If you suffer from muscle or joint pain, you may have noticed your local pharmacy has lots of shelf space devoted to gels, creams, ointments, patches and sprays that claim to soothe aches.
But with so many out there, how do you know which one to choose—or if one will work at all?
Dr. Channing Willoughby, who specializes in pain management at The Market Common and Murrells Inlet locations of Tidelands Health Pain Management Services, says, yes, topical pain relievers (medications that are applied to the skin over an affected area) work.
“Topical pain relievers are very well-suited for conditions that are inflammatory in nature, whether muscle or arthritic pain,” says Dr. Willoughby.
And, he says, while some variation between products is due to nothing more than branding or the specific way the product is applied, there can be important differences between them.