One challenge people have with chronic pain conditions like TMJ is finding an effective treatment. If you go to a doctor or pain specialist, they might prescribe you one of many different medications or therapies. One increasingly popular treatment option is compounded pain creams.

However, despite their growing popularity, a new study suggests that these creams don’t work for either nerve pain or pain caused by joints, muscles, and other stimuli.

Pain Relief cream coming out of a silver tube. Is it really effective?

Dramatically Increasing Costs

The cost of pain creams has grown dramatically in recent years. For example, Medicare spending on these creams, gels, and ointments rose from $13 million in 2010 to $323 million in 2016, an almost 2400% increase! The increase was fueled both by price hikes and an increasing number of prescriptions.

As far as the price of these compounds goes, they seem to be dramatically inflated, with a tube of lidocaine compound costing an average of $751, compared to a tube of non-compounded lidocaine cost only about $455. Diclofenac had an even greater disparity. The compounded form cost over $1500, while the non-compounded form cost only $128 a tube.

The costs seem to be ripe for corrupt practices. According to a recent report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, over 500 pharmacies had suspiciously high bills for these treatments.

But perhaps it doesn’t matter because those payments actually represent relief for chronic pain sufferers. Not so, according a new study of these topical skin creams.

No Better Than Placebo

For this study, researchers recruited nearly 400 patients with different types of pain. Patients were assigned randomly to one of three groups, either getting the compounded cream or placebo. They were then treated for a month, and at the end of the month, they were evaluated.

Researchers found that people getting the compounded treatments didn’t get better results than those receiving placebo. Although there were small reduction in pain, they were not statistically significant, nor was the number of people who felt they got a positive result from their treatment.

For $1500 a tube, you would like to believe that these pain treatments could beat a placebo.

Effective Pain Treatments

Don’t waste money on these expensive compounded creams. Instead, we can help with chronic muscle pain related to TMJ. Muscle pain is the most common type of discomfort associated with TMJ. This can be related to several causes, but often it comes from the fact that your jaw can’t ever find a good rest position.

Utilizing complex tools to measure the tension in your muscles and track the movement of your jaw, we can help find that ideal rest position and design an oral appliance to help put your jaw in that position. Then you can experience relief not just from jaw or face pain, but also from headaches and other TMJ symptoms.

To learn whether TMJ treatment can address your pain in Columbus, OH, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry.