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What a pain.

THERE is no convincing evidence that liniments and balms work on sore muscles and joints, experts said. There are unlimited over-thecounter purchases and more than a million prescriptions a year for "rubefacient rubs", giving a blood-rush to the skin. Cochrane researchers, who looked at data from 16 studies looking at creams containing painkiller salicylate, found no proven benefits.

They said other analgesic gels may well work, and recommended more research. Researchers looked at 16 studies involving nearly 1,300 patients using creams containing salicylate - a close drug relative of aspirin. Results from four of the studies showed topical salicylates performed better than dummy creams against acute pain, but when lower quality studies were excluded, the results were not statistically significant. But only one in six patients with chronic pain from conditions like osteoarthritis benefited substantially from using the muscle rubs compared with one in three using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller gels like ibuprofen or diclofenac. Lead researcher Dr Andrew Moore, of the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics at the University of Oxford, said: "When it comes to rubefacients they do not work well enough to take any notice of them. "What we know does work is topical non-steroidal antiinflammatory gels like ibuprofen."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2009
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