Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
None

There may be something in the idea that rubbing a painful area might actually help. We rub the skin over a painful area almost instinctively. Touch applied at particular frequency can be pleasant. And while there is research that shows that it might help, it is a big jump to demonstrate that rubbing alone is a useful treatment for pain if that pain is moderate or severe.

But what about rubbing something on to a painful area – a cream or a gel? There are all sorts of these. Some aim to cool, some to produce a sense of heat, some contain drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or capsaicin, an extract of chilli. Some are for acute pain, some for chronic, some you can buy over the counter from the chemist, and others need a prescription. Any large pharmacy has a bewildering array of products. How do you choose? Are any better than just rubbing?

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Andrew Moore, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. 

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

Similar stories

Scientists make DNA breakthrough which could identify why some people are more affected by Covid-19

Scientists from the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University have developed a method that allows them to see, with far greater accuracy, how DNA forms large scale structures within a cell nucleus.

AI endoscopy enables 3D surface measurements of pre-cancerous condition in oesophagus

Clinicians and engineers in Oxford have begun using artificial intelligence alongside endoscopy to get more accurate readings of the pre-cancerous condition Barrett’s oesophagus and so determine patients most at risk of developing cancer.

The COVID-19 International Modelling Consortium (CoMo Consortium) enters a new phase

Created in March 2020 to assist policymakers to make use of existing evidence in mathematical and epidemiological models to inform strategies for minimising the impact of COVID-19, the CoMo Consortium brings together mathematical modellers, epidemiologists, health economists and public health experts from more than 40 countries across Africa, Asia and South and North America.

RECOVERY trial finds aspirin does not improve survival for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

The RECOVERY trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

Lack of maths education negatively affects adolescent brain and cognitive development

A new study suggests that not having any maths education after the age of 16 can be disadvantageous.

Iron deficiency anaemia in early pregnancy increases risk of heart defects, suggests new research

In animal models, iron deficient mothers had a greatly increased risk of having offspring with congenital heart disease (CHD).