Ointments for joint pain – types, preparations, rules for applying

A feeling of tension and unpleasant discomfort causes a feeling of pain in the movable joints of the bones. Sometimes ointments from joint pain not only relieve an unpleasant symptom, but also become a real salvation in everyday life. The appearance of pain may be associated with unusual physical exertion, mechanical damage, or changes within the joint capsule. The choice of local funds is carried out according to the active substance, the purpose of which determines the healing property of the ointment.

Why does joint pain occur?

Joint pain provokes irritation of nerve receptors with the formation of pain impulses that cause the body to respond to damage or the introduction of the pathogen. Each pathology that affects the joint leads to pain, which can vary in intensity, nature and duration of manifestation.

The mechanism of the occurrence of pain is based on destructive or inflammatory processes, metabolic disorders or the occurrence of an autoimmune reaction. To effectively stop the pain syndrome, it is important to accurately identify the nature of the occurrence of an unpleasant symptom. After the diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe and teach how to properly apply the ointment for joint pain.

Factors that provoke pain:

  • Injuries – mechanical damage to joints of a different nature. Acute pain syndrome appears in the affected joint at the time of injury, may be accompanied by a sharp click or crunch inside the joint bag. Depending on the degree of damage, the pain changes its intensity and duration of the course.
  • Arthrosis is a degenerative pathology associated with the gradual destruction of cartilage and bone tissue. At the stage of cartilage dystrophy, pain occurs at the moment of movement, and after a short rest subsides. With the progression of the pathology, the disease is complicated by the appearance of bone growths (osteophytes) and a decrease in the joint gap against the background of deformation of the diseased joint. In this case, a dull pain of a constant nature develops, as a result of metamorphoses in the anatomy of the joint.
  • Arthritis – inflammation of the joint, despite the etiology, is accompanied by acute pain. If the cause of the pathology is an infectious agent, soreness is felt more significantly. With the addition of a purulent infection, pain impulses acquire a pulsating character.
  • Gout – a painful attack of a gouty character is characterized by characteristic symptoms: acute pain pierces the joint at night and resembles a dog’s bite or a tightening of the joint in a vice. Severe pain syndrome lasts from a couple of hours to several days, after which it passes as suddenly as it started.
  • Rheumatism is a systemic autoimmune disease, the symptom of which is rheumatoid arthritis. Arthralgia is characteristic of this pathology – pain in the joints, which is volatile.
  • Osteomyelitis is a purulent process in the bone tissue with the formation of necrotic sites. It is accompanied by acute pain that occurs against the background of severe intoxication of a person.
  • Reiter’s disease is a reactive pathological process of an allergenic origin. Joint pain is one of the main symptoms of the symptom complex of the disease.
  • Bursitis – inflammation of the synovial membrane of the bursa, pain in which are bright.
  • Oncological diseases – the growth of cancerous tumors is accompanied by a pain syndrome, which does not help to eliminate ointment from pain in the joints.
  • Synovitis is a secondary inflammation that occurs on the inner surface of a joint capsule. Damage to the cells of the synovial membrane contributes to the accumulation of effusion, which causes bursting pain, creating compression on the walls of the joint capsule.
  • Sciatica – pain impulse occurs mainly in the hip joint along the sciatic nerve. The pain is the result of compression of the nerve roots at the level of the lower back.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammation in the lumbar vertebrae. Pathology is characterized by night pain, which is often the cause of insomnia.

Additional provoking factors include increased body weight, which creates an increased load on the joints, deformation pathologies of the musculoskeletal system (scoliosis, flat feet), intense physical activity during sports or work.

How to treat a pain symptom

A doctor is engaged in the preparation of an ointment treatment regimen after a full diagnostic study. The relief of pain is carried out using analgesics (Novocain, Lidocaine), using them to carry out local blockades. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ketoprofen, Idomethacin) will relieve joint pain, while affecting inflammation.

Steroid hormones (hydrocortisone, prednisone) are prescribed when NSAIDs are ineffective, and the inflammatory process progresses. For local effects, use an ointment for joint pain (Voltaren Emulgel, Bystrumgel), which is an addition to enhance the therapeutic effect of traditional treatment.

