Have you ever had sore knees? It makes it hard to climb stairs. Even walking can be a challenge when your knees hurt. Most people take NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) or meloxicam (Mobic). Such medications come with a lot of side effects. You can learn more about the dark side of NSAIDs at this link.  Others, like this doctor, have gone way beyond NSAIDs with limited success.

Other Treatments for Sore Knees:

Q. I am a physician, but traditional medicine has let me down. Knee surgery has not helped my sore knees. Neither have stem cell injections.

I have tried oral supplements without much success. Any suggestions?

A. Have you considered a topical NSAID such as diclofenac gel for your sore knees? It should be less likely to cause systemic side effects than oral drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen.

There is a surprising amount of controversy surrounding topical NSAIDs. The FDA requires a scary warning about drugs like Voltaren Gel. Here is our take on this complex issue:

Stories from Readers:

Richard in Washington shared this story:

“I was prescribed Voltaren Gel for knee and back pain some years ago. The stuff was magic but at $50 per tube I only used it when I absolutely needed it. On a trip to Canada I discovered it was available over the counter for $17 a tube. I buy a couple of tubes every trip.”

Maggie in Alabama has a similar story:

“I was prescribed Voltaren gel for arthritis in my feet. Didn’t expect much, but got pain relief within minutes. Unfortunately, my co-pay was $42.00, which kind of pissed me off.

“I researched Voltaren, and saw it was available over the counter in Canada, so I had a friend get me several tubes at a time. I’ve been on SSD for a decade, but Voltaren has allowed me to work part-time. It works so well, for me anyway, that there’s no reason for it not to be OTC, except that pharmaceutical companies like the money.”

We do think people should consult their health care professionals before using topical NSAIDs. Some individuals are so sensitive to such drugs that even topical formulations cause them stomach upset or high blood pressure.

Other Options for Sore Knees:

Even though you have not had success with supplements, have you tried turmeric (curcumin), ashwagandha, boswellia, ginger, MSM, SAMe, tart cherry juice or pineapple (bromelain)? We recognize that as a physician you will want some scientific support for such alternative approaches. You will find it and more details in our eGuide, Alternatives for Arthritis. Look in the Health Guide section of www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Related People's Pharmacy Health Guide

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