Top 10 Causes of Muscle Pain

Top 10 Causes of Muscle Pain

Muscle pain can cause serious discomfort and make daily activities a chore. The more you know about the causes of your muscle pain, the better you can treat it and find relief. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 causes of muscle pain.

Top 10 Causes of Muscle Pain

  1. Muscle Strain or Sprain
  2. Repetitive Motion
  3. Sleep Deprivation
  4. Tension and Stress
  5. Overuse
  6. Poor Posture or Form
  7. Electrolyte Imbalance
  8. Fibromyalgia
  9. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  10. Medication Side Effects

Muscle pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. You can usually find relief from muscle pain symptoms if you can determine the underlying causes. Sometimes finding relief is as simple as changing your posture, getting more sleep, or stretching to improve blood flow before a workout. Other times, muscle pain may be caused by an illness, injury, or reaction to medicine. By understanding the causes of your discomfort, you’ll be able to take the proper steps to eliminate your muscle pain.

1. Muscle Sprain or Strain 

Minor injuries can cause anything from nagging discomfort to severe pain. The most common minor injuries that cause muscle pain are sprains and strains. A sprain is when the ligament gets stretched or torn. Ligaments are the fibrous tissue in your joints that connect two bones.

Most commonly, people experience sprains in their ankles as it’s very easy to roll or turn your ankle the wrong way causing the sprain.

Sprains are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Limited mobility
  • A popping feeling or sound when injured

Strains are very similar to sprains in that they are a stretching or tearing within your muscle or tendon. Strains most commonly occur when trying to lift something too heavy, causing significant lower back muscle pain.

Another common place to suffer a muscle strain is in the hamstring, which is the muscle in the back of your thigh. A hamstring strain can cause severe leg muscle pain. Strains have similar symptoms as sprains, with the exception of bruising and the popping sound at the time of injury.

To find muscle pain relief from a sprain or strain, you should elevate your injured muscle, and apply ice to it regularly. Rest the muscle from strenuous activity and apply compression, such as placing a wrap around the injured area. In extreme cases, you may need to see a doctor for more involved physical therapy or surgery to repair the tear from your injury.

2. Repetitive Motion

You’ve likely heard of tennis elbow, an injury that got its name because tennis players experience it regularly from repeating the same motion over and over again. This repetitive motion for tennis players causes arm pain because they don’t cross train those muscles properly. Our muscles require a variety of motion, and too much repetition will likely begin to cause muscle pain. This form of muscle pain can happen to anyone and isn’t limited to sports injuries. Any repetitive motion, including cleaning the floor or other regular household chores, can cause this form of muscle pain.

Repetitive motion injuries can also include tendonitis and bursitis. Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon, which is the fiber that connects your bones and muscles. Given the role the tendon plays in the body, it’s no surprise that inflammation of the tendon would lead to muscle pain.

Bursitis can accompany tendonitis or occur on its own. It’s caused by inflammation of the bursa, which is a lubricating sac that decreases rubbing and friction between muscles, bone, skin, and tendons. This injury is often found in the elbow, shoulder, hip knee or Achilles tendon.

The best treatment for these injuries is rest and applying ice. If pain persists, you certainly want to see your doctor for a medical evaluation.

3. Sleep Deprivation


Your body needs sleep to heal and repair itself. When you fail to sleep properly, you may experience moderate to severe muscle pain. Adults need six to eight hours of sleep for optimal health. This allows your body’s tissues and cells the time they need to repair.

While you may be allowing your body the necessary six to eight hours of rest, you might be struggling to actually fall asleep once you’re in bed. A good way to combat this is to establish nighttime routines that prepare your body for sleep. The best activities right before bed are those that promote relaxation, such as a cup of tea (just be sure it’s decaf), meditation to help you relax all your muscles and forget the worries of the day, reading a book, enjoying a podcast, or turning on a white noise machine each night that signals to your body that it’s bedtime.

As you develop an effective bedtime routine and start to sleep more, your muscles should recover and stop causing you pain.

4. Tension and Stress

Stress leads to tension. Too much tension and strain in your body can cause muscle spasms, stiffness, and aching muscle pain. Tension most commonly results in neck and shoulder muscle pain, as most tension occurs in the upper body. The best thing to do when your muscle pain is caused by tension is to identify the causes of such anxiety and find effective coping mechanisms for those triggers. If you treat the cause of the stress in your life, your muscle and joint pain will likely improve.

5. Overuse

When you overuse your muscles, it can cause muscle pain. Athletes are likely to experience muscle pain from strenuous physical activity, as the fibers of the muscles are in a constant state of tearing and repairing themselves. 

The best way to treat overuse injuries is to rest from the exercises that are causing your pain. Consider limiting the activity for a short period of time. It’s best to continue gently using that muscle group so sudden atrophy doesn’t lead to even more muscles aches and soreness. Incorporate cross-training into your routine to exercise those muscles in different ways to prevent future overuse injuries.

6. Poor Posture or Form

When you use your muscles in an improper way, it can lead to injury and pain. When your body is in an unnatural position for prolonged periods, it leads to a form of muscle strain.

The most common poor-posture injuries come from desk workers who slouch in their chair eight hours a day. You should make every effort to straighten your spine and not hunch your back throughout the day. Be careful you aren’t spending too much time with your phone cradled on your shoulder as these can also cause posture strains on your muscles. Additionally, women who wear heels regularly place the lower back in an unnatural curvature, leading to pain and discomfort.

Sore muscles can be caused by poor form as well. This can be caused by exercising improperly at the gym, such as when weight lifting or running on the treadmill, or from awkwardly lifting any heavy object around the house. Just like poor posture, poor form puts added strain on muscles that aren’t prepared for that sort of movement, leading to discomfort and pain.

Those who suffer muscle pain from poor posture or form can find relief by simply correcting these bad habits. Your posture can often be fixed by simply being aware of the issue and correcting your posture. In time, you’ll develop a positive habit and begin to use good posture naturally. Poor form may require help from an expert who can show you how to properly complete the activity, such as a personal trainer or instructor at work.

7. Electrolyte Imbalance

A common form of muscle pain is a muscle cramp. Muscle cramps can happen when you have an improper electrolyte balance in your body. Electrolytes are essential minerals your body needs, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. These minerals are necessary for proper muscle contraction. When muscle contraction is slowed due to an electrolyte imbalance, you end up with painful muscle cramps.

