Topical pain relievers in the form of a gel, spray or cream have been widely used in Europe for years. Now they are starting to catch on in the US.
Cochrane Researchers analyzed data from 31 different studies. They found creams and gels with medications such as Ibuprofen and Voltaren are a good alternative for sports-related injuries, but not for headaches or chronic pain.
One plus, researchers say, is the topicals pose less risk for unpleasant side effects.