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Reducing Chronic Pain, Without The Pain Pills

Updated on January 21, 2014

Where Does It Hurt? Are You One Of Many Individuals, Who Constantly Cope With Some Form Of Chronic Pain?

Tired of taking all of those oral pain medications, that often make you feel worse then before you took them. Besides it's often more difficult for many people to stay compliant with medications in an oral form.
Tired of taking all of those oral pain medications, that often make you feel worse then before you took them. Besides it's often more difficult for many people to stay compliant with medications in an oral form. | Source

Topical Creams And Gels, when applied to The Skin, Work Much Faster at Eliminating Chronic Pain, Then Pills Taken By Mouth


The Skin Is Part Of A Unique Transdermal Delivery System

The skin being the largest organ in our bodies. Makes it that much easier for a topical pain cream for example, to reach the site of pain that is experienced. And again with rarely any side-effects as compared to prescription pills.
The skin being the largest organ in our bodies. Makes it that much easier for a topical pain cream for example, to reach the site of pain that is experienced. And again with rarely any side-effects as compared to prescription pills.

Do You Often Find Yourself Taking More And More Pills At Mealtime, To Help You Cope With The Loss Of Sleep Caused By Your Pain?


Topical Creams Or Gels Come Right To Your Doorstep, In Special Dispenser's, That Are Calibrated To Deliver The Exact Dose Of A Medication.

Transdermal, or topically applied prescription strength pain creams, or gels are designed in such a way, that it makes taking your medication that much easier. And at the same time you can avoid having to consume, often hard to swallow pills.
Transdermal, or topically applied prescription strength pain creams, or gels are designed in such a way, that it makes taking your medication that much easier. And at the same time you can avoid having to consume, often hard to swallow pills. | Source

The Art And Science Of Pharmaceutical Compounding Has Been With Man For At Least The Last 2000 Years.

Compound Pharmacy Specialists use a readily available pharmaceutical grade products, to prepare medications for individuals who suffer from cancer pain, or who cannot simply swallow pills by mouth.
Compound Pharmacy Specialists use a readily available pharmaceutical grade products, to prepare medications for individuals who suffer from cancer pain, or who cannot simply swallow pills by mouth. | Source

I have been employed as a medical representative within the pharmaceutical arena for many years now. And the landscape of this particular industry has changed dramatically over the last decade, or so and not for the better either. Many physicians nationwide, rely on the information that we give to them, to make sound clinical decisions in choosing the right medication to help a patient who is suffering from high blood pressure, or even the pain experienced from shingles for example.

And the majority of these medicines that are left as samples for Doctors, in their already crowded closets of multiple medications, are meant to give to the patients, to see how that particular pill helps them, with their specific disease state or condition. In other words are those samples remedying the pain issue at hand that the doctors patient may be having, or is it giving them an awful migraine Instead?

These so called samples are what pharmaceutical representatives, or detailers call a starter dose, for the patient to take home. So they have a few pills to take until their monthly supply of the medicine for example is filled at a local pharmacy. Let's back up a bit to the paragraph where I mentioned pills. Not needles, not patches, not liquids, but pills.

We as individuals may be burdened by six or seven pills that we are taking already for high blood pressure, or arthritis pain, or the pain associated with diabetic nerve pain. Do we really need that eight, ninth, or even tenth pill, to add to our robust regimen of pills that we are already swallowing like clockwork?. The answer is a big NO - we really do not need all of those extra pills for the most part and for a few different and very good reasons.

First of all, many pills could not only interact with the other pills that we are already taking. But in most cases, they in fact do. Interactions from among many, including pain reducing medications, better known as opoids, or possibly even something like Lyrica, or Cymbalta. Both prescribed for the pain associated with Fibromyalgia. And both which can cause multiple side-effects. Remember each individual is different. What one person experiences from a medication, the next two people may not. In fact they could experience a whole lot of more unpleasant side-effects, without the benefit of their medication. In other words the medication is not doing squat, but causing a lot of bloating, gas, nausea and cottonmouth..

