How Do Anti-Inflammatory Gels Work?

Inflammatory problems are one of the most common ones seen in humans. Inflammation problems are diverse as they can be both internal and external. Internal body problems could occur when the immune system considers its own cells as harmful and creates antibodies to attack them. On the other hand, external body inflammation occurs mostly in the case of an injury or illness which leads to pain, redness, swelling, heat, and even loss of function. However, in most cases, they can be treated easily with the help of a few inflammatory gels and creams. 

What are Anti-Inflammatory Gels?

Simply put, Anti-Inflammatory gels are those gels that can be used to treat any kind of acute inflammation. For example, inflammation may occur in the neck and head area causing pain. For this kind of inflammation, NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, and similar other anti-inflammatory gels can be used for treatment. Some anti-inflammatory gels and creams require a prescription as they are steroid-based while others are NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) which means you can get them without a proper prescription as well. 

They can help in reducing any stiffness in various parts of the body. The gels are used for oral application which is why they cannot be applied to sensitive parts of the body nor be consumed in any way. 

Anti-inflammatory gels help in the treatment of multiple problems. 

About Acute Inflammation

Before we move on to how anti-inflammatory gels work, let’s evaluate acute inflammation because this is the sole reason why we use anti-inflammatory creams. 

Acute Inflammation is a short-term inflammation caused mainly when the skin has been in contact with any other object. For example, a road accident, sports injury, falling down, scratching with a sharp object, and other such incidents could lead to acute inflammation. The body gets inflamed because of this contact. Furthermore, an infection may cause inflammation as well. Most cases of acute inflammation can be treated easily with the help of tablets, injections, or oral anti-inflammatory gels all three of which have their own benefits and side effects. 

Acute Inflammation begins when the body senses external damage such as an injury. As a result of this, the immune system triggers a series of actions that could cause inflammation. We see swelling as a common form of inflammation because tissues accumulate plasma proteins which lead to a build-up of various fluids. Further, neutrophils are produced by the body which fights against the infectious elements that could lead to pain and sometimes heating of the affected body part as well. 

Various oils also have anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing pain and swelling. 

One should keep in mind that acute inflammation could occur right away or sometimes it takes even hours to appear. Many people who play sports and get injured do not feel any pain immediately even if they have a big injury rather it happens when they are at rest. It should also be kept in mind that inflammation is sometimes asymptomatic and you won’t feel any obvious symptoms other than the feeling of being tired, drowsy, or having a minor fever. 

Infectious problems such as ingrown nails, sore throat, physical trauma, and bronchitis are also responsible for creating an acute inflammation within the body. It is always advised to consult with your doctor before going for any medication that is not 

How Do Anti-Inflammatory Gels and Creams Work?

There are different types of anti-inflammatory gels as mentioned above. The steroid-based ones have a different mechanism of working while NSAIDs work differently. NSAIDs simply block an enzyme named Cyclooxygenase which is used by the body to make various kinds of Prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are one of the most important reasons why a person may experience high levels of inflammation as well as associated pain. As a result, if someone is facing fever, using NSAID will help in quick comfort and lowering of fever as well.

Anti-inflammatory gels and creams work perfectly for the treatment of various kinds of acute inflammation problems. Many people get sprains, muscular pulling, injuries, scratches, and strains in the body. In such cases, creams like Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel, Bengay Pain Removal Cream, Inavx, Capsinac, Wintogeno, and others could be used to treat yourself with excruciating pain and high levels of discomfort as well. 

Ointments also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

How Much Time Do Anti-Inflammatory Gels Require?

An important question many people ask is how much time would an anti-inflammatory gel or cream take to be treated. In minor problems such as a sprain or small injuries, anti-inflammatory gels do their work in 24 to 48 hours. In bigger problems such as Arthritis pain or muscular pain, there can be more time required as well. 

For injuries such as major bruises, the anti-inflammatory gel may even require a week or more for the complete heal-up of the affected area. However, you should also keep in mind that anti-inflammatory medication works for everyone at a different pace because some people have a strong immune system that triggers an immediate reaction while others have a weak immune system that may require higher doses or stronger medication to begin work.

Here is a list of best inflammatory creams you can buy – 5 Best Anti-Inflammatory Creams Over The Counter 

Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Anti-inflammatory Gels and Creams

To further investigate how much time do anti-inflammatory gels and creams require for producing valuable results, let’s evaluate the few factors which influence the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory gels and creams. 


The most important element that decides how quickly a medication will show its effect would be concentration. Medications like gels cannot be used with a 100% concentration because it causes a burning sensation and could lead to further pain as well. Therefore, the concentration is modified using lighter gels having limited chemical composition. As a general rule, an anti-inflammatory cream that has a stronger concentration is going to work faster and better as compared to the one which does not have high medication content. 


The formula is equally important as is the concentration. If the concentration of medicine is strong but the formula is weak, the chances of triggering the immune system with a small amount of cream are going to be very low. On the other hand, a stronger formula with proven results would provide better relief in a much shorter time. 

Having the right formula is important to overcome inflammation.Immune System Response

If all other factors are positive and indicate that a particular gel or cream will provide quick relief but still does not, it would simply indicate that your body’s immune system is a bit slow to respond to the medication. In worst cases, it would not recognize that any form of medication is being used. In such cases, the use of gels and creams is stopped and doctors shift you to tablets or even injection-based medication. 

Tablets are not advised as the first course of action for inflammation. 

Blood Flow

Blood flow also impacts whether an anti-inflammatory gel or cream will be effective or not. Since this is a gel-based medication, a higher blood flow rate is generally helpful in giving quick relief to the pain. On the other hand, people who have a lower blood flow rate or those that are feeling drowsy might have to apply more cream or wait longer before the medication starts its anti-inflammatory action. 

Wrapping the Injury

Anti-inflammatory creams would work better if you apply the cream and then cover the injury with some cloth. Use a soft cloth but wrap it tightly around the injured part after the application of the cream for the best results. In case you don’t do this, the cream would still work but quick action is not guaranteed. Wrapping is helpful because the gel would not evaporate rather it would stay in contact with the affected area for a longer time resulting in better action. 


Lastly, massaging along with the application of an anti-inflammatory cream or gel would also be quite helpful in pain relief. This is also helpful because massaging increases the blood flow thereby resulting in a better relief towards your pain. Massaging also helps in easing out the muscular problem. Research has also proven that anti-inflammatory gels and creams are much more beneficial when they are massaged onto the affected area rather than a simple application. 

Wrapping the injury and massage is helpful to overcome inflammatory pain. 

Suggested Reading – Top 6 Best Gout Pain Relief Tablets


Anti-inflammatory gels and creams are quite helpful for treating all kinds of acute inflammation. In case you face chronic inflammation, the treatment would be quite different and gels would not be recommended. Keep in mind the above-mentioned points in order to maximize the effectiveness of the anti-inflammatory gels.