Voltaren vs Fisiocrem vs PreMax: Which is the best at relieving your pain?
No one enjoys restricted movement, numbness, aches, joint and muscle pain. Everyone knows that when you’re sore you’re not your best self. If it’s on the court, or at your desk, we want you to be feeling good.
Managing mild to severe pain and injuries is our Physiotherapists’ specialty. Through manual therapy combined with short and long term exercise management plans we can get you back to your best. But sometimes we like to have some extra help to relieve your pain.
This week in our professional development meeting, our team discussed the differences, purposes and contraindications for the most commonly used creams for injuries; Fisiocrem, Voltaren & Premax. Whilst our team always confidently selects the right cream for you, it is always great to build on the knowledge we already have and discuss and learn how the therapists in our team love to use these products.
We often have clients come in wondering which cream that we stock will be best for them. Or, in their appointments they are curious about how what we are using for their injury works and why we have selected it for them. If this has been you before, or you’ve always wondered yourself, keep reading…
There are many joint and muscle pain relief creams available throughout Australia that work wonderfully. The creams, as the name suggests, are topical ointments and provide their benefits when applied directly to the skin, providing localized and rapid pain relief. They are most effective on joints and muscles that sit closely to the surface of the skin, i.e. knees, elbows, or ankles.
Physiotherapist’s most commonly used creams when treating a patient’s pain or injury are Fisiocrem and Voltaren. Whilst Voltaren is a household name, Fisiocrem is a very useful tool and has been endorsed by many running and triathlon groups around Australia (and many more!). The way we use the two is the same:
- Use approx. 1 teaspoon
- Apply to the affected area
- Apply evenly and massage the cream into the affected area
- Apply 1-3 times per day for optimal results
But we often hear the question, ‘which is better for pain relief?’. Well the truth is when and why we use them is very different!
Voltaren: When & why
Any person in Australia who has experienced joint aches and pains has no doubt heard of Voltaren. Voltaren is an effective pain relieving and anti-inflammatory topical ointment that is non-steroidal (NSAID). Voltaren can also be bought in oral form, but is highly effective for joint pain when applied directly to the skin on the affected area. When used topically, the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory action is more localized and focused on your particular ailment.
Voltaren is a medicated product that does not require a prescription, oral or topical. The active ingredient (diclofenac) penetrates the skin when thoroughly massaged into the affected area to provide relief for pain and inflammation. Diclofenac works by inhibiting the body’s production of pain inducing chemicals when you are experiencing tenderness and swelling. Working differently than heating and cooling creams, the active ingredient, diclofenac, moves deeply into the affected area to provide its benefits at the source of the pain or injury. Though, on the skin Voltaren does provide a minimal cooling effect for a comforting and soothing effect.
Our Physiotherapists most commonly reach for Voltaren for the following presentations:
- Soft-tissue injuries: trauma of the tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints, sprains, strains, bruises and backache.
- Localised forms of soft tissue rheumatism including tendonitis and bursitis.
- Inflammation and swelling
What do I need to be aware of when using Voltaren?
Voltaren is advertised as having minimal odor, however some patients have mentioned a stronger odor. Any persons with sensitivities to fragrance or even asthma should be aware of the fragrance of Voltaren and apply cautiously (if determined it is safe for you by your healthcare provider). Generally speaking, this product’s fragrance is mild and safe for skin.
If you generally have skin sensitivities and are worried about potential irritation, please test this product on a small area of skin before applying it to a large area. Please take special care before using this product and consult your health care professional prior to purchasing.
Voltaren recommends that you do not use the topical gel for more than 2 weeks at a time, and a maximum of 4 times per day. Further, you should not apply Voltaren to children under 12 years, if you are pregnant, if you are allergic to diclofenac, aspirin, any other anti-inflammatory medicines or pain relievers and to not use it in conjunction with other medicines that you are taking regularly.
Your Physiotherapist will always ask you a number of questions to determine whether Voltaren is safe for you as a patient. For example, we may not apply or recommend Voltaren if you have high blood pressure if we do not think that it is safe to do so. We will also ask if you have any allergies, if you have taken or are taking oral anti-inflammatories or already using another anti-inflammatory cream. We want to make sure that your pain is relieved after our appointments with you, however we always do it whilst ensuring you are safe. Generally, Voltaren is a safe and effective option when you’re looking for temporary pain and inflammatory relief. If it is safe for you, we may use it in our sessions to assist with manual therapy, inflammation and pain relief.
Please keep in mind that Voltaren is only an aid to your recovery and cannot fix you on its own! For more serious aches, pains and injuries that persist or worsen, contact your Physiotherapist.
If we think that you could benefit from the use of Voltaren outside of the clinic, we have 20g tubes for sale in our Mile End and Salisbury clinics. Ask us about taking home some Voltaren at your next appointment!
Fisiocrem: When & why
Fisiocrem is an effective pain relieving topical ointment and has been Australian athletes’ favourite cream for a little while now, and this comes as no surprise to our team. Because Fisiocrem is marketed as a tool for athletes’ pain it has been formulated to be a strong and rapid pain reliever. But let’s be honest, absolutely everyone experiences aches and pains.