To ensure proper balance, be sure you’re well hydrated and receive enough of these essential minerals, either through a sports drink, a diet rich in these minerals, or supplements.

8. Fibromyalgia         

Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition that affects 10 million people in the United States. Fibromyalgia symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, sensitivity to touch, and pain throughout the body– including muscle pain. 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can be difficult to pin down because fibromyalgia pain can move from place to place within the body. Fibromyalgia symptoms in women are much more common than they are in men and tend to be more prevalent in individuals with muscle, joint or bone conditions, such as arthritis.

It is believed that Fibromyalgia symptoms can be triggered by physical trauma, such as surgery, or an infection, but the underlying cause of the illness is not well known. There are medications that can treat fibromyalgia symptoms so that you don’t have to live with daily chronic pain.

9. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause pain in all muscles in the body. Those who suffer from this condition feel exhausted and weak regardless of how much rest and sleep they get.

Due to the fatigue from this syndrome, your body’s muscles can’t repair themselves as they normally would, which causes pain in the muscles and joints. In addition to feeling pain throughout the entire body, additional symptoms include insomnia, sore throat, headache, forgetfulness, and confusion.

Muscle weakness from chronic fatigue syndrome is not something you simply have to endure. There are underlying causes of this condition, including anxiety, depression, and obesity. If these conditions are treated, you can recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and live a very full life.

You can learn to manage chronic muscle or joint pain. Be sure to read our article on pain relief for chronic muscle and joint pain.

10. Medication Side Effects

If you’ve tried everything to evaluate and solve your muscle pain without relief, you may want to look at the labels on any medications you’re taking. Muscle pain and soreness are very common side effects for many popular medications, including Lipitor, Ambien, and Omeprazole.

If this is the source of your pain, discuss your muscle pain with your doctor to determine if there is a comparable drug you can take to treat your conditions. By adjusting your medication, you may find muscle pain relief and be able to resume your normal activities.

Additional Muscle Pain Treatments

As you work to address the issues causing your pain, you may find temporary relief from muscle pain by using over-the-counter medication. Ibruprofin can offer short-term pain relief and help reduce swelling. However, it’s important to understand that OTC pills are not a sustainable long-term treatment plan. Prolonged use of pain medication can cause serious side effects, including liver and kidney damage, and stomach pains.

Instead of relying on over-the-counter pain relievers, consider treating your muscle pain with a topical pain relief cream such as Wonder Pain Relief. Topical creams have minimal side effects and are much safer than pain medication. Wonder Pain Relief is effective in treating many forms of muscle pain and can safely be a part of your long-term pain management strategy. It’s the only topical cream which contains wogonin, a natural anti-inflammatory agent extracted from the Skullcap plant. By applying Wonder Pain Relief directly to the sore muscle, you can quickly target the source of your pain for fast, long-term relief. 

Muscle pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Depending on the type of muscle pain, you may find relief by relieving stress and tension, adjusting your posture, resting overworked muscles, or using a topical pain relief cream as needed. Other home remedies for treating muscle pain include stretching, massage therapy, and a change in diet.

Of course, the best way to treat muscle pain is to address the issue causing it. If you have trouble determining the cause of your pain, or you find these remedies are not effective, be sure to visit your doctor for a medical evaluation and further treatment options.

8 Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms to Watch Out For

8 Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms to Watch Out For

Psoriasis is generally thought of as a condition that affects the skin and for the most part, it is. But did you know that 15 to 30 percent of individuals living with psoriasis will come to develop a type of inflammatory arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis? The same inflammatory process that causes the skin changes associated with psoriasis can also impact joints, causing a myriad of unpleasant symptoms.

8 Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

  • Joint Pain and Stiffness
  • Swollen Fingers and Toes
  • Ankle and Foot Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Red Scaly Skin Patches
  • Changes to Nail Beds
  • Fatigue
  • Eye Problems

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that appears in association with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder found in two to four percent of the population worldwide and is generally characterized by the appearance of discolored patches of scaly skin. These patches, blotchy in appearance, range from red to purple depending on skin color. They can be small and localized or cover vast swaths of the body, and they appear most often on the knees, elbows, and scalp.

This scaly rash caused by psoriasis is also known as a plaque. Plaques are the result of skin cells maturing at a faster than normal rate, thus accumulating on the skin’s surface. This plaque-forming type of psoriasis is the most common, accounting for as many as 90 percent of reported cases. Psoriasis occurs in men and women equally. Although juvenile psoriasis exists, psoriasis is most prevalent in the adult population aged 30 to 55.

You may be wondering, How can a skin rash cause arthritis? In short, psoriatic arthritis refers to the inflammation in the joints and surrounding connective tissue caused by the same autoimmune disorder which affects the skin. The skin symptoms of psoriasis usually appear before the development of PsA, often many years prior. A small proportion of individuals, however, do experience joint pain and stiffness right out of the gate, preceding the appearance of any skin symptoms. Some individuals develop psoriatic arthritis without any skin changes at all, though this is fairly uncommon.

PsA is most likely to appear in those experiencing psoriatic fingernail changes like pitting, crumbling and discoloration. While psoriatic arthritis can rear its ugly head and attack any joint of the body, some joints are more likely to be affected than others.

5 Types of Psoriatic Arthritis

There are actually five different types of psoriatic arthritis, depending on which areas of the body are impacted and the severity of symptoms. The five distinctive types of psoriatic arthritis are:

1. Symmetric Polyarthritis


This common type of PsA occurs bilaterally, meaning it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. For this reason, it can resemble rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

2. Asymmetric Oligoarticular


Unlike symmetric polyarthritis, asymmetric oligoarticular arthritis can strike any joint in the body without apparent balance or symmetry. For example, joints on the right hand may be affected, while the left hand feels fine. This type of PsA is common and corresponds with a high likelihood of developing enlarged “sausage-like” fingers and toes.

3. Distal Interphalangeal Predominant (DIP)


Distal Interphalangeal Predominant is a form of psoriatic arthritis which affects the joints closest to the nails of the fingers and toes. Because of the location of affected joints, it can resemble rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

4. Spondylitis


The term spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Spondylitis is a common cause of back and neck pain among the general population. Not surprisingly, those with PsA are especially at risk. The inflammatory response of psoriatic arthritis can take hold of any of the vertebral joints, causing pain at any point from the neck all the way down to the base of the spine. A small subset of those living with PsA– approximately 5 percent of people– will develop a fusion of the bones in the spine called ankylosing spondylitis.