The benefits of ointments

Despite the fact that topical agents are not the main treatment for joint pain, but only an auxiliary method, ointments and gels have a number of indisputable advantages. When applying the drug to a sore spot, the active substance penetrates through the thickness of the dermis, and has a therapeutic effect directly on the focus of the pathology, reaching a high concentration.

An important advantage is the absence of a negative effect on internal organs and systems, which cannot be said about oral agents. Local irritation and allergic urticaria, which can occur when applying ointment for joint pain, can provoke small side effects that occur in a small percentage of patients.

If you follow the instructions, with the help of local funds, you can achieve a lasting therapeutic result. With simultaneous administration, ointments do not interact with other drugs. In addition, the gels are convenient to apply, can be used for a long time, prolonging the therapeutic effect.


In the modern pharmacological market, ointments are abundant. When choosing an effective agent, the etiology of the pain syndrome and the particular therapeutic effect of the active substance should be taken into account. There is no single mechanism for getting rid of an unpleasant symptom for all joint diseases. That is why, several groups of ointments with anesthetic action have been developed.

Anti-inflammatory with NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the composition of the ointment base are used to eliminate post-traumatic, inflammatory or rheumatic pain syndrome. Means of this group reduce swelling caused by inflammation, and increase joint mobility.

Ointments with NSAIDs are classified according to the active substance:

  • Diclofenac –Diclobene, Diclofenac-Acre;
  • Ibuprofen – Nurofen gel, Dolgit;
  • Indomethacin – Indovazin, Indomethacin Sofarma ointment;
  • Ketoprofen – Flexen, Arthrosilen;
  • Nimesulide – Nise;
  • Piroxicam – Final gel.
  1. Voltaren Emulgel – a warming ointment for pain in joints with Diclofenac content, is prescribed for back pain with pathologies of a destructive nature (radiculitis, sciatica, lumbago), joints (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis), muscle tissue (sprains, excessive tension), inflammation of the joint tissue (bursitis, tenosynovitis). The tool has high anti-inflammatory effectiveness along with a quick analgesic effect, which makes it one of the most prescribed ointments for pain in the joints.
  2. Nise gel is an anesthetic gel with the active substance Nimesulide. It treats pain and inflammation in gout, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, radiculitis and other diseases. The main advantage of Nise is that it does not have a warming effect and can be used in the first days after an injury.

Ointments that cause a local increase in body temperature, after applying it to the joint area, cause vasodilation in the area of ​​application. Blood supply improves, with the flow of blood the flow of nutrients and oxygen rushes to the affected area, improving trophism at the cellular level. In addition, the distracting effect of the ointment muffles the severity of the pain syndrome. The active substance of warming ointments are snake or bee venoms, red pepper, camphor, mustard.

The most used ointments:

  1. Viprosal – a warming agent with a complex content of venom of a viper, camphor and turpentine belongs to the locally irritating means of plant origin. Snake venom irritates the receptors of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, effectively anesthetizing and causing an intense flow of blood, which improves the quality of metabolic processes in the cells, accelerating their regeneration. According to the instructions, they are prescribed for arthralgia, myositis and pain of a neurological nature.
  2. Apizartron is an ointment for joint pain, combining the analgesic effect of bee venom and the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of methyl salicylate, which belongs to NSAIDs. Indications for use are pains of a neurological nature (myositis, radiculitis), with rheumatism and osteoarthrosis. Apizartron is perfect for warming up muscles before training in the gym or during training, thanks to the deep warming effect.

Local remedies with a slight cooling effect are suitable for relieving pain during acute inflammation or on the first day after receiving mechanical damage during an injury. The active substances can be from various pharmacological groups. The main difference is the presence of auxiliary substances (menthol, essential oils), which with the help of a cooling effect not only relieve pain, but also fight the appearance of edema.