And secondly and probably most importantly, is that the multiple pills being ingested that we are already taking,especially the elderly, are not only taxing their internal organs, but in addition are continuing to cause some very unpleasant side-effects, that I just touched upon. And I am not just talking about a little constipation or an occasional dry mouth. I am referring to a great deal of other very unpleasant side-effects that I will not mention in this article, for good reason.

So If you are one of the so many individuals in the united states, or even a distant country for that matter, who suffer from some form of debilitating chronic pain. And this list includes pain from a bad back, sometimes referred to as (failed back syndrome) - herniated discs, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. As well as the pain that is associated with diabetic neuropathy, gout and a good deal of other similar sports injuries for example.

And because of all of the pain many have to continue to cope with daily. One may certainly want to reduce those overall side-effects that can be caused by multiple prescription pills. But you may also want to consider an equally as effective and alternate form of therapy. Therapy that does not include one inundated with a daily regimen of blue, green, yellow, pink, purple and yes, lets not forget the old familiar white pills! So are you truly one of those individuals, who are sick and tired of tearing that "P" word mentioned yet another time by your doctor.

And as a pharmaceutical professional, the solution was right under my own nose all this time, but I was not wise enough to pick up on it. Just like a great deal of healthcare practitioners are not totally familiar with it. But with time...they as well as many more individuals, including myself will want to reduce their overall future pill burden, by turning to yet another more sensible solution, as far as treating pain and inflammation go.

One of the biggest problems is that the majority of us are not educated enough in this area, as far as what is and what isn't available; besides prescription pills in treating disease. And hence the crossroads we choose from, only turn back to our own healthcare practitioners, for that alternate form of relief. And most likely in the form of many interestingly shaped pills.

Sadly enough that solution, or form of relief, ends up to be that same old solution to our problems time after time, after time again.Doctors have and continue to write prescriptions for opoid analgesics and other similar oral medications. Opoid analgesics, by the way, is really another fancy name for a group of narcotic type of drugs. You most likely have heard of a few of these names mentioned in the past....Vicodin, Narco, Percocet, Soma and Oxycontin.

Well if you are already familiar with some of those drug names I just mentioned above, to help you cope with your level of pain. Then you may still be searching for that alternate solution right now; as you continue reading through the article. An alternate solution to help you alleviate, or even greatly eliminate the chronic pain you may suffer with; as the result of a bad back for example.

As I briefly mentioned in the beginning of this article. There are actually more people who suffer from some form of chronic pain and inflammation, than all of those individuals who are incapacitated in some way, by heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In fact that number equates to about 120 million people. And that number continues to climb steadily each year.

So if you're definitely looking for that other solution that I've been talking reiterating so far in this article. Solutions other than prescription pills, that are often hard to swallow for many. Yes those such as Oxycontin and Loracet. Which simply do nothing but cause multiple systemic side-effects. Which will in addition, after time, only make you quickly addicted to this sort of medication, like so many find themselves today. So we find ourselves back at the original question that was emphasized a bit earlier in the article. Is there really other solutions out there?

In fact the answer is a big yes! There are certainly many other sensible alternatives,that are right under your own nose and some that you most likely never heard of. Including the one that I am going to mention in this article. One other very effective one to boot, that can make you feel better sooner than later. Pain free a lot faster, than even that opoid analgesic, that your healthcare practitioner has been feeding you and writing endless, as well as numerous refills on for years.

Again just to remind the reader - (opoid analgesic) is a fancy word for a narcotic type drug. One that is also a controlled substance. Very much like the tranquilizer class of medications that you may already be familiar with...Valium, Clonazepam and Xanax, to name but a few of the multiple anti-anxiety drugs that belong to the benzodiazepine family Of drugs. I may also refer often to the word opoids a few times in this article. Just so you are aware of their meaning when I do mention them in the article..

There almost likely may be at this very moment in time, also a great deal of people in the audience who are tirelessly searching for that alternate solution, to eliminate their back and other types of debilitating pain. And in a fashion that is a whole lot faster then what opoids can do to address that pain.