5. Arthritis Mutilans


Arthritis mutilans is considered to be the most severe form of psoriatic arthritis, affecting five percent of PsA sufferers. Arthritis mutilans wreaks havoc on the nails and small joints at the end of the fingers and toes. This causes severe swelling and stiffness and is capable of destroying joints completely. Bone loss associated with arthritis mutilans may lead to a shortening of the toes and fingers known as telescoping.

What Causes Psoriatic Arthritis?

Researchers and healthcare professionals can’t say precisely what causes someone to develop psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Some cases could be hereditary, as roughly 30 percent of psoriasis patients report a family history of the condition. Scientists have isolated a small number of genes in the DNA sequence that increase the probability of developing psoriasis. However, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, only a minority of cases can be explained by genetics.

The most widely accepted cause of psoriasis has been dubbed the “shotgun theory.” In this theory, a person’s DNA “loads the gun” and something in the environment “pulls the trigger,” activating the disease. Researchers in the medical community have established a number of lifestyle risk factors known to be a likely trigger: obesity, extreme stress, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, and poor dietary choices. Psoriatic arthritis is a condition prone to flaring up; those already living with PsA will recognize many of these factors as likely to cause a flare-up. For instance, periods of stress are likely to be accompanied by an increase in psoriasis symptoms. Other triggers include cold weather, injuries, and infections of the skin. Occasionally, psoriasis can be triggered by an adverse reaction to a prescription medication.

How Does Psoriatic Arthritis Differ from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis symptoms can be similar to the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both RA and PsA sufferers are likely to experience fatigue and disease flare-ups. A feeling of morning stiffness and soreness following periods of rest is associated with both osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Healthcare providers look for the skin and nail changes unique to psoriasis to help confirm a diagnosis. There is no definitive test for diagnosing PsA, so doctors rely on the information gleaned from a patient’s physical examinations, blood tests, imaging tests, and family history to differentiate PsA from other types of arthritis.

One common example of this would be the use of a blood test to check for an antibody called rheumatoid factor which is found in the blood of those with rheumatoid arthritis. Since this antibody is not typically found in the blood of those with psoriatic arthritis, testing for rheumatoid factor can help the doctor distinguish between psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Healthcare providers are also able to differentiate between psoriatic arthritis and RA based on how and where the swelling affects the joints. Swelling that is localized around the tips of the fingers is a symptom associated not only with PsA but also gout– a form of inflammatory arthritis that typically affects only one joint. This can lead to a misdiagnosis, at least initially. A joint fluid test can be utilized to check for uric acid crystals, the presence of which would lead to a diagnosis of gout.

8 Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms to Watch Out For

The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis tend to come and go. Many psoriasis sufferers find that keeping a symptom-tracking journal can help determine what triggered a flare-up. It’s important to keep an eye out for these eight most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.

1. Joint Pain and Stiffness


Joint pain can range from mild to severe. You’ll notice a feeling of stiffness, which tends to be more pronounced in the morning or after periods of rest. A reduced range of motion is likely, and joints may feel warm to the touch. Pain left untreated may quickly become disabling.

2. Swollen Fingers and Toes


Your fingers and toes may swell, sometimes so severely they resemble sausages. When extreme swelling occurs, the condition is known as dactylitis. This symptom is more typical of psoriatic arthritis than any other form of arthritis and can be quite painful.

3. Ankle and Foot Pain

Psoriatic arthritis is known to cause pain where tendons and ligaments attach to bones, particularly in the Achilles tendon (back the heel) and soles of the feet. When left untreated, it can create difficulties walking. The most painful time of day will likely be the morning when you stand up after getting out of bed.

4. Lower Back Pain


Pain often centralized around the area of the lower back just above the tailbone (this area is known as the sacrum). There are many different causes of lower back pain. If this is your only symptom, the chances you have psoriatic arthritis are more unlikely, though it’s important to seek medical attention to determine the cause.

5. Red, Scaly Skin Patches


Known also as plaques, these patches of irritated skin with flaky, white scales tend to be dry and itchy. The severity of psoriasis skin disease is not directly proportional to the likelihood of developing psoriatic arthritis.

6. Changes to Nail Beds


Ridging and pitting of the fingernails and toenails (called onycholysis) are closely associated with an individual’s risk of developing psoriatic arthritis. More than 80 percent of PsA sufferers experience these psoriatic nail lesions.

7. Fatigue


Extreme weariness is a common symptom associated with psoriatic arthritis. Bouts of fatigue tend to last for days or weeks. During this time, extra rest or sleep is typically an ineffective treatment.

8. Eye Problems

Due to the nature of the autoimmune disorder, psoriatic arthritis sufferers are more susceptible to eye problems. The most common eye diseases are conjunctivitis (pink eye) and uveitis, a condition that causes painful, red eyes and blurry vision.


Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment

The first step in treating psoriatic arthritis is setting an appointment to see a board-certified rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the bones, joints and connective tissue. The inflammation of the joints that define PsA can result in permanent damage that may worsen over time, so a prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential. Although psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis cannot be cured, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms and slow progression. Many individuals incorporate natural remedies into their arthritis-fighting arsenal.

The pharmaceuticals prescribed to manage pain and inflammation include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids given by injection, and a class of medications called TNF-alpha inhibitors. Immunosuppressive medications like methotrexate and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are prescribed to slow down the disease and prevent joint damage. Research has shown the use of topical creams to be very effective in treating arthritis symptoms. Products like Arthritis Wonder Cream are formulated to penetrate the skin quickly and effectively, offering almost immediate pain relief that lasts the entire day.

Living with psoriatic arthritis can be very uncomfortable and often painful. Quality of life is often compromised and for an unlucky few, disability can result. It is recommended for those living with psoriatic arthritis to establish a supportive network of individuals available to step in and assist physically and emotionally when needed. Mental health professionals, such as counselors and therapists, may also be helpful in assisting sufferers and their families to establish coping mechanisms. Stress reduction is especially important for those living with PsA because the chemicals released by the body during periods of high stress is likely to aggravate symptoms. We don’t know exactly what causes psoriatic arthritis, nor can we cure it at the present time. Fortunately, symptoms can be managed through prescription medications, topical cream, and healthy lifestyle choices.

7 Osteoarthritis Treatment Options to Consider if You Suffer from Degenerative Joint Pain

7 Osteoarthritis Treatment Options to Consider if You Suffer from Degenerative Joint Pain

Living with osteoarthritis (OA) makes simple tasks difficult and daily life a challenge. Inflammation and pain can affect any of your joints, though the disease commonly affects the hands, knees, and hips. Fortunately, help is available. If you’re suffering from degenerative joint pain, it’s important to consider the following treatment options.

