Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Muscle Rubs: Use For Pain Is Questionable, Review Finds

Date:
July 8, 2009
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
There is not enough evidence to support using gels and creams containing rubefacients for chronic and acute pain, according to a systematic review. Rubefacients cause irritation and reddening of the skin, due to increased blood flow. The review focused on formulations containing salicylates, which are widely prescribed or sold over the counter as topical treatments for sports injuries and muscle pain.

There is not enough evidence to support using gels and creams containing rubefacients for chronic and acute pain, according to a systematic review by Cochrane Researchers. Rubefacients cause irritation and reddening of the skin, due to increased blood flow. The review focused on formulations containing salicylates, which are widely prescribed or sold over the counter as topical treatments for sports injuries and muscle pain.

"At present, due to a lack of high quality evidence, we can't say exactly how effective rubefacients are for acute injuries and there are certainly other more effective treatments which could be prescribed for use in chronic conditions like osteoarthritis," says lead researcher Andrew Moore, of the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics at the University of Oxford in the UK.

There are over a million prescriptions each year for rubefacient gels and creams such as Movelat. As with Movelat, the rubefacient compounds in many of these products are salicylates, which, while they are related to aspirin, may not work in the same way, especially when applied to the skin. They are referred to as "counter-irritants" because it is thought that they offset localised pain through local skin irritation.

The review analysed data from 16 trials for acute and chronic pain, which together included 1,276 people. Only salicylates were studied and trials were generally small. Results from four studies showed topical salicylates performed better than placebos against acute pain, but excluding lower quality studies meant the results were not statistically significant. When used for chronic conditions, salicylates performed better than placebos. However, only one in six patients with chronic pain benefited substantially from using the muscle rubs compared to one in three using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

"Larger and higher quality controlled trials of topical rubefacients are needed to establish whether these treatments really work. We also need more studies on other rubefacients as we were only able to assess the effectiveness of the salicylate formulations in this review," says Moore. "But it is important to remember that not all analgesic gels or creams are the same, and for others there is very good evidence of effectiveness. Those will be dealt with in other reviews presently being finalised."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Muscle Rubs: Use For Pain Is Questionable, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707201112.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2009, July 8). Muscle Rubs: Use For Pain Is Questionable, Review Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707201112.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Muscle Rubs: Use For Pain Is Questionable, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707201112.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins