arthritic knee pain, advantages of Voltaren gel, knee arthritis

Inflammation is behind a lot of chronic disease, including arthritis. That is why nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are so popular among people with joint pain. However, even though these drugs relieve pain and calm inflammation, they may cause serious side effects such as kidney damage, cardiovascular complications and digestive distress. Sometimes doctors prescribe a topical NSAID such as Pennsaid or Voltaren gel in an effort to get more benefit and less risk. Are there advantages of Voltaren gel?

Enjoying the Advantages of Voltaren Gel:

Q. Both my husband and I have been using a small amount of Voltaren gel for years. This has enabled me to avoid knee replacements and my husband, back surgery.

When I first asked my orthopedic doctor about using the gel, he checked its effect on the kidneys and decided that it was ok to use.

In fact, at first, Voltaren gel wasn’t available in the US. We purchased it in Mexico, Europe or Asia. Now we purchase it OTC in Canada.

Every year we have our “wellness” exams, which include blood tests. Our kidney functions are still fine.

Adverse Effects from Topical NSAIDs:

A. Topical NSAIDs such as diclofenac (Voltaren gel, Pennsaid, Flector) can provide helpful relief for sore joints. Often, topical medication does not trigger the same complications as oral NSAIDS such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam or naproxen.

That said, some people are very sensitive to adverse effects of these medicines. Readers have reported heartburn and gastritis as well as elevated blood pressure after applying Voltaren gel.

You’ll find much more information about topical NSAIDs as well as the pros and cons of oral NSAIDs, including celecoxib, indomethacin and ketoprofen, in our 104-page book, The Graedons’ Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. In it, we also discuss the drawbacks and advantages of Voltaren gel.

Topical NSAIDs such as Voltaren gel are widely available over the counter in many countries. In the U.S., though, a prescription is required.

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  1. Lynne

    Could you tell me what Canadian pharmacy you used? My insurance does not cover pain meds very well.

  2. lubsie
    Sooke, BC Canada

    When my shoulder and elbow tendons flared up a few years ago, my pain was almost too much to bear. The specialist I went to see gave me such simple advice that worked. He said to cut carbs plain and simple. On day 10, all my pain just dissolved (including the osteoporosis knee pain). I was able to swim & knit once again. When I got lazy or sloppy eating more than 100 carbs per day, the inflammation returned. It was time to get religion and stick to the most simple philosophy….keep your carb count below 100….healing without fancy, expensive prescriptions and best of all, no side effects.

  3. farmerjim
    Louisa, VA

    I’ve been doing trigger point massage for almost a couple decades now. Trigger points are contraction knots which form in muscles — a small number of muscle fibers — and they are also known as ‘painful points, or ‘yipe points’. Press on them and they hurt. They can also be disappeared by massaging for about 30 seconds at a bearable level of pain — tho most often it will take massaging the trigger point several or more times. Trigger points are also weird because most of them have the pain felt in one location, and the trigger point is in another part of the muscle. This ‘referred pain’ can any where from less than an inch up to 2 or 3 feet from where the pain is felt

    If the pain is just above the knee or behind the patella — at least in the early stages of a few years — is generally caused by trigger points in the Rectus Femoris muscle. Above the knee pain is caused by a painful point an inch or so below the groin line on the leg. Pain behind the patella is cause by a trigger point about two palm widths above the patella. Both these trigger points are found just above the Femur (upper leg bone)

    A second muscle, Vastus Medialis can also cause pain behind the patella. This trigger point is an inch or two above the patella and medial to the Femur. A second trigger point in this muscle — about a full palm width above the top of the patella — causes pain on the medial side of the knee (also d*****d painful). Massage at a 45 degree angle to the humerus.

    A third muscle — Vastus Lateralis — causes pain on the lateral side of the knee. These trigger points are where the pain is felt, rather than several inches away. There are also several possible trigger points in this muscle about two palm widths above the knee — try massaging in to the humerus at a 45 degree agle, or straight in to the side of the humerus. If there are trigger points there, you can massage them out

    These are the major muscles which can cause knee pain. There are also another 3 minor muscles which can cause knee pain, either by themselves, or in addition to to trigger points in the major muscles. What all these muscles have in common is that they have tendons which attach either to the knee, or to the joints around the knee. The contraction knot pulls on the tendons, which in turn pull at their attachment points in the knee joint, causing mild to debilitating pain.

    Massage the trigger points by pressing into them with fingers (or a knuckle) and move your massage across these contraction knots. Do this with your leg in a position so the muscle you are massaging is as relaxed as you can make it. A tense or tightened muscle doesen’t massage well. Massage back and forth in the direction of the muscle fibers, not across the fibers.

    Good skill — farmer jim

  4. NORMA
    Springville, Al.

    I love Voltaren gel. Especially for sore neck and shoulder pain which also affects my sleep. The gel works very quickly. I highly reccomend it.

  5. Cliff
    MW IN

    With so many ED supplements the market now, I’ve found that you dare not eat any kind of a meal before taking these supplements as they will not work because the blood in your system will automatically go to you stomach to help you digest the meal you just ate, and very little, or no blood, will be available to assist you in getting an erection.

  6. Louise

    I use a topical gel containing arnica for mild joint arthritis that works well.

  7. Lou
    San Antonio

    I’ve used Voltaren Gel for years, mostly on my right thumb and left wrist for arthritis with great success. My doctors have told me to go ahead and use it on my spine for arthritis, and it works well there too. I’ve not had any side effects.

  8. Barb

    I am an 82 yr old female w/severe arthritis in a knee. I do not take any medications; at times the pain was so bad I would have agreed to anything. But, I discovered a compressed knee sleeve, which I purchased for around $20, and it pretty much keeps me pain free.

  9. Amelia R.
    Erie PA

    Voltaren has been really helpful for me , and when I use regularly it keeps me biking and hiking in relative comfort. I’d say it’s delayed knee replacement surgery for at least 5 years so far. However, I do react to it with an itchy rash that requires topical steroid ointment to control. It’s possible I am seeing an increase in blood pressure from it as well. I recently took a hiatus from using it daily for the last two months, due to the rash , and have noticed my blood pressure is a bit lower.

  10. Ann

    Our family doctor ordered Voltaren gel for me. I opened the package and the first point on the usage page was to not use it if you are on a blood thinner such as Warfarin. I take Warfarin. I checked with the pharmacist and she said I should not take it. So I didn’t.

  11. George

    The day before yesterday was the last day of using, for just about exactly a week, Voltaren gel for a very recently diagnosed arthritis of the feet and ankles.

    It didn’t seem to make a clear difference at first, but the day after I stopped using it (that is to say, yesterday), I did seem to have less incidence of pain — in fact, for a substantial portion of the day, no pain — in one foot than I’d had before (though the pain was originally minor in the first place).

    The main issue for me is that it seemed to make me feel weird in the head — it seemed to be affecting my brain in some way, although it didn’t lessen my mental abilities, as far as I can tell — I just had that weird feeling, and I’m glad to have stopped using it. Apparently, enough of it got into my bloodstream as to cause this reaction (unless something else was in play that did so).

  12. Carole

    I think that, if people know the possible side effects of drugs and make the decision to use them anyway, it is for them to say. I take meloxicam every day to function. Without it I hurt all the time. I get kidney function tests every year and they are stable. But I am living every day as best I can.

  13. Kat

    I’ve been using the Voltaren gel for about a year on my knees; that’s helped me put off knee replacements, which I need. This is important right now as my husband has had some major medical problems in the past year that require me to be his caregiver, and do 90% of the work and cooking around the house (we’re both retired and he usually did about 50% of the work/cooking). I also have to help him get up from most chairs in our house, even with a lift chair. I’ve had no adverse reactions to the gel; it’s really been a lifesaver for us both.

  14. Kay
    Douglasville, ga 30134

    I was given a sample of Voltaren Gel by my doctor for knee pain. It did nothing to relieve my pain. A knee replacement did. Doctor seemed surprised, as she thought it would help, but it didn’t.

  15. Leslie

    I suffer from arthritis in my right thumb and hand. At one point, I couldn’t even hold a pen, as the pain was so excruciating. I did a lot of research and tried many of the natural alternatives to NSAIDS, none of which worked for me. Finally, I stumbled across SAMe. I read that it could take up to 2-3 weeks to work, and like clockwork, it kicked in at 2 weeks. I am getting these amazing results with just 400mg of SAMe every day, and a therapeutic dose is 1-3 pills a day! SAMe has been proven in documented studies to provide the same analgesic effect as aspirin. I am just curious why this information isn’t more readily available!

    I also understand that SAMe is used for the treatment of liver disease so there is no worry on my part that it will damage my internal organs. I hope this is correct. This is a miracle supplement for osteoarthritis sufferers! I can now write with no pain at all!

  16. Mat R.

    I use 200 mg of Advil at night but my use is to prevent urination. Yes, my BP is slightly elevated in morning. Should I be concerned?

  17. Joy T.

    I tried it for 1 month, and it did nothing for me. I really wanted it to work.

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