7 Effective Methods for Treating Osteoarthritis

  1. Pain-Relief Creams
  2. Exercises and Physical Therapy
  3. Diet Modifications
  4. Medications and Painkillers
  5. Injections
  6. Stem Cell Therapy
  7. Surgery

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of Americans. Some treatment options for osteoarthritis require medical intervention, while others are natural remedies that can help improve mobility and reduce your pain. Here are seven osteoarthritis treatment options available to help you combat this disease. 

1. Pain-Relief Creams

Pain relief creams are applied directly to the skin of the area where you’re experiencing joint pain.  These creams can occasionally cause side effects, but reactions are much less severe and infrequent compared to oral medication.

As an over-the-counter option, pain-relief creams are easy to get without having to regularly visit the pharmacy and wait on a prescription. There are many options for pain-relief creams to help you manage your osteoarthritis pain.

Arthritis Wonder is a fast-acting osteoarthritis treatment that you can apply at least once a day or as needed for long-term relief. Within five minutes, you can experience joint pain relief, whether that be your hands, hips, knees or back. Arthritis Wonder is the only product that includes wogonin, a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent derived naturally from the Skullcap plant Scutellaria Baicalensis.

Topical NSAIDs and Opioid Creams

Many patients suffering from finger joint or knee osteoarthritis find relief with topical NSAIDs. These topical creams commonly include the drug diclofenac which can be prescribed by your doctor. Diclofenac is a well-known medicine for reducing inflammation, but long-term use is not recommended.

There are also opioid analgesics for severe pain which require a prescription. These types of creams use a narcotic drug to block your brain’s pain receptors. There is a serious risk of addiction to any narcotic drug, and although the drug is not being ingested, patients who use these creams are not supposed to drive or operate machinery.

2. Exercises and Physical Therapy

By strengthening the muscles around the aching joints, you can find relief from your osteoarthritis symptoms. Exercises and physical therapy are a great way to manage your pain without medications or surgery.

There are three main types of exercises for osteoarthritis treatment:

Range of Motion/Flexibility – These exercises help by reducing stiffness in the affected joints. The more mobility you have in these joints, the less stiffness and pain you’ll experience.

Endurance/Aerobic – By building your endurance, you help your body work more effectively and increase your stamina. This makes activities that engage your aching joints more tolerable as they’ll put less overall strain on your body. Generally, you should try and get 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week to help build and keep this endurance.

Strengthening Exercises – The stronger your muscles, the better they can support your joints. By adding strength training exercises to your exercise routines, you can experience lower pain levels from your OA.

To help you target your areas of pain, a physical therapist can work with you on exercises that remedy your osteoarthritis. A trained physical therapist that specializes in arthritis treatment can help you target your hips, knee, finger joints, neck or other painful areas to ensure your time in exercise is well spent.

Another great benefit of exercise is that it can help you lose weight. Excess weight puts added strain and stress on your joints, causing the cartilage to break down faster and accelerate your degenerative joint pain.

3. Diet Modifications

Some foods promote inflammation, while others reduce it. When you modify your diet to eliminate inflammation-inducing foods and increase foods that are antioxidant rich to reduce inflammation, you can find relief from your osteoarthritis symptoms.

This form of osteoarthritis treatment can be accomplished by adding the foods to your diet that reduce inflammation, including:

  • Vitamin C (tropical fruits, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale)
  • Vitamin D (seafood, milk fortified with vitamin D, eggs, orange juice, cereal, tofu, yogurt)
  • Beta-carotene (winter squash, cantaloupe, parsley, tomatoes, asparagus, cruciferous vegetables)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (oysters, walnuts, omega-3-fortified eggs, sardines, salmon, herring, anchovies, flax seed)
  • Bioflavonoids (onions, kale, leeks, blueberries, cocoa powder, green tea, apricots, apples)
  • Spices (ginger and turmeric)

You should avoid the following foods because they increase inflammation:

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Fried food
  • Flour

When your body receives important vitamins and nutrients you will feel much better. Just like with exercise, changes to your diet to healthier foods can also be beneficial by promoting weight loss.

4. Medications and Painkillers

Generally, doctors recommend trying the natural remedies listed above before resorting to medications. While beneficial in reducing pain and improving your overall quality of life, medications treat your symptoms and not the root cause of your pain and discomfort, which makes them less ideal for your long-term health.

Here are some medications and painkillers you can discuss with your doctor:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Start with a small amount. While there are few day-to-day side effects of taking acetaminophen regularly, over time this drug can cause liver damage, especially if you exceed the recommended dosage. While taking this over the counter pain medication, you should avoid heavy alcoholic consumption. Limit alcoholic beverages to no more than two per day because both this drug and alcohol put a strain on your liver.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs are over-the-counter drugs designed to reduce inflammation while also reducing your pain. These include branded drugs you’re likely familiar with, including Aleve, Motrin, and Advil. Like acetaminophen, extended use can lead to side effects including upset stomach, bleeding in the stomach, as well as heart attack and stroke.

Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitors

These prescription-level NSAIDs are designed to fight inflammation. They are designed to have fewer side effects on your stomach. While these drugs carry less risk of heart attack when used for prolonged periods than traditional NSAIDs, patients who use these do have a higher risk of kidney damage.

5. Injections

When changes to your diet and exercise provide no relief, and oral medications don’t work for you, your doctor can inject medicine directly into your affected joints. This method is more invasive and requires more visits to your doctor. Even with a good health insurance plan, injections may be more expensive than over-the-counter drugs and creams.

Corticosteroid Injections

Also called cortisone or steroid injections, these injections provide short-term relief and must be administered at regular intervals. Your doctor will inject medicine directly into the affected joint. This is the most common form of injection treatment for osteoarthritis.

Corticosteroid injections are designed to lower inflammation and work almost instantly to provide relief. These injections often need to be administered every couple of months, though problems can arise from long-term use. There are side effects to these shots including joint irritation, nerve damage, infection, and bone thinning. Too many repeated injections can add to the breakdown of your joints, which is the very symptom you’re trying to avoid.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Hyaluronic acid injections are highly debated by the arthritis community. While approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding their effectiveness. As an osteoarthritis treatment, hyaluronic acid injections are designed for the hip or knee joints.