Fisiocrem solugel, the most common Fisiocrem, can be applied generously. It contains natural active herb compounds which can help relieve excessive acute pain when applied topically – most effective when thoroughly massaged into the affected area. The main ingredients are; Menthol, Arnica, Hypericum, Calendula and Melaleuca.
We use Fisiocrem for a plethora of presentations, however, the most common presentation we use them for are:
- Symptoms of muscle soreness & localized muscle pain
- Pain associated with minor injuries
- Mild muscle inflammation/swelling
- Symptoms of mild soft tissue trauma
- Bruise oedema and bruise symptoms
- Post exercise recovery
- Muscles sprains and strains
- Mild muscle spasm
Fisiocrem is best to use when a patient is needing temporary pain relief, as the ingredients act together to provide a comfortable cooling sensation whilst working to support the healing of your muscles and joints and aid your recovery. Because the formula provides some pain relief, it also enables a faster recovery for minor injuries, or if you’ve just overdone it in the gym.
Whilst Fisiocrem is not an anti-inflammatory cream, the Melaleuca and Arnica in the formula does have some anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve mild inflammation and swelling.
We want you to keep in mind that Fisiocrem and other topical pain relievers are temporary solutions and will not keep your pain at bay forever. Furthermore, they are only aids to your recovery and cannot fix you on its own! For more serious aches, pains and injuries that persist or worsen, contact your Physiotherapist.
What do I need to be aware of when using Fisiocrem?
If you have sensitive skin and are worried about potential irritation, please test this product on a small area of skin before applying it to a large area. If you typically have sensitive skin, please take special care before using this product and alert your health care professional. It’s also not recommended for Fisiocrem Solugel to be applied on burned skin or skin with open wounds.
Because Fisiocrem consists of mostly natural products, there are no real contraindications. However, please consult your healthcare professional before using if you are pregnant. As Fisiocrem includes Menthol which has a strong peppermint fragrance, if you are sensitive to this, mention this to your healthcare professional and keep in mind when applying.
Fisiocrem is a safe and effective option when you’re looking for temporary pain relief. Our Physiotherapists will always ask you the relevant questions to determine if Fisiocrem is right for you! If it is, we may use it in our sessions to assist with manual therapy and pain relief.
If we think that you could benefit from the use of Fisiocrem outside of the clinic, we have 60g tubes for sale in our Mile End and Salisbury clinics. Ask us about taking home some Fisiocrem at your next appointment!
PreMax: When & why
PreMax is another topical cream that our therapists use – primarily to assist with manual therapy and massage. PreMax is formulated with skin nourishing ingredients that also give therapists maximum tactility, resistance, control and longevity. It is a firm massage cream with a tougher resistance that allows for a deeper massage technique to really get into the muscles. As a highly popular and recommended product among Australian sports industries and allied health professionals, we love this product and have it in each of our rooms to optimize our therapeutic techniques. It is also ideal for clients that want to use massage techniques on their injuries and ailments outside of the clinic.
PreMax is a gentler formulation than Fisiocrem, so if a milder product is better suited to your injury or ailment, PreMax is the better option for you! Because of the firm formula, less is also required when using it for massage and manual therapy.
Whilst we use PreMax mostly for general massage, it is also ideal for neuropathic pain presentations, and can help to relieve:
- Neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Spinal cord injury
- Post-herpetic neuralgia
- Adjunctive therapy for adult patients with partial onset seizures
- Management of fibromyalgia
However, it is important to remember that any relief found by using PreMax is temporary and will not work to ‘fix’ a presenting problem. PreMax is only an aid to your therapy and recovery and cannot fix you on its own! For more serious aches, pains and injuries that persist or worsen, contact your Physiotherapist.
What do I need to be aware of when using PreMax?
As a cream used for general massage and not necessarily for a direct therapeutic benefit, PreMax is safe to use for the general population. If you have sensitive skin and are worried about potential irritation, please test this product on a small area of skin before applying it to a large area. If you typically have sensitive skin, please take special care before using this product and alert your health care professional. PreMax also has Lavender as a primary ingredient which some patients may be allergic to, if this is you please alert your healthcare provider and use an alternative cream.
PreMax also has peppermint, a soothing ingredient that has a strong fragrance. If you are sensitive to strong fragrances, or peppermint fragrance in general, mention this to your healthcare professional and keep in mind when applying.
If you would like to practice some massage or manual therapy techniques at home to assist your recovery, or if we recommend using PreMax outside of the clinic, we have 90g tubs for sale in our Mile End and Salisbury clinics. Ask us about taking home some PreMax at your next appointment!
For more information on the above pain relief creams, head to their websites:
If you have pain or an injury and are needing a Physiotherapist and or therapy aid, give us a call on 8352 3582 to book your initial consultation. Or, book online via the button below! We can’t wait to see you and chat about all things pain relief.