The same group of these individuals may also find that either these medications are just not doing their job anymore. And to add...they are finding themselves as previously mentioned - overly addicted to these drugs, that will without a doubt, do more harm then good, to not only your gastrointestinal tract, but to your liver and the rest of your bodily organs Included. It's just a matter of time, before they start to deteriorate the cells in your body, as well as your stomach.

Have you ever heard of the term transdermals or topicals used before? Or possibly the term - topical pain formulations? Well if you have, then you evidently have done your homework and have a good idea already of how these classes; of what are referred to as creams or gels work. Get down to the real nitty gritty of the pain you could say, by further eliminating it at its source -the nerve endings.

Asking a doctor or other healthcare practitioner to write a prescription for a topically delivered pain medication for example, can be a great way to definitely reduce your pill burden. And at the same time greatly reduce those overall systemic side-effects, that so many of us experience when we take a prescription medications..

Besides any medication in pill form for the most part, or similar medications in tablet form, take that much longer to enter the systemic circulation and begin to do their intended job. In fact it takes a good twenty minutes or more for an opoid to reach the systemic circulation and begin to work to alleviate the pain at the nerve pain receptors in the brain and throughout other areas of our bodies..

On the other hand topical pain formulations are customized and designed so to speak, to suit the individual patients needs. And they work even quicker then opoid analgesics do for the most part And many other different medications, used to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Usually you will begin to feel immediate relief from these customized medications, as soon as fifteen minutes or less. And the great part about these types of transdermal/topical classes of medications,is that they are delivered through the skin, which is the bodies largest organ, next to the liver.

You're probably wondering how a class of topical formulations, just like the ones I have just described in the previous paragraph work? The process is really very simple and one that has been around for thousands of years. In fact the first pharmacists of our day, incorporated various crushed tablets and other ingredients to formulate a cream, or gel base, that work concomitantly together, to pass through the skin and arrive at the site of pain. This is called the art and science of pharmaceutical compounding.

Beneath the epithelial and corpus stratum layers of the skin, these customized topical medications begin to work, by passing directly through these upper skin layers, and into the nerve endings, where we experience all of that pain.

And they immediately begin to deaden certain receptors there, that are called NDMA receptors. And it's those NDMA pain receptors, that are responsible for causing all of that pain you have been suffering from, possibly even for years and years. And they accomplish this mind you, without all of those horrible unwanted side-effects that opoid analgesics like Oxycontin, Percocet and many other orally ingested drugs can cause.

These side-effects are eliminated by further bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and the liver altogether. Most medications that are taken orally have to make what is called a first pass effect, through our livers and then through our gastrointestinal tract. This is where all the systemic side effects like bleeding, upset stomach and nausea originate.

Whereas a topical prepared formulation by a compound pharmacist for example, bypasses the stomach and liver altogether - greatly reducing those systemic side-effects as I briefly spoke about. And they reach the site of pain much quicker as previously mentioned, by not being absorbed by the blood stream.

In fact topical pain formulations, or transdermals, as they are sometimes referred to, are absorbed only four percent by the blood stream. In relation to an oral medication such as Skelaxin (A Muscle Relaxant), or Oycontin (An Opoid Analgesic). These types of oral medications are absorbed by the body, as high as ninety-six to 100 percent. Hence this is why most individuals experience all of the less than desirable side-effects normally caused by prescription drugs taken orally, or by mouth.

Because the field of pharmaceutical grade compounding is so broad of a topic. For the sake of time, I will mention just a few of the many medications that a compounding pharmacy can fill, per your healthcare practitioners direction. And a combination of ingredients that if applied topically, can alleviate the chronic pain associated with Diabetic Neuropathy and Lower Back pain to mention just a couple of the many different types of pain individuals suffer from, including unpleasant pain caused from cancers.

Unfortunately topical formulations that are compounded are still considered prescriptions and a few such as Ketamine, are controlled substances. So they in turn require a licensed physician's signature. And your physician will have to write out the script for you. Just like they would your medication for high blood pressure for example..

Below are three examples of topical pain formulations prepared by a compounding pharmacy, that are useful for the disease conditions cited below, for each of these formulations.


