The third medication that is available for topical use is known as Capsaicin. This is the active compound found in chili peppers and acts as a counterirritant to relieve pain. Acting as an irritant over the area it actually can decrease the painful sensation. These creams have been shown to have effectiveness for postherpetic neuralgia along with diabetic neuropathy and other types of neuropathy as well.
Capsaicin has also shown usefulness in treating osteoarthritis pain along with fibromyalgia as well.
4. Steroids have been used for many years topically to relieve pain. When a steroid such as dexamethasone is placed of the skin it can be pushed in using a technique known as iontophoresis which is common among physical therapy clinics. This can be very helpful for Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, osteoarthritis and other painful conditions. While common in physical therapy clinics, it is difficult for a patient to do this at home because of the lack of the iontophoresis machine.
5. The fifth option for topical medication is called Arnica. This is a gel that is actually made from an herb. It is used topically to decrease inflammation, soothe muscle aches and reduce swelling and bruising. There has been a few studies looking at it for mild to moderate osteoarthritis and show that it does have effectiveness.
With these five topical medications as options for painful conditions either with osteoarthritis or tendinitis, one may be able to decrease the amount of actual pain medications necessary along with increasing function significant. Pain management Clinics in Los Angeles often incorporate these options into treatment regimens to help avoid surgery and reduce the amount of oral medications necessary.
The California Pain Network has the largest Network of Board Certified pain management doctors in Orange County, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Inland Empire. Call (310) 626-1526 for one number scheduling at a location near you!