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Voltaren Gel - Anyone use for back pain?

cjperkccjperk Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:01 AM in Pain Medications
I've got Voltaren Gel prescribed to me for Tennis Elbow in 2010. I've done a bit of reading about it for back pain, but wanted to see if any of you have used it with success. The theory of putting it on ones back sounds solid. It provides a concentrated dose of NSAID to affected area and provides less of a systematic release of the drug.

If you've used it successfully, did you put it on the muscles or directly over the spine. My pharmacist said be careful putting it over the spine as it could provide a large dose to the fluids. She also said she's not that experienced when it comes to Voltaren Gel.

The information in the box said it has not been evaluated for spine use, but I cannot find any evidence that it's harmful either. I asked my PM about it on Tuesday and he gave me the green light to use it, but didn't have much to say either.

I'm funny about new medications and rightfully so. Thanks for any advice, just trying to use this in the safest possible manner. My back is bothering me so bad now I'm ready to try nearly anything to get it back to where it was.

The oral NSAID I'm currently prescribed is 800mg Ibuprofen. When I first began taking it I can say it was like a miracle cure. I'm having less of an effect from it nowadays, but I've always believed in the powers of NSAID's. Which one worked the best for you? (P.S. I know not to take both Voltaren and Ibuprofen same day). Thx


  • I was prescribed voltaren gel for my back issues maybe a year ago. i used it for cervical pain a couple of times. honestly never noticed any improvement with the stuff, and went back to some of my default meds instead.

    as for NSAIDs, i've also done the 600-800mg of ibuprofen and it works ok in general. after using it daily for months on end though it kind of loses its effectiveness as far as i have seen.

    These days, i will take naprosyn (prescription alleve) if i need some form of anti-inflammatory medication. (i can't take steroids, which would be the doc's preference) so next best thing, either 375 or 500mg naprosyn (generic is naproxyn) OTC strength is 220mg. a couple of days on this and things will usually settle down for me.

    I've also taken celebrex, but that caused stomach issues. (then again, 8 months on naprosyn and i had stomach issues then as well.)
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • Thanks for the fast reply!

    You know I had never thought about taking prescription naproxn. I have some of that too from an oral surgery.

    Yes, you're absolutely right. The ibuprofen most definitely loses it's effectiveness over a couple few months. I think it's bad on a daily basis too, just too harsh on your stomach and kidneys.

    I had an adverse reaction to oral steroids when all of this began as well. I swelled up really bad and couldn't sleep. I was extremely hyper from it. I'm sitting on a script of prednisone that I've reserved for the worst of worst days. I'm half tempted to take it now as I'm having a worst experience this week. I cannot afford to start the ascending/descending dose and this stuff keep me awake. I know I'm going to swell up too. The sleep loss is what I'm most worried about. Maybe one of my Muscle Relaxers would be enough to knock me out?!?

    I'll give the naproxn a try. Any other stories about Voltaren are appreciated. I've done some internet research on the stuff (for back) and read just enough to make me worried. A few people said they were dizzy, sleepy, passed out, etc.
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  • i've gave up the steroids after several lumbar epidurals, and reluctantly a couple of cervical ones. but what sold me on giving up steroids was the 2 week migraine headache after a single days worth of a medrol pack. There is no way a 2 week migraine is better than the back pain.

    as for being able to sleep, Soma knocks me out completely. i don't even take it, unless i am that desperate and have the entire next day to spend in bed sleeping. i've got a weaker script, robaxin, which doesn't work nearly as well, but i doesn't knock me out sleepwise either.

    if nothing else, i can say i've got a pharmacy in my medicine cabinet, and would love to be able to get rid of all of it.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • I feel ya about the pharmacy in cabinet. I too get Soma as needed. To be honest I prefer it over Flexeril. The Flexeril bugs me out. At least with the Soma you can break it in to 1/2's or 1/4's. I don't take it either unless absolutely necessary, but to me it works best out of the MR's. A PM I saw Tuesday wants me to go on Skelaxin or something because of Soma's addictive properties. I've only ever heard a doctor say something's addictive twice. That's already too much.

    If something works it works, you know. It's not like I'm popping Soma's 4x per day or even daily for that matter. I only get 30 per month. He'd rather me take "better" medicine in Cymbalta. Ok, end rant.