  1. Bystrumgel – a local coolant with Ketoprofen, belongs to the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Bystrumgel has a powerful analgesic effect, which is gaining full strength 30 minutes after application. Inhibition of the production of enzymes that cause tissue destruction during inflammation, helps to eliminate the pathological reaction. Ointment after injuries, arthrosis, arthralgia, Reiter’s disease is used.
  2. Efkamon – a herbal preparation with a combinatorial combination of camphor, clove oil, mustard, eucalyptus, menthol, red pepper has an analgesic, distracting, locally irritating effect. Ointment when applied enhances blood circulation, while cooling the diseased joint. Efcamon is prescribed for arthritis, rheumatism, lumbosacral radiculitis, spondylosis, rheumatism.

Means consisting of several medicinal herbs, with the combination of which it is possible to achieve the removal of the inflammatory reaction and pain due to their therapeutic effect on the endocrine, immune system, metabolism. Homeopathic ointments should be used strictly according to the instructions, since an increase in the recommended dosage can lead to the opposite effect. As soon as a positive result is observed, the ointment is used less often or completely canceled. Use the homeopathic form should be used with caution in patients with a tendency to allergic reactions, use is possible after consulting a doctor.

  1. Traumeel – is available in the form of an ointment or gel, has a local anti-inflammatory, immunostimulating effect, helps to eliminate edema and active tissue regeneration. The composition of the product includes a complex of herbs selected in special dosages that stimulate self-healing processes at the cellular level. It is used for injuries, arthritis, lateral and medial epicondylitis, bursopathies.
  2. Ledum is an ointment with rosemary, which has proven effective in rheumatism, gout, and injuries. The tool is applied to a sore surface in order to quickly remove inflammation, strengthen the walls of the capillaries to prevent swelling in the soft tissues.

Contraindications for use

Ointment, like any pharmacological agent, can cause undesirable reactions due to the individual reaction of the body to interaction with the active substances of the drug. The use of local funds should be carried out in accordance with the instructions and after the permission of the attending physician.

Conditions in which ointment is not used:

  • history of allergy;
  • acute inflammatory phase – for products with a warming effect;
  • suspected specific infections;
  • children’s age, the exact numbers for each gel are indicated in the description of the drug;
  • pustular skin lesions at the site of application;
  • wound surfaces, cuts;
  • pregnancy and the period of breastfeeding;
  • skin dermatoses, eczema and other dermatological diseases.

When using any drug, there is such a thing as an individual intolerance to the drug. This condition cannot be predicted, it is possible to check for a reaction by testing on the skin of the inner surface of the forearm: a small amount of ointment is applied to the skin and a reaction to the gel is observed. If allergic manifestations (itching, rash, dry cough, lacrimation, sneezing) are not observed, the drug can be safely used to eliminate the painful condition.

Terms of Use

To achieve a stable therapeutic effect, ointment or gel must be applied correctly. Two dosage forms with the same name differ in their consistency and concentration of active substances in them. A gel with a more liquid structure tends to penetrate into the deeper layers of the dermis, it is more concentrated, which leads to a quick effect. Ointment bases – oily, create a high therapeutic activity in the surface layers of the skin.

  1. Wash hands before applying ointment.
  2. The application area must be dry and free from contamination.
  3. When using the gel, apply a small amount of the product with a thin layer on the skin and leave until completely absorbed. Applying the ointment, it must be rubbed into the skin with light circular movements, while massaging the surface, improving blood circulation.
  4. After completing the procedure, wash your hands from the remnants of the drug.

It is important to remember that if ointments from joint pain cause an unpleasant burning sensation, soreness or rash, the treatment base must be removed with a cotton pad with vegetable oil, after which the doctor is informed about the reaction.


To ensure that the joints do not hurt, during life you need to follow simple rules:

  • lead an active lifestyle, avoiding physical inactivity;
  • eat right and prevent the appearance of extra pounds;
  • avoid intense physical exertion, weight lifting;
  • if necessary, do heavy work, wear an orthopedic corset or bandage to unload the spine or joints;
  • for daily wear, choose comfortable shoes with low heels;
  • for the prevention or correction of flat feet, use orthopedic insoles;
  • stop drinking alcohol and smoking;
  • avoid injuries and stressful situations whenever possible.

If there is pain and discomfort in the joints, consult a medical specialist to identify the causes of the pathological condition. Early diagnosis significantly increases the chances of a full recovery and restoration of motion function in the affected joint.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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