They carry a risk of more pain and swelling where injected, which is the opposite desired result. Some patients also experience allergic reactions to the medicine.

6. Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy can mend damaged tissue and help fight off the disease. In some clinical studies, cartilage regeneration has been observed. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis receive the additional benefit of an improved immune system.

Some stem cell therapies require a patient to undergo a procedure where healthy stem cells are removed from the hip bone to be injected into the affected area. This procedure can be highly uncomfortable and takes some recovery time to heal after the procedure.

Stem cell therapy is a new form of osteoarthritis treatment and not widely recognized. Most insurance companies will deny coverage for these claims. This can leave patients with a bill of around $2,000 per treatment, making this a very expensive therapy to undergo. Investigating insurance coverage and cost of treatment before signing up to receive this treatment is highly recommended.

Given that stem cell therapy is still emerging, it is not regulated by the FDA for osteoarthritis treatment, making it a riskier procedure. While there are many clinics surfacing throughout the country, vetting these providers could prove to be difficult.

7. Surgery

When all other osteoarthritis treatments fail, your doctor may resort to surgery to treat your osteoarthritis. There are different types of surgery options that your doctor might recommend.

Arthroscopy

is a procedure that enables your doctor to insert a small camera into your affected joint to have a better view of what is causing your pain. Your doctor can then remove damaged cartilage and bone fragments as well as smooth out rough spots to improve your joint’s ability to function normally.

While this surgery is not extremely invasive, it is also limited in its ability to provide relief for osteoarthritis sufferers as it doesn’t work for all types of arthritis. If your doctor deems that the surgery is right for you, the great news is that the recovery time is short.

Arthroplasty

There is also the option for arthroplasty which is a total joint replacement surgery. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the part of your bone that houses the arthritis disease and inserts an artificial metal or plastic joint. The procedure provides great relief and improved quality of life for most patients but must be redone when the artificial joint wears out, which is often within 20 years.

Osteotomy

Osteotomy is a procedure in which a surgeon cuts the bone near your affected joint and inserts a wedge to realign the affected bone so that it doesn’t rub and cause pain. This surgery treats the cause of the arthritis pain instead of the symptoms but does require extensive healing and a longer stay in the hospital.

Joint Fusion

A final surgery option to treat your osteoarthritis is a joint fusion. This is when a surgeon joins two or more bones together using pins or screws to create one continuous joint. This surgery provides lifetime relief but carries with it a reduction in mobility and flexibility given that it is fusing multiple joints into one. Additionally, it can mean more pressure and stress on other joints as your body adapts to accommodate the change.


Many Ways to Treat Osteoarthritis

There are many treatment options available for osteoarthritis. Less invasive treatments include diet and exercise, oral medications, painkillers, and use of a topical cream like Arthritis Wonder. Advanced treatments include corticosteroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, stem cell therapy, and even surgery.

Do all you can to learn more about osteoarthritis so you can make informed decisions about your available options. Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that fits your needs. You don’t have to suffer through daily pain. Test out these different remedies – both natural and medicinal – to find relief and improve your quality of life

The 13 Best Vitamins for Arthritis

The 13 Best Vitamins for Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic and degenerative disease of the joint, or in layman terms, a “wear and tear” problem of the rubbery cushions between the joints that tends to worsen over time. There is no one-shot-fits-all approach to treating arthritis, and treatment can (and usually does) consist of several options, like anti-inflammatory pain medication, physical and occupational therapy, or surgery. Additionally, many vitamins and supplements can help treat arthritis.

Top 13 Vitamins and Supplements Used in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis:

  1. Glucosamine with Chondroitin
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
  3. Vitamin C
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Vitamin E
  6. Vitamin K
  7. Rose Hips
  8. Ginger
  9. Curcumin (Turmeric)
  10. MSM
  11. SAM-e
  12. Cat’s Claw
  13. Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)

Osteoarthritis is very common, especially in people who are 65 or older. It holds the title as the most prevalent joint condition in the United States, impacting more than 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, causing pain, stiffness, and restriction of movement.

One in two adults will develop knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime, and many millions more must learn how to combat the debilitating finger-joint pain that accompanies arthritis occurring in the hands and fingers. Unsurprisingly, many sufferers choose to add natural remedies and nutritional supplements to their arthritis-fighting toolbox.

Eating Right for Arthritis

Arthritis can be simplified as a disease of inflammation. Therefore, choosing whole foods that are not only healthy but also naturally anti-inflammatory, and can play a significant role in easing pain and other common symptoms. This is most certainly the case for rheumatoid arthritis. For osteoarthritis sufferers, we know that a well-balanced diet consisting of whole, unprocessed foods promotes a healthy weight, and weight management is critical to lessening “wear and tear” on the bones and joints.

Researchers have looked at which foods are found to alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms, determining that sufferers are most likely to benefit from garlic, onion, leeks, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, milk, legumes, and whole grains. In one research study, diets high in cow cheese appeared to worsen osteoporosis symptoms. Some researchers report that eliminating dairy completely helps lessen symptoms, although study results so far have been mixed.

1. Glucosamine with Chondroitin

Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine are the most popular supplements used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine, or glucosamine sulfate, is a naturally-occurring part of cartilage with the highest concentration found in the fluid around the joints. Producers of glucosamine supplements source the compound from shellfish or recreate it in the laboratory. Glucosamine alone is very safe and can be tried in place of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In the United States, glucosamine is often combined with chondroitin sulfate in the fight against the most common osteoarthritis symptoms. Chondroitin is also a naturally-occurring substance and a major component of cartilage. Like glucosamine, chondroitin can be sourced from animals (sharks, cows, pigs) or made in a laboratory. There is evidence that showing efficacy in reducing pain and preventing joint damage, especially in the knee.  In some European countries, chondroitin sulfate is available by prescription for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

A combination of glucosamine and chondroitin has been shown to relieve pain and improve function in some cases of moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. Pharmaceutical grade products are considered ideal for these supplements due to the often low quality of commercially manufactured products.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

The popularity of omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement has grown in recent years due in large part to emerging scientific evidence that shows omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease. But did you know that omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to be beneficial for treating arthritis? While the most profound symptom-reducing effects of omega-3’s are realized among those with rheumatoid arthritis, there is evidence to support omega-3 fatty acids as an anti-inflammatory therapy for osteoarthritis sufferers as well. Either way, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to overall health and may provide the added benefit of protecting joints from further cartilage damage.

Fatty fish are naturally bursting at the seams with omega-3 fatty acids, therefore fish oil (cod-liver oil) capsules are the most prevalent of the omega-3 supplements. The two omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosatetraenoic). Whole food sources that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, green leafy vegetables, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an anti-oxidant that helps neutralize damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are thought to contribute to the underlying causes of osteoarthritis. The results of one study, published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, showed vitamin C helped prevent the onset of pain in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. Patients in this particular study received twice-weekly, high-dose infusions of vitamin C. The data from this study suggests efficacy in pain relief from vitamin C for rheumatoid arthritis, however, it is unclear if those suffering from osteoarthritis could expect the same benefit. There is evidence that Vitamin C is possibly effective as an adjunct treatment for gout when taken in combination with uric acid.

The recommended intake of Vitamin C is 40mg per day for adults and this should be easily obtainable from diet alone. Whole food sources for Vitamin C include orange and yellow vegetables, as well as citrus fruit and kiwi fruit. Vitamin C supplements are incredibly common and available in many forms: dissolvable tablets, fizzy drinks, gummies, vitamin capsules, and in-clinic infusions.

Be careful not to overdo it. There is some research to suggest that too much vitamin C can actually accelerate joint damage in those living with osteoarthritis. As always, talk to your healthcare provider before beginning your regimen.

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes bone health by helping the body absorb calcium. While this “sunshine vitamin” is by no means a cure-all, scientists are discovering increasingly more about how vitamin D plays a key role in physical health and vitality. We get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, as well as from fatty fish and foods that have been fortified (such as orange juice and milk). Nevertheless, a high proportion of the human population has a vitamin D deficiency, in some regions as much as 75%.

It is recommended that those at risk for bone disease or joint deterioration have their vitamin D status checked via blood test and take with vitamin D supplements if necessary.

5. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another fat-soluble antioxidant that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties and helps to protect the body from destructive free radicals. As far as we know, vitamin E might play a role in slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis, although results from medical studies can vary.

6. Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a role in the regulation of skeletal mineralization, and insufficiencies can heighten the risk of osteoarthritis appearing or progressing, especially in the knee or hand. We get enough of this vitamin by eating plenty of green vegetables, legumes, eggs, liver, and strawberries. While the need for supplementation is not well established, vitamin K is thought to play a role in preventing the onset and progression of bone and joint damage.

7. Curcumin (Turmeric)

This yellow powder, traditionally used as an arthritis treatment in China and India, has gained traction worldwide as an arthritis-fighting supplement. A number of studies show curcumin, also known as turmeric, to be effective in lessening pain, stiffness, and inflammation among both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis sufferers. Curcumin is considered one of the most effective antioxidants, shown to be especially effective against the disease activity of knee osteoarthritis.

8. Rose Hips

Rose hips are not only incredibly rich in vitamin C but have shown to decrease inflammation by inhibiting production of inflammatory proteins and enzymes, specifically key players COX-1 and COX-2. Large-scale studies have provided evidence that rose hips powder can minimize hip, knee, and wrist joint pain in osteoarthritis patients.

9. Ginger

Ginger is not just a delicious spice. Incredibly, there is research to suggest that high-potency ginger may one day be as effective a painkiller as over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. In one study, concentrated ginger extract reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent. Ginger is an all-in-one pain reliever (analgesic), anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. To ensure the full benefits of ginger as a supplement, choose capsules that use the “super-critical” method of extraction.

10. MSM

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is an organic sulfur compound found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. MSM also exists naturally in the human body as a helper to connective tissues. MSM seems to act as an analgesic (pain reliever) by putting a damper on the nerve impulses that transmit pain, and there is evidence to back this up. A 2006 study of men and women with knee osteoarthritis taking 6,000 mg of MSM reported improved physical function and less pain. Use with caution: Although no major side effects have been reported, MSM has been known to cause upset stomach or diarrhea.

11. SAM-e

SAM-e (S-adenosyl-L-methionine), a chemical that occurs naturally in the body, has received much attention over the last 20 years for its effectiveness as a pain-killer for people with osteoarthritis (among others). Most will experience some benefit within the first months, and because SAM-e works in partnership with B-6, B-12 and folic acid, it is important to get enough B vitamins while taking this supplement. In fact, B vitamins may themselves help reduce bone pain from osteoarthritis.

12. Cat’s Claw

The root and bark of cat’s claw (not to be confused with cat’s foot or devil’s claw) is a popular medicinal in the US and Europe. Thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, one of its most common uses is symptom relief in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The cat’s claw species of Uncaria guianensis has been shown to relieve knee pain from exercise within one week of treatment.

13. Green Tea

Green tea is the result of steaming, pan frying and drying the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Popular around the world and consumed most often as a beverage, green tea in extract, tincture and supplement form can be also purchased. While more studies are needed, early evidence points to green tea as a potential treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea contains polyphenols that reduce inflammation in the body.  

Vitamins for Arthritis Sufferers

Studies show that these vitamins can help alleviate joint inflammation, minimize pain, and strengthen your bones. It’s a good idea to discuss any natural remedies for arthritis that you are considering with your doctor. While these vitamins are viewed as safe and healthy, interactions can and do exist among over-the-counter supplements and prescription medication. The vitamin and supplement industries are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, so individuals should stick with trusted sources for their purchases.

Be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage unless otherwise indicated by your physician. When taken correctly and safely, these vitamins and minerals can be an important part of an effective arthritis treatment plan.

Topical Pain Relief: How it Works and the Most Effective Application

Topical Pain Relief: How it Works and the Most Effective Application

Many of us have grown accustomed to taking over-the-counter pain relievers, like aspirin or ibuprofen, to alleviate minor and/or sporadic aches and pains. But for those who live with chronic pain or suffer frequent sprains, strains or other injuries, oral pain relievers might not be the best option. Often, pills can cause issues such as stomach sensitivity, and a host of other side effects.

Topical pain relievers, however, can present an effective solution for prolonged or frequent pain. A topical gel or cream is absorbed directly into your skin, dramatically reducing the amount of active ingredient that enters the bloodstream. The medication works locally and often more quickly than a pain pill.

