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What should I consider before using topical pain relievers?

Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

There are a few important points to consider if you decide to try topical pain relievers.

  • Discuss this option with your doctor before using any analgesic; the fact that they are available without a prescription does not mean they are harmless.
  • Purchase products that do not have an offensive odor and are not too messy. If it is unpleasant to use, chances are that you won't use it.
  • Never place any topical medication over an open wound or sore.
  • Buy products from reputable companies. Some over-the-counter topical analgesics have been found to have inert or even harmful substances.
  • Wash your hands after using the topical agent to prevent accidental spreading to your mucous membranes, such as your eyes, nose, or mouth.
The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

More About this Book

The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

According to conventional wisdom, arthritis pain is an inevitable part of aging. Not so, says Dr. Grant Cooper in this practical, accessible guide. For those who do develop osteoarthritic conditions,...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.