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

Link between COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health and neurological conditions found

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

One in three COVID-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an observational study of more than 230,000 patient health records published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal estimates. The study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders.

New national study of long-term impacts of debilitating lung damage from COVID-19

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

A new national study will investigate the long-term effects of lung inflammation and scarring from COVID-19. The study, launched with £2 million of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), aims to develop treatment strategies and prevent disability.

Opportunities for final goodbyes must be prioritised in COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

Bereaved relatives described the ongoing pain of being absent at the end of a loved-one's life. Many had not seen their relative for weeks or months due to the pandemic. Opportunities must be prioritised for essential connections between families at end-of-life care.

New study shows overwhelming public support for donating vaccines to low-income countries

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

A survey led by Nuffield Department of Population Health's Health Economics Research Centre has found that most people in high-income countries support donating some of their country’s COVID-19 vaccine supplies to low-income nations who would otherwise struggle to gain access.

New target identified to develop treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

General Research

A new study from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics (DPAG) has shed light on a key regulatory step in the initiation and progression of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by revealing the protective role of a previously little known small protein.