Where to Apply Topical Pain Relief Cream

Because of their quick absorption into the skin, topical pain relievers are typically most effective on joints or muscles situated close to the skin – and, of course, you’ll want to concentrate on areas that are easy to reach. Overall, you want to use topical pain relief medications on areas where the active ingredient is most likely to be effective. Some good places to start include the following:

  • Wrists
  • Neck
  • Biceps and triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Lower back
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Elbows
  • Hands

Topical Pain Relief Benefits

Using a topical cream or pain relief gel instead an oral pain relief product exposes you to fewer side effects because it doesn’t require gastrointestinal absorption and the circulation of an active ingredient through your bloodstream. It may also be more effective, since oral medication affects pain sensitivity in the whole body, while a topical pain relief product can help provide relief right whereyou need it most.

Some patients just have a tough time swallowing pills in general, and others may have undergone previous surgeries or procedures that impede drug absorption. In addition, if you’re just starting to experiment with pain management, a topical pain relief cream is a good first step. It follows the generally recommended practice of beginning with the most non-invasive options available.

To help you get started, let’s look more closely at how topical pain relief works.

How Topical Pain Relief Creams Work

The best creams on the market will provide powerful and quick pain relief. A specific product’s mechanism of action depends largely on its active ingredient. To some extent, researchers are still working to define the specific mechanism of action and articulate exactly how topical pain relief products work. But they do work; in fact, they all provide localized relief, almost immediately. A few common active ingredients and how they generally work are outlined below.

Benzocaine
Benzocaine’s numbing action reduces itching, burning, and pain on the surface of the skin by blocking the body’s nerve signals. Typically used to treat sunburn and other minor skin irritations, benzocaine is not a common solution for arthritis or other, deeper muscle or joint pain.

Menthol 
The cooling action associated with menthol makes it a popular active ingredient to treat minor muscle pain and joint pain. The cooling effect can distract from aching and discomfort deeper within muscles and joints. Because of its efficacy, you’ll find menthol in a variety of products and in a variety of concentrations. You’ll want to experiment a bit to find out which formulation gives you the highest level of relief with the lowest sensitivity. Products like Arthritis Wonder and Recover Wonder use menthol as an ingredient and can be good products to start with to test your body’s response to menthol.

Wintergreen (Methyl Salicylate)

This organic compound is also known as wintergreen. It is frequently found in topical pain relievers, but it has certain disadvantages. Instead of providing a cooling effect as menthol does, Wintergreen provides a warming effect which is not as effective for treating arthritis pain. Wintergreen can also trigger allergic reactions, such as hives and difficulty breathing. For these reasons, effective pain relief creams like Arthritis Wonder do not contain methyl salicylate.

Camphor
Camphor employs a cooling action to reduce itching, burning and skin pain, as well as joint and muscle aches. Camphor increases local blood flow, and as a counterirritant, causes irritation that ultimately relieves pain and swelling.

Hydrocortisone 
Hydrocortisone is part of the steroid class of topical pain relief creams, which prevent the production of inflammation-causing chemicals in the body. They are more commonly used for skin-level irritations and do come with side effects. Luckily, they are most often accessed as a prescription product rather than being available over the counter, so they are typically used under a physician’s supervision.

Diphenhydramine 
Best known as the active ingredient in many over-the-counter allergy medications, diphenhydramine reduces itching and redness on skin when applied topically. It is part of the antihistamine class of drugs that suppress the natural substance, histamine, which causes itching. It is best used for superficial skin irritations like bug bites, sunburn, rashes, etc.

Capsaicin
Made from the compound found in chili peppers, capsaicin creates a feeling of heat and has consistently shown itself as one of the most effective topical pain relievers – especially for joint pain, but also for diabetic nerve pain. In fact, capsaicin is one of the most common active ingredients in OTC pain relief creams. However, remember to take care: you should not use products containing capsaicin if you have an allergy to chili peppers. Make sure to talk to your physician.

Lidocaine
Lidocaine serves as a local anesthetic that blocks the body’s nerve signals. Lidocaine is commonly used to treat skin conditions and irritations like sunburn, poison ivy or oak and even minor scratches or burns.

Pramoxine
Much like lidocaine, the numbing action in pramoxine can relieve burning, itching, and pain by suppressing pain signals.

What Are Counterirritants?

Many of these active ingredients are classified as counterirritants, which means they actually inflame the affected area, stimulating nerves and creating a distracting, milder sensation. Some products contain only one isolated counterirritant, while others may combine multiple versions.

It’s important to note that topical counterirritants don’t actually treat the root cause of your pain – instead, they’re changing the way your brain perceives that pain. The temporary hot or cold sensation the product elicits can interrupt pain signals. Basically, the product serves to distract your brain from the more intense pain you’re seeking relief from. This can be tremendously helpful, because it helps keep you comfortable while your body heals from injury, or it lessens the effects of a chronic condition.

What is the Best Topical Pain Relief?

Ultimately, that decision has to rest with you as the end user. Depending on the type, level, and duration of your pain, you may have to experiment with a few different topical pain relief products before you find the one that’s most effective for you.

For example, while menthol creates a cooling sensation, active ingredients like methyl salicylate and capsaicin result in a warming, tingling sensation. Many patients prefer the cooling effect, but much of that boils down to personal preference.

Keep in mind that topical pain relief creams are less effective against pain that affects a large area and/or affects multiple parts of the body, so concentrate on specific, localized areas of pain – like those related to arthritis, injury or post-workout sore muscles.

Here’s how to get started on finding which product is best for you.

Application Instructions and Best Practices
While topical pain relief products carry significantly fewer side effects than their oral counterparts, they can still cause you trouble if not used correctly. Follow the instructions outlined below for the best results.

Preparation

  • First, always read the package insert of any pain relief cream or other topical pain reliever. You may also want to save it so you can refer to it later if needed.
  • If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have especially sensitive skin, you may want to check in with your doctor before you start using any OTC topical pain relief cream.
  • Check the treatment area to make sure you have no open wounds or broken skin before applying.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying. Some people even prefer to wear gloves. Be sure to keep hands away from eyes, mucous membranes or genitals – don’t touch at all while there’s product on your hands.

Application

  • Use no more than a quarter-sized amount at a time.
  • Let your skin dry completely before you get dressed – this can help you avoid stains, depending on the composition of the product you’re using. A good rule of thumb is that creams are usually less greasy than ointments, less likely to leave a stain and easier to wash off your hands once finished.
  • Avoid using a heating pad after applying your pain relief cream – using the two together has been known to lead to chemical burns.
  • Also, avoid covering the treated area with a tight bandage for the same reason.
  • Avoid using your topical pain relief product more than four times per day – unless your package insert or your physician indicates otherwise.

