At some stage most people have tried topical anti-inflammatory gels such as voltaren gel to reduce their pain and discomfort from an injury.  These rub-on gels promise tagreted pain relief and improved mobility.  But do these gels actually do what they promise and can they help you? 

Recent research has indicated that the use of these gels can actually provide relief in the right circumstances.  The active ingredients included in these gels such as diclofenac (typically found in Voltaren & Ketoprofen) have been shown to be signifanctly more effective than simply rubbing or massaging the affected area without these ingredients.  Research also indicates that any short term side effects from the use of these products are very rare, compared to similar oral medications with much higher risks, making them a safer alternative.

In particular these gels have been shown to benefit individuals who have suffered a recent sprain or strain, providing relief during the initial acute phase of the injury (up to 7 days).  However, for chronic injuries & pain (greater than 3 months in duration) there is limited evidence for reduced pain.

Always seek your health practitioners advice before using these products as they are a medication.  If you have a muscle strain or joint sprain they may be an effective part of your rehabilitation.