    Flushing, bloating, and extreme anxiousness is what happened to me on the prednisone. It might be worth me trying if the Soma could put me to sleep on it.
  • don't you just love that you need to take other meds to get through the side effects of the med you're supposed to be taking. that's like when my old doc was pushing the medrol pack, and i kept telling him if i take it, i'll also be taking fioricet for the migraines for 2 weeks due to 5 days worth of pills. do i need to get hooked on fioricet to get through the steroid packs?

    i never did flexeril, i tend to shy away from the muscle relaxers because they make me so sleepy. last time i did soma for 2 or 3 nights in a row, i literally slept for the entire week. i was completely non functional.

    i've been through half a dozen NSAIDs, and at least 4 or 5 narcotic pain killers. i've only ever had luck with the naprosyn, and oxycodone. (and the oxy, can't even be as percocet, the tylenol in them too seems to make me dizzy as all get out.)

    maybe a diuretic at the same time as the steroid would help keep the bloating down? And then we're back to meds to deal with the meds.

    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
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  • Yep, we're in for the long haul with this back pain. Stacking drugs to counteract side effects is the reality of NSAID's and other type drugs.

    Some of this stuff is really nasty.

    I'll tell you, the supposed "bad" addictive drugs that actually have let me live a somewhat normal life are better than their "supposed" non-addictive counterparts. I've been berated by a couple of specialists about the dangers of these drugs (not by the prescriber who actually knows me as a person). That does a number on my mind a bit, some of these guys lack the couth of treating a patient with respect. The PM I saw tuesday was all over me about taking the Soma and SIII narcotic.

    The worse part is he had no real solution for treating my lumbar back pain. What he had me try hurt me worse. That's the big reason I've spent all of my free time in the past 48 hours on the internet reading and communicating. I don't want to be on medicine, heck I never took a dang thing before all of this began.

    Some of this supposed good stuff is 10x worse than the bad in my humble opinion. I've most definitely experienced the worst side effects on the 'non-addictive' stuff that still produces DEPENDENCY. SSNRI's produce dependency just as bad if not worse as anything (He wants me on Cymbalta for long term back pain)

    The NSAID's can be a god send, but long term use is dangerous. I'm rambling on out of frustration, please forgive me. I've just not been offered a decent plan of action so I'm trying to think of anything right now - The Voltaren was staring at me in medicine cabinet so I asked.

    I've taken Ibuprofen today so I'm going to wait until tomorrow evening to try the Voltaren. I'll let you all know if it helped. Cheers, and thanks again for chatting. It really means a lot sharing experiences with people in the same situation. I'll definitely let you guys know how the Voltaren works.

  • but its useless on my lower back but good on my shoulder .{so muscle pain ok } bone and nerve pain [For me.. not good ]
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I would use the Flector patch which releases the medicine into the skin...It is an NSAID....

    And I found this to be very effective on certain spots...As well as it not being messy and easy to use.

    You cannot use other NSAIDs at the same time....So obviously this would all be discussed with your Dr.

    But just saying that there are different options if the gel does not work well.

    Are you doing any PT like daily exercises for your lumbar region..Aqua therapy? Stretching/yoga...massage? Acunpuncture?

    As we know...it's never just about one treatment...Everything is a building block to reduce the pain to a decent level like a 5...
  • Lovetrotravel said:

    Are you doing any PT like daily exercises for your lumbar region..Aqua therapy? Stretching/yoga...massage? Acunpuncture?

    Yes I am. Tuesday I saw a guy who hurt me worse. I'm really, really hoping that it's acute and not has not caused another condition. Far to early to tell, but prior to Tues., I was indeed doing PT type exercises for both Lumbar and Cervical.

    I use a 'bouncy' ball for the lumbar quite often. Core exercises, and stretches. I stretch my legs daily. In the evening, I do practice Yoga type exercises at home. I was at a plateau with my home stuff which prompted me to visit the injection doctor. He basically sent me to get hurt worse.

    I'm starting a new round of true PT this afternoon ( i think it will be my 7th round), I'm hoping they can fix me up and at least get me back to where I was. The foot numbness is scaring me. I've never had it last this long. Today at work both feet went numb. In 8 years of lumbar pain/issues, I've never had my right foot numb at all. Scary stuff, who knows what this Chiropractor did to me... PT has fixed up neuro issues in my neck before, I'm hoping they can with my low back as well. Hope they have new exercises I can do.

    I've read a little on the patches, not much. I may ask my PCP about them next appt. I'm going to see how the VG helps tonight or this weekend.
  • Yea....I've never been fond of seeing a Chiropractor....and am VERY lucky that my Orthopedic surgeon when this pain started years ago, never recommended me to do this as it could have paralyzed me or made it worse..

    It sounds like the PT they are doing is not effective and making things better....That's why I asked about aqua therapy and other things that would be very easy on the spine..

    And sorry that I don't know all your history...but when was the last MRI to see how things are going? Or have they said that surgery is not needed right now....(which would be great...but obviously then it takes time finding non surgical ways to manage)...

    Are you also on a nerve pain medication?

    Hopefully the appt. will go well...keep us posted..
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