(Ketoprofen 20% Baclofen 2% Cyclobenzaprine 2% Lidocaine 5%)

This formulation delivered via a topical dispenser, is very effective for Osteoarthritis, Bone and joint inflammation and Tennis Elbow, to name a few.


(Ketoprofen 10%, Gabapentin 4% Cyclobenzaprine 2% Lidocaine 5%)

The above formulation is useful for those suffering from the chronic pain from conditions like....Post Herpetic Neuralgia, Shingles and Chronic Pelvic Phantom Pain.


(Ketamine 10% Amitriptyline 2% Gabapentin 2% Lidocaine 5%)

This particular neuropathic pain formulation contains Ketamine. Ketamine besides being a controlled substance, is also local anesthetic, or numbing agent, that works very similar to Lidocaine. However. Some of the disease conditions that this topically delivered formulation is useful for are:

  • Fibromyalgia, neuroma and TMJ -(TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDERS)
  • Diabetic Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Arthralgia with neuropathic involvement.

So as you can see by the examples, that when applied together these very common ingredients, when applied in a topical, rather than a pill form; produce a so-called synergistic effect that eliminates pain very quickly without all of those unwanted side-effects. The List is endless, and may have to be continued in yet a separate article.

But if you would like to learn more, then please by all means have a look at the sample photos of typical script pads that are utilized by a compounding pharmacy and for the doctor to simply fill in the formulation for the type of pain that you are dealing with in your quest for immediate relief. A Doctor can also use his/her own custom printed script pad, to write in the formulation that may help you with the pain you are suffering from.

There are many specialty compounding pharmacies and not pharmaceutical companies, who specialize in the compounding of these types of trandermal formulations. Some can be found right in your own neighborhood. I have included a link to one, that myself, friends and immediate family have used time and time again. We like the fact that most of the medications that we receive for pain are not only prepared specifically for each of us as individuals. But also delivered right to our door within a 24 hour period. And with the shipping charge picked up by the pharmacy.

In addition these types of topically delivered formulations are covered by over 500 different insurance companies, including Medicare part D, Medicaid, depending on the state you live in. and by workmen Compensation. So there is a very slim chance that your medication will not be covered by your insurance plan.

The good news is that a compounding pharmacy like the one i have included in the link below, also offers a (PSP) program. Which means patient savings program for about $11.95 per year, for those who do not have any type of health coverage. This service is provided by the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Program. And in pharmacy compounding terms means that you will be able to get at least a small amount of this medication for about a dollar per gram. If the Doctor orders a controlled substance like Ketamine. Then the charge is usually $2.00 per gram.

So what more could you ask for in a high quality topically delivered medication that you don't have to swallow to gain the benefit of pain reduction from for instance. And all of this and more without the terrible side-effects that oral classes of opoid analgesics and similar medications can cause, in their original pill form.

So the initial decision is left up to you, and your healthcare provider. You have to ask yourself the next big and final question. Which is...Could this be the ultimate solution I, or a family member, have been searching for all of these years, to tame that chronic pain; so there will be no further need to keep taking all of those addicting pills?

Many Classes Of Topical Pain Management Formulations, Are Available That Address A Wide Variety Of Chronic Pain Issues

As you can see from the different classes of drugs utilized in the above flyer. That many of the different topical pain formulations. applied together, provide immediate relief, while reducing systemic side-effects.
As you can see from the different classes of drugs utilized in the above flyer. That many of the different topical pain formulations. applied together, provide immediate relief, while reducing systemic side-effects. | Source

Some Commonly Prescribed Topically Compounded Formulations, That Are Delivered Through The Skin

Topical pain formulations, like the ones shown of this sample photo script, are very effective in addressing pain. In fact much quicker then orally consumed medications and without all of those side-effects
Topical pain formulations, like the ones shown of this sample photo script, are very effective in addressing pain. In fact much quicker then orally consumed medications and without all of those side-effects | Source

Topical Creams Can Be Very Effective For Many Other Conditions That Cause Chronic Pain, Besides For The Pain Associated With An Aching Back.



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    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      5 years ago from Long Island, New York


      Thank you for stopping by and digesting the lengthy amount of info. In this article of mine. I like you have been very fortunate at this point in my life, to be free from all pain. And happy to say that I have not had to take any of my own topical pain meds that I market.

      However I am surrounded by many people, including family members, who I've seen suffer from chronic, debilitating pain most of their lives. And because of that soft spot in my heart.

      I wanted to share this wealth of info with those folks out there, who may further find an alternate method in treating their chronic pain conditions. Through the relief that topically delivered analgesics can deliver! Thank you again my friend for reading through until the last tid bit of information.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You really have presented a wealth of information here. I have been so lucky during my lifetime. I have no chronic pain nor have I ever...crossing my fingers as I write this. :)

    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      5 years ago from Long Island, New York


      Thank you for stopping by to read my article on effectively treating chronic pain without narcotic based pain pills for example. I have realized after working within the medical/pharmaceutical areas for multiple years now.

      That this is definitely the way to educate Doctors in treating more patients with topical based pain creams, especially in the elderly. There are far more side-effects from pain pills than there are from topically introduced meds. A lot of information here, for my readers I realize.

      But it was necessary to explain this much information about compounded medications. Because the art & science of compounding is really that complex. Thank you again for your comments.


    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Wow, that's a lot of great information. When working at a nursing home, I was always amazed how many prescriptions some of our residents were on--often 12 or 13. I think they were probably doing more harm than good!

    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Hello Crafty:

      Thank you for stopping by and reading through all of this information, that I have presented in my article about topical creams, as an option for physicians to use to treat patients for many disease states, that pills can cause many more unwanted side-effects. Besides being Non-Narcotic based, which also means these topical customized medications for multiple conditions are also non-habit forming.

      They also do not require a first pass though the liver, where most pills are metabolized. And they cause less damage to your kidneys, and G.I. tract, which is something that elderly patients want to avoid. Not all physician's are keen, or aware on pharmaceutical grade compounded medications.

      However many physicians, do forget that the art and science of compounding medications has been around for at least 2000 years. They just need a reminder, that before pharma companies started pushing their so called miracle pills. That medications often were compounded at the pharmacy in cream forms. And like I mentioned in the article also.

      Why treat the whole body with a pill, when you only need to address certain areas of the body. The feet for example, is an area, that Podiatrist often see patients with Diabetic Neuropathy and nerve damage.

      Compounded medications in a cream form, do directly through the skins surface and address the pain, directly at the nerve endings where that type of patient experiences all of their pain. There is absolutely no need to give a pill, that cause so many more side-effects, including dry mouth.

      Have you ever heard of a topical pain cream for instance, causing Dry Mouth for one? Podiatrist, Pain Management Physicians, and Osteopaths, or D.O.s and some Orthopedic Doctors, are the classes of physicians who prescribe these medications the most.

      So if you have a physician that you can schedule an appointment with, who fits into one of those classes i mentioned above, then that is your best bet, for having a topical, non-narcotic pain cream prescribed for you.

      Good luck to you in your quest for a better quality of life. And again thank you for providing excellent feedback on this article. It is greatly appreciated.


    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      7 years ago

      I have painful arthritis in my neck. I have bone fusion and other issues in my cervical spine that they say I was born with. Never had problems with it until last December.

      During periods of humidity, I am stiff as a board and walk with a little hunch. My uncle has ankliospondilitis. I have relatives with MS, fibromyalgia, and polyomyalgia (sp). Several relatives have rheumatioid arthritis.

      I take 2 alieve every day just to get out of bed and function. I did ask my doctor about arthritis meds. He said I'm not severe enough yet. I did have physical therapy for about 6 weeks.

      I started walking every day around the park. While hospitalized last December for paralysis, I learned that I have low magnesium so I am also on a supplement for that every day. I've progressed to hiking for a few miles in the forest. And I'm taking about 10 different vitamins.

      This information about topicals looks very intriguing. I go back to my doctor in October for a checkup because I also have high blood pressure now. It sure would be great to be pain free.

    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York


      Thank you for stopping by and reading my article on reducing chronic pain. Exercises like Stretching and basic walking, can indeed help you reduce both chronic and acute pain. And by using topical pain remedies, whether OTC, or Prescription strength, can only increase the efficacy of other treatments.

      Most individuals take so many pills already,that do nothing but cause additional damage to the kidneys, liver & G.I. Tract. The pain creams that I spoke about, have very few, if any side- effects & is a very smart & inexpensive solution to pain pills for one.


    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Stretching helps for pain and natural remedies Reducing Chronic Pain, Without The Pain Pills is a great hub and influences others on how to go about their lives without pills.

    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York


      Thank you for your views on pain management for one and your views on the pharmaceutical industry as one. Being a medical consultant & pharmacy rep for many years.

      I finally came to realize that pharmaceutical companies should be more innovative and much less manipulative in their overall dealings when calling on physician's and leaving drug samples.

      After all it is really supposed to be about helping people achieve a much better quality of life, for them, as well as their families. We shouldn't have to buy, or convince any physician, in choosing the right treatment options, or even drugs, to help their patients reach optimal wellness. They should already have developed this knowledge while in medical school.

      Many people do suffer from awful chronic pain conditions. And I see it around me, nearly every day. That is what I wanted to educate new, as well as older physician's. that there are other less invasive methods out there, that can help relieve many people's pain issues,without narcotic based pills.

      Topical non-narcotic treatment options do work very well, without drugging the whole body, and causing terrible side-effects such as Hepatotoxicity. Again thank you for all of your comments, as well as feedback. And I hope you find remedies such as these, to help you deal with your own pain. Best of health to you.


    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You have written a comprehensive hub on back pain and an honest view of the pharmaceutical tactics.

      I am a psychotherapist, and when I worked on the inpatient psych unit in the hospital we had drug reps come almost weekly. Not only would they bring the psychiatrist samples they would also provide a delicious lunch for all the staff. Not only that they would also provide us all with goodies, like pens, paper weights, magnets and so forth. It was such a tricky manipulative way to win the psychiatrist over so he would prescribe their medication for the patient instead of another brand.

      Years later, when I became pregnant with my first child I went to interview pediatricians. When I was waiting in the waiting room a drug rep walked in and introduce himself to the secretary. He wanted to drop off samples and all those goodies. She told him that this pediatrician does meet with drug reps or take the goodies. I choose that pediatrician.

      I suffer from back and hip pain. I was in a horrible car accident when I was 24 and demolished my left leg. Several surgeries later, rods, and pins, and taking 2 years to learn how to walk again, I managed to make it through. Consequently I live with constant pain. It is so severe sometimes I do have to take narcotics. However, I use them sparingly. I just ordered a TENS unit and I can't wait to get it. I also do yoga, meditation, and other pain coping mechanisms like taking a hot bath to soothe the pain.

      I work with chronically mentally ill adults. I know medication is absolutely necessary and thank God we have it for certain mental illness, chronic pain, and so forth. But you are absolutely right, it is overused and there are many alternative ways to heal the body and mind.

    • Jlbowden profile imageAUTHOR

      James Bowden 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York


      I am glad you found this article useful, as well as interesting. I did put a good deal of effort and research into the article. And have come to the conclusion myself, that using either non-prescription, or RX pain management treatments. Is really the best way to go, as far as cutting down on the amount of pills one individual may have to take for many different illnesses.

      Besides pain pills are often very addicting, and can cause stomach bleeding & a host of other problems. Topical creams on the other hand, have very few side-effects, if any. Thank you for stopping by to read my article. Take care.


    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      This article is most interesting. The alternatives noted are surely better than taking many drugs that cause side effects. Sometimes creams like aspercreme can relieve many ailments, A physician at a teaching hospital recommended it. When my neck tenses up and hurts, it helps to rub the creme on that area of muscles. You certainly have a wealth of knowledge and have written it up very well. I certainly will do some investigation for alternative methods to relieve pain. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


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