by Dr. Bob Arnot

(NAPSI)—Over the course of my career as a physician, chief medical correspondent and war correspondent, I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of pain management drugs and approaches. One thing I’ve seen is that the United States is much more reliant on taking pills for pain than the rest of the world, where topical analgesics, physical therapy and other approaches are more widely used.


A problem with pills is that many of them come with side effects that can be severe, especially if the medications are used in greater quantities or for longer than they’re supposed to be. That’s one reason for back, muscle and joint pains, I believe it’s best to start with topicals. What’s more, the Centers for Disease Control, the American College of Rheumatology and other medical experts agree it’s a safer approach.


Fortunately, if you are an arthritis sufferer and want effective relief, there are two topicals that are FDA approved the same way Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium and other prescription pain medicines have been through the demanding new drug application process. While both help relieve arthritis pain, it is important to know the differences between Salonpas Pain Relief Patch Large and Voltaren Arthritis Pain gel.


Salonpas Pain Relief Patch Large was the 1st topical approved by the FDA and provides relief for up to 12 hours. It begins to work in one hour and can provide clinically meaningful pain relief in the first day. Since it is a patch, the medicine is pre-measured and easy to apply. Not only does this patch help relieve arthritis pain, but it also works for back, muscle and joint pain as well.


On the other hand, Voltaren Arthritis Pain gel is not labeled for immediate relief and may take up to 7 days to help achieve relief. To apply this gel, you must first measure out an amount based on a dosing card. Voltaren is effective for up to 6 hours and should only be used for arthritis pain.   


In addition to topical relief, joint and muscle pain can be treated with physical therapy. It can keep stiff joints from getting stiffer, reduce strain on joints during daily activities and help you get back to normal life without pain or difficulty.

Also helpful are hot and cold compresses. Heat is good for joint stiffness and cold compresses can ease joint pain. Just remember, don’t apply heat to a joint that’s already hot. If you feel a burning sensation in your joint, cool it with the cold compresses.


• Dr. Arnot is board certified in internal medicine and an award-winning journalist, author of twelve books on nutrition and health and  host of the Dr. Danger reality TV series. You can find more helpful healthcare and pain relief information from Dr. Arnot at

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

(NAPS) NAPS(NAPS) Dr. ArnotNAPS(NAPS) Aching joints and muscles can be treated in several ways that don’t involve possibly dangerous drugs.NAPS(NAPS) NAPS