Active Ingredient Considerations

  • If you’re allergic to aspirin, check with your physician before using a product with salicylates as its active ingredient. Do the same if you’re currently taking blood thinners.
  • In general, avoid using salicylate creams other than occasionally – unless you get different instructions from your physician.
  • Try not to use topical pain relief products containing methyl salicylate before exercising – this could cause you to absorb too much of the active ingredient as your circulation increases during physical activity.
  • Avoid using a topical pain relief cream if you’re also taking an oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, no matter whether it’s OTC or prescription-strength. Your body absorbing too much NSAID can lead to severe stomach issues, including flare-ups of stomach ulcers.

General Best Practices

  • Please remember that topical pain relief products are just that – topical. Avoid ingesting them, and call 911 if you do so inadvertently.
  • Overall, avoid using topical pain relief creams too often or leaving them on too long – this can lead to irritation or even encourage allergic reactions. If the product you’re trying isn’t working, don’t be tempted to just try more, thinking that it might be more effective. If you find yourself using more than a tube (4 oz.) per week, that’s likely too much.
  • Be very careful using topical pain relief products on children – most should not be used on children under age 2, and your packaging may also detail special instructions for use with children under 12. Some products even stipulate that you need a physician’s advice before using on a child. Make sure you read carefully and follow instructions appropriately.
  • If a topical product causes irritation or your skin shows any sensitivity, stop using it immediately – even if you’ve used the same product with no problems in the past.

You can usually apply a topical pain relief cream every three to four hours as needed, without worrying about side effects or any drug interactions. For the most part, topical pain relief products are unlikely to interact with other medications you use. But just to be safe, tell your physician about all medicines you’re taking – including prescription, OTC, vitamins, herbal and homeopathic options.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects generally associated with topical pain relief products are uncommon and typically very mild. To be safe, though, you should stop using the product immediately and check in with your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Stinging
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Other observable skin irritation

Where to Apply Topical Pain Relief Cream

It’s important to apply a topical pain relief cream right where you need it in order to get the best results. Let’s look a little more closely at the areas in which topical pain relief can be most effective.

Wrists
Whether the source of pain is arthritis, carpal tunnel, injury or other, pain in the wrists can make even life’s smallest chores a source of frustration. Topical joint pain relief is especially effective for wrists because the source of pain is generally very close to the skin, allowing the product to absorb directly where pain relief is most needed. This is an especially good option for anyone looking for topical arthritis pain relief.

Neck
Neck pain is one of the most common ailments patients report – from sports-related injuries, tension, poor sleeping position or even bad posture. Using a topical cream to treat neck pain allows active ingredients to penetrate the skin and get right to the aching muscles, lessening discomfort almost immediately. Especially for those with temporary injuries or ailments, topical muscle pain relief offers an effective remedy with few side effects.

Biceps and Triceps
These arm muscles can become strained, inflamed or injured from repetitive motion, overuse, tendonitis or tears. Whatever the source of pain, a topical pain relief cream can offer near instantaneous relief – because these muscles sit close to the skin, the active ingredient can penetrate directly into sore muscle fibers to bring relief.

Deltoids
The large deltoid muscle gives the shoulder its full range of motion and allows you to lift your arm. The deltoid sits in the upper part of your arm and is connected to the shoulder and collarbone via a complicated system of tendons. Muscle pain, soreness, tenderness, swelling and inflammation of the deltoids can come from a variety of sources, including sports injury, overuse or other trauma. It’s fairly easy to feel where the deltoid muscle sits beneath the skin, making it a prime area to target with a topical pain relief product.

Lower Back
Irritation of the lower back muscles can lead to stiffness, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and pain that make even the simplest day-to-day tasks a challenge. Treating the area with a topical pain relief cream can loosen sore muscles and allow you to move throughout the day with more ease. But be careful with expectations – because topical back pain relief creams are best suited for targeting muscles that sit close to the skin, it’s very difficult for them to penetrate deep enough to address inflammation and pain associated with the deepest muscles and joints of the lower back.

Knees
Because it is a joint very close to the skin’s surface, the knee is a prime candidate for topical pain relief. Knee issues are extremely common – caused by sports injury, repetitive motion, excessive strain or overexertion, and having a topical knee pain relief option to help relieve stiffness, swelling and discomfort can keep you in motion while dealing with an injury or even chronic pain.

Ankles
Ankles are complex mobile joints that serve as the foundation of your body’s kinetic chain. As with most joints, they can be irritated by a variety of injuries, and also by either over-pronation or –supination – causing your foot to jam either the outside or inside of the joint. Luckily, the ankle joint sits close to the skin, so topical pain relief creams can be tremendously effective here.

Feet
Pain in your feet can be debilitating. Some people suffer edema, or swelling, painful inflammation and/or soreness and tenderness in the toes, soles, and heels. Because the skin of the feet is typically thin and the sore muscles beneath sit close to the skin’s surface, a topical pain relief remedy can be particularly effective.

Elbows
Elbow joint pain is an aggravation whose most typical culprit is the condition known as “tennis elbow,” an injury that includes minor tears and inflammation in the tendons at the elbow end of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle. The resulting irritation can put stress on the rest of the arm, making it difficult to lift things, and it is relatively common – in fact, approximately 30 percent of the population suffers from this condition. Using a topical cream on the outside of the elbow where pain may be most concentrated gives many users temporary relief while sore muscles and tendons heal.

Hands
Pain in the hands is most likely a result of osteoarthritis, and if not treated, can make life’s routine tasks frustrating challenges. Swollen joints from arthritis are not only painful but also can limit your ability to use your hands effectively. Because topical creams for arthritis pain relief can directly target those painful joints, they are often used as a first-line defense against arthritis pain.

Pain Management
Living with pain, whether from a temporary, short-term injury or a chronic condition, isn’t easy. In fact, chronic, unrelenting pain can take a heavy toll, even linked to an increased likelihood of depression. The stronger your pain-management arsenal, the better your overall quality of life.

Anyone managing pain on a day-to-day basis will want as many pain relief options as possible, with as few side effects as possible. Thankfully, a whole host of topical pain relief products exists – especially if you can’t, or just don’t want to, take pills to control pain. But keep in mind that what works for one patient may not work for another, so it’s worth the time and effort to try several different topical pain relief creams to identify what works best for your particular type of pain.

Ultimately, topical pain relief creams can be a key part of your pain-management regimen and offer an effective option for managing muscle and joint pain. They are easy and low-risk, without the side effects commonly associated with oral pain medications.