Sciatica topical analgesics can provide some measure of symptomatic respite from severe buttocks, leg and foot symptoms for many patients. While topical medications will never provide a cure and might not fully relieve pain, they can be surprisingly effective for some conditions and should always be considered as a potentially useful tool in every patient’s treatment arsenal.
Topical analgesics demonstrate distinct advantages over many other types of symptomatic care methods. They also have few downsides to consider. Therefore, we are confident recommending topical sciatica medicine as a potential source of relief from nearly every patient.
This dialog will investigate the use of topical analgesic medications for acute and chronic sciatica presentations. We will evaluate the pros and cons of analgesic medicines that are applied to the skin and contrast them against other forms of pain management.
What are Topical Analgesics?
Topical analgesics are medications that are applied to the skin and work transdermally to provide relief to sore muscles. The drugs come in many possible forms, including liquids, gels, creams, salves, balms, ointments and patches that can be easily applied to the skin and left in place for extended duration relief.
Analgesic medications by definition relieve pain. Some topical analgesics also contain substances that might help relieve inflammation or provide other related positive therapeutic effects. Most of the common analgesics contain substances that greatly encourage localized circulation, which is an important fact to consider when judging both their efficacy and the possibility for misdiagnosis, given instances of atypical effectiveness in treating sciatic nerve symptoms.
Pros and Cons of Sciatica Topical Analgesics
Sciatica is a neurological pain disorder, but its expressions affect the muscular tissues in the buttocks, leg and feet. Therefore, it is logical to predict that topical analgesics should provide at least some measure of relief for many acute and chronic expressions.
Statistics clearly reveal that topical medications are at least as effective as orally ingested drugs for the “average” sciatica sufferer. Most users cite effectual pain relief of 20% to 50% being provided by the best of these products, with the effectiveness of relief escalating when used in combination with related healing modalities, such as massage, chiropractic and acupressure. However, therapeutic benefits are not long lasting, with most patients reporting escalation of pain once again after an hour or 2.
Topical medicine is ideal, since it has limited systemic effects, never entering the blood stream or digestive systems. Its positive benefits can be enjoyed, while any negative consequences can be locally contained. Furthermore, most of the substances used are OTC strength and considered largely safe and without risks. Prescription strength opioid patches are the exception to this rule, still being dangerous, although less so than orally ingested opiate medications.
Topical medications are convenient, inexpensive and provide an ideal self-managed solution for pain that can be used as needed, with no virtually possibility for abuse.
On the downside, topical medications are only symptomatic treatment and will therefore never address the underlying source of pain. They will generally not provide complete relief from sciatica and may be messy and have an unpleasant odor that may offend some patients’ senses.
Insights into Sciatica Topical Analgesics
In some cases, patients have deep neurological pain that affects tissues unreachable by topical application. In these circumstances, these products might be less effective. However, when combined with deep tissue massage, topical analgesics might still be useful to a limited extent.
In cases where topical analgesics and other surface level interventions, like bodywork, provide high levels of relief, the underlying mechanism for pain is unlikely to be true spinal sciatica. In these cases, the more logical mechanism of symptomatic action is certainly regional ischemia, affecting many of the tissues of the lower body. Topical analgesics facilitate improved circulation and therefore can temporary relieve many of these pain syndromes rather well. However, it should be noted that regional ischemia can (and does) also target deeper tissues, making it very possible that even profiles which are unresponsive to topical medications might still be ischemic in nature.