Epicondylitis is a painful condition referring to the inflammation of the elbow. Lateral epicondylitis is commonly known as tennis elbow, while the medial epicondylitis is known as the golfer’s elbow. Annually, doctors diagnose around six in every 1000 patients with this condition.
Epicondylitis is usually seen more in ages between 34 and 55 years, and of the two types, tennis elbow is the more common condition.
In a recent study of incidence, lateral epicondylitis was found to be more common than medical epicondylitis. Of 77 patients evaluated, there was no observed difference in incidence between the sexes, and lateral epicondylitis being more common than medial in both sexes. Medial epicondylitis is more common in the community than is generally recognized.
Treating the Pain with Compounded Topical Medications
There are many different treatment options available for epicondylitis. An effective treatment approach needs a combination of pain relief and therapy exercises involving tendon repair and muscle strengthening. Epicondylitis pain can be managed with the help of topical medications.
Topical medications are easy to use. All you have to do is rub them on the painful site. They can bring faster pain relief as compared to oral medicines. Topical analgesics are topical pain killers which help in reducing inflammation and pain, while topical anesthetics relieve pain by numbing the painful site.
Commonly Compounded Medications for Pain
• Gabapentin 5-10%
• Ketamine 5-10%
• Imipramine 2-10%
• Baclofen 2%
• Lidocaine 1-10%
• Ketoprofen 10%
• Nifedipine 2-16%
• Clonidine 0.2%
• Amitriptyline 2-10%
• Cyclobenzaprine 2%
• Diclofenac 2-10%
Benefits of Topical Compounded Pain Medications
• Minimize absorption into the systemic system.
• Deliver medication directly to the site of the pain.
• Targets several pain receptors at one time.
• Non-addictive formulations are available.
• Excellent for patients who have trouble swallowing.
• Reduces the interactions between drugs.
• Fewer side effects.
Advantages of Topical Medications
Topical medicine has many advantages. Some of them include:
Faster Pain Relief: Because the medicine is applied directly on the inflamed site, pain relief is faster. Oral medication, in contrast, takes longer as the medicine needs to be absorbed in the blood stream.
Fewer Side Effects: Topical medicines have minimal systemic absorption, and because of this, the side effects are very less.
Safe for Repeated Use: Oral analgesics can have harmful effects on the stomach if used a lot. Topical medications are safer in this regard because they are only applied topically.
Types of Topical Medications
Epicondylitis can be treated with any of the topical medications having the ingredients menthol, salicylates, or capsaicin. Menthol and counter irritants cause hot and cold sensations which help relieve the pain, whereas salicylates help in reducing the inflammation. These medications can be compounded, which means they are specifically created for the individual patient.
Topical medications come in the form of creams, lotions, sprays, gels, and roll-ons. Roll-ons are especially easy to use and do not create a mess as well while sprays can be helpful for applying controlled amounts of medicine. Topical medication may be used repeatedly and as much as needed, however it is not a good idea to exceed the maximum daily limit, as this is a safety threshold.
Use of topical medications will help the patients remain pain-free enough to embark on supportive physical therapy, which helps heal the condition completely. If used in time, before the condition worsens, topical agents may also suffice as the only treatment.
Faubel, C. (2013). Topical compounding creams used in pain management. Retrieved from: http://thepainsource.com/topical-compounding-creams-used-in-pain-management/
Hamilton, P.G. The prevalence of humeral epicondylitis: a survey in general practice. 36(291), 464 – 465. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3440991