You may have heard many people saying applying creams or rubs topically to manage pain is generally better to avoid unnecessary side effects. That may be true if we are comparing pain killer tablets and creams. What if we compare pain killer creams or rubs with supplement? How comparable is it then? Let’s have a quick insights on how creams and supplements works.
How Do Topical NSAIDs Work?
Topical NSAIDs, such as topical ibuprofen, are applied to the skin over a painful joint.
There are certain advantages linked to topical NSAIDs including:
enhanced drug delivery to affected tissues
reduced incidence of systemic adverse effects such as peptic ulcer disease and gastrointestinal bleeding
Topical NSAIDs penetrate slowly, delivering small amounts into the systemic circulation. Compared with oral NSAIDs, topical application leads to relatively high NSAID concentrations in the dermis (the layer of skin beneath the epidermis that consists of connective tissue). Concentrations achieved in the muscle tissue below the site of application vary, but it's at least equivalent to what's achieved with oral administration of NSAIDs
Topical NSAIDs do reach the synovial fluid, but how much and by what exact mechanism have yet to be determined. Individual differences in the skin may account for certain variations seen in the absorption of topical NSAIDs.
What Causes Joint Pain?
According to the American College of Rheumatology, osteoarthritis joint pain is most common in adults over the age of 40. It progresses slowly and tends to affect commonly used joints like the:
Joint pain due to OA results from a breakdown of the cartilage and drying up of hyaluronic acid of synovial fluid that serves as a cushion and shock absorber for the joints leading to inflammation.
Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. But osteoarthritis treatments can slow the progression of the disease, relieve pain and improve joint function.The key to stop the pain is to resolve the inflammation caused by cartilage breakdown and drying up of the hyaluronic acid of synovial fluid.
Based on the descriptions, now lets put cream to compare side by side:
From the comparison table above, it is very clear that having NSAIDs creams or rubs can only manage the pain topically but does not solve the origin of osteoarthritis, which is deterioration of cartilage and hyaluronic acid from the joints leading to inflammation.
Per tube of the creams or rubs could be cheaper than any other supplement but bear in mind each tube only last for one to two weeks and require 3x daily application whereas consumption of supplement is only once a day.
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