What’s best?- Tablets or cream for pain/inflammation management.

By Gabby Street – Spartans In-House Physiotherapist

Better Moves Physiotherapy

By now it should come as no surprise that Voltaren is a commonly used product for pain, swelling, bruising, muscular aches, osteoarthritis, stiffness, and inflammation.  But when should we really be using it, and do we use the tablets or cream?

When to use (Voltaren) Diclofen Tablets?

Most evidence shows effective analgesic properties in the short term for injuries such as acute ligament sprains, muscle strains, and tendon injuries. However, length of treatment should always be kept as short as possible, with consideration of the specific type of injury, level of function and pain.

If you have no other co-existing medical issues 1 box of the tablets is okay, which is usually 10 days worth – Any longer get assessed by your Physio to determine how else you can self-manage pain.

Cream Vs Tablet

The topical cream has shown to be just as effective as a dosage of a 50mg tablets 3 times daily. Although the oral tablet is rapidly absorbed after administration.

Can You Use Both Tablets and Cream?

For short periods it is okay, However, if you can manage without the tablets you will have a much better progression in the healing process. Voltaren should just be used when there is pain. Research shows that NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) suppress the platelet expression of enzymes present (in the blood) during an inflammatory process and therefore inhibits the resolution of inflammation as prostaglandins (these are normally made during tissue damage) cannot be biosynthesized and therefore tissue healing does not occur well when taking medication.

How can I make the tablets more effective?

Try increasing your exercise expenditure. Optimal loading will help to increase blood flow to the painful area helping to increase the effectiveness of the Diclofen tablets. If you are unsure of what exercise you can be doing. See the Physiotherapist.

Another reason to see a Physio is for massage. Massage has shown to increase the effects of the topical cream and pain relief to the injured site.

Benefits of using Voltaren or alternatives:

  • Try the brand Fisiocream it will not dry out your skin.
  • There are minimal risks with using cream compared to oral tablets.

Tips for using Voltaren or alternatives:

  • If your injury is muscular in nature such as a strained muscle or sprained ligament, using creams that have methyl silicate will provide more heat to the area allowing increased blood flow, which will assist with healing. More of an inflammatory in nature injury eg. Bursitis; use a cream that mainly has an inflammatory agent.
  • If you want to use the cream on a large surface area probably better to use a natural product again like Fisiocream and the tablets to compliment each other

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