Voltaren in the form of a gel is recommended for pain in the back, neck, joints and muscles. These pains can have a different origin. Specifically, this drug fights with those that occur with inflammatory and degenerative lesions of the spine (radiculitis, osteoarthritis, lumbago, sciatica), rheumatoid arthritis, joint inflammation and muscle or joint trauma, sprains, inflammation and swelling of soft tissues. Let’s briefly describe these diseases.
The situation with the “disease of the kings” – gout is much simpler: it starts because of the accumulation of urate in tissues, so diet and shift lifestyle can help no worse than any medicine.
Radiculitis is the defeat of the spinal cord exiting from the vertebrae. Very often, lumbosacral radiculitis occurs, in which the spinal column of the lower back suffers most. With sudden movements, pain increases, it can be felt in the leg. The patient wants to bend his leg when he lies to reduce pain. Sciatica is a kind of radiculitis when the sciatic nerve is affected. Unlike previous conditions, lumbago is not even a disease in the truest sense of the word. This is cause sharp pain in the lower back.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex joint disease in which many small joints are affected immediately. Since rheumatoid arthritis does not have one clear reason, you don’t know with what to fight first: with inflammation, infection, autoimmune reactions or with other problems. But you would definitely need something to handle the pain.
These diseases and symptoms can be caused by different reasons, but all of them are associated with pain and inflammation. Sometimes such diseases are curable, sometimes not. And here an anti-inflammatory and anesthetic drug could come to the rescue. Let’s find out if Voltaren is suitable for this role.
The main active ingredient of Voltaren is diclofenac (in the form of diclofenac sodium). Diclofenac appeared in 1966 and became one of the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, ketoprofen, aspirin and other acetic acid derivatives. At that time, scientists already understood the approximate structure of the molecule they want to get, and the discovery was not accidental, but was the result of a systematic search.
The review of scientific articles on the use of this substance in the form of gels, creams and patches shows that the mechanism of its action in these cases is not entirely clear, but this action is definitely there. It is known that in the soft tissues next to the joint and in the synovial fluid (which is located inside the joint and helps the bone surfaces not to rub against each other), the concentration of diclofenac reaches a level 20 times higher than in the blood.
According to a more recent scientific article in 2017, the drug is much easier to enter the bloodstream if it is administered intramuscularly than if the patients received the patch. However, side effects are eliminated: the less diclofenac circulates in the blood, the less it binds the first cyclooxygenase.
There are many trials of this drug in humans, and it is simply impossible to study them all. Here Kohrein’s reviews can come to the rescue.
Diclofenac has been used for a long time and studied very well, so information about it can be found very much, sometimes even contradictory. Therefore, it is better to select studies that meet special criteria that could reduce the risk of subjective conclusions and the impact of prejudice.
Like ketoprofen, diclofenac in the form of gels and ointments fights better with pain in bones and muscles than placebo. These scientists have established, when analyzed studies on more than ten thousand patients. Most subjects were over 40 years old and suffered from knee pain due to arthritis. About 20% of patients received local side effects (skin irritation, redness, allergic reactions, and so on). By the way, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did not show a significant result.
Another review also comes to the conclusion that diclofenac, when applied topically, relieves pain in arthritis and rheumatoid diseases. The authors also add that diclofenac reduces inflammation in patients.
It systematizes data from other Cochrane reviews. There were tested a list of several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including patches and gels with diclofenac on thirty thousand patients. For patients with arthritis and arthrosis of elbows and knees, diclofenac has become an effective analgesic. But the postoperative neuralgia was helped by gel with capsaicin (a component derived from hot pepper). Other drugs in the same form did not have a strong effect.
We recommend Voltaren, it is suitable for pain relief, but not for reasons.
Voltaren can help with rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases that cause a lot of problems in older people. It should not be forgotten that although a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug can do a good job of reducing pain and inflammation, it can only be symptoms lying on the surface, and the very destruction of the joints, the pinched nerves or other internal cause of the disease from Voltaren will pass. Painkillers only mask the disease, but do not fight it, sometimes not letting notice the new alarming symptoms.
First, some diseases can not be cured completely and to the end, and medicine seeks only to reduce the patient’s suffering. Secondly, the fight against inflammation and pain can significantly improve the well-being and quality of life, even if the destruction of the tissue continues.
So painkillers with diclofenac in the form of gels and patches, including Voltaren, can be very useful, but do not stop at them, because complex treatment may be required. In addition, if many years of “jamming” the pain and not fighting the causes of the disease, you can get severe side effects from painkillers on the part of the digestive system and kidneys.
In addition, it has been proven that prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, people with diseases of the blood vessels and the heart should try to avoid taking drugs of this group. True, this is more the case with tablets, from which a lot of the active substance gets into the blood than gels or patches whose activity is more concentrated on a certain area (for example, a sick joint).