Topical analgesic ointments are a safe choice for your chronic pain. Be informed and fight the cycle of addiction by reading here.
Do you suffer from painful arthritis? Do you play contact sports or engage in weight lifting that typically cause distracting and painful muscle strains? Analgesic ointments could help with your minor aches and pains.
It may be easy and appealing to opt for oral painkillers. However, you should definitely consider a topical analgesic ointments instead.
Many non-narcotic pain management advocates want you to consider an alternative and for good reason: Painkillers are not only addictive, but they can also be harmful.
We’ve put together an informative guide to teach you what analgesic ointments are, why they’re better safer than oral painkillers, and what you need to know about this great alternative to opioid medications.
What Are Analgesic Ointments?
Analgesic ointments, also known as topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, by definition, are a non-ingested medication used to reduce muscle pains, painful sprains, and strains. Analgesic ointments are also able to help reduce the painful symptoms of arthritis.
Often times analgesic ointments are prescribed to patients as an alternative to oral medications because their side effects are much less intense.
Analgesic ointments usually have the same anti-inflammatory effects as anti-inflammatory medications in tablet, capsule, liquid, or injection form. These ointments often come in a variety of applications including creams, gels, patches, foams, or sprays.
These anti-inflammatory topical treatments typically include medication such as ibuprofen, felbinac, diclofenac, piroxicam, or ketoprofen. Topical analgesic ointments are available in a wide range of brand names and generic brands.
A more subtle muscle pain reducing ointment is also available, called capsaicin. However, topical anti-inflammatory medications are often more potent.
Just How Well Do These Analgesic Ointments Work?
Topical anti-inflammatory ointments treat acute muscular pain, inflammation, and strains very well.
Research trials have provided evidence that these topical treatment work better than non-medicinal creams (such as menthol balms) and that topical treatments have the same effectiveness at treating pain as oral anti-inflammatories but with fewer side effects.
Topic anti-inflammatories, since they are applied to the skin, cause no gastrointestinal issues either.
How To Use Anti-Inflammatory Analgesic Ointment
Apply the ointment, acquired by prescription or over the counter, to the affected area.
Massage gently until the product is mostly absorbed.
Be sure to wash your hands after applying the gel, spray, cream, or patch so that you don’t accidentally rub yourself eyes with the medication still on your fingers– this will definitely burn!
Avoid applying analgesic ointment to broken skin, the mouth, eyes, genitals, or other sensitive areas. Also avoid using dressings or bandages on top of analgesic ointment– let your skin breathe!
Apply two to four times a day for optimum effects.
Why Not Just Opt For Pain Meds Instead? Don’t They Work Better?
While opioid analgesics and narcotic painkillers do usually work well at evaporating intense pain, they have a slew of side effects that are infinitely scarier than the pain itself.
Here are two of the biggest side effects that will have you thinking twice:
Physical dependence on opioid drugs with long-term use (and sometimes short-term use) happens often.
While addiction and physical dependence are not the same thing, they are not mutually exclusive either.
Physical dependence is a physiological adaptation manifested by the body as intense withdrawals that are caused by a sudden removal of the drug, reduction of the drug, or abrupt administration of an inhibitor or antagonist of the medication.
Physical dependence is scary. The idea that if for whatever reason you decide to discontinue use of a medication your body will fight back is scary. Tapering off use of a medication can usually diminsh the effects of physical dependence, but it isn’t a fun thing to endure.
Addiction by definition is a chronic neurobiological disease that owes genetics, psychosocial effects, and environmental factors for its existence. Typically addiction is diagnosed when a person continues to use a harmful or unhelpful substance (in this case, opioid painkillers) despite not needing them anymore.
Addicts typically continue using a substance despite its dangerous and detrimental effects and harm to self.
Most opioid addicts are unable to beat addiction without help and nearly 36 million people abuse opioids around the world, with 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from the addiction. To give you a clear idea of how addictive painkillers are, it’s been found that only 467,000 United States citizens are addicted to heroin.
That means there are approximately 355,330,000 more painkiller addicts in the United States than heroin addicts.
Just as well, there are a ton of other side effects too, including:
- Chronic itching (pruritus)
- Respiratory depression
- Urinary retention
Painkillers aren’t so appealing now, are they? Unfortunately, there is little education or anti-narcotic advocacy when it comes to the dangers of painkillers. Luckily, some great advocates are out there as a topical ointment alternative resource and helping hand.
Do Analgesic Ointments Have Side Effects?
Yes, they do. No medication is perfect, after all, but you’ll find the potential side effects of analgesic ointments are nothing compared to the side effects of opioid painkillers.
A few side effects that are common are as follows:
- Common to Infrequent Side Effects – Stinging of skin, dry skin, allergic reactions, and skin irritation.
- Rare Side Effects – Burning, feeling faint, throat tightness, fluid around the eyes, hives, hypersensitivity, life-threatening allergic reactions, water retention and subsequent puffy face, shallow skin ulcers, and trouble breathing.
An Important Warning
The most important thing to remember when switching to a topical anti-inflammatory information is that you cannot take them in combination with an oral NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) without consulting your doctor.
Consuming too much of a NSAID can cause scary problems like stomach bleeding or ulcer flare-ups that could seriously cause you harm. Unfortunately, few people know this– and around 100,000 Americans are sent to the ER every year for NSAID-related stomach problems.
Fight The Potential For Harm and Addiction With Analgesic Ointments
We’re glad you’ve decided to educate yourselves on the topic of harmful painkillers and their analgesic ointment alternatives. We hope you can join in the fight to have an opioid addiction-free future with us!
Do you have a particular analgesic ointment brand that has saved you a ton of pain? We’d love to hear from you and learn your story! Drop us a line in the comments below.