Voltarol or Ibrofen gels?

I have recently been diagnosed with arthritis in my lower back, resulting in acute pain mainly in my thighs. Have anybody any views on the above products, or similar, which might alleviate the pain? Thanks in anticipation.


  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 677

    Hi @danny27  

    Welcome to the Versus arthritis forum. 

    You have been recently diagnosed, are suffering with pain in your thighs and would like some input from forum members as regards their experiences with pain relief. 

    If you haven’t already visited our website you may find the following link useful:

    I hope that you receive some useful feedback from forum members. 

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • danny27
    danny27 Member Posts: 6

    Thank you, Chris.

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    Pain management is such a personal thing, it depends on what is causing anyone’s pain, where it is, how advanced it is, and tolerance to pain. All I can say is try it and see how it goes. So long as you follow the instructions on the pack, you shouldn’t come to harm, and it might just help. If it doesn’t, at least you won’t have wasted too much money. Personally these gels didn’t work for me, as my hip was too far gone, but give it a go.

  • danny27
    danny27 Member Posts: 6

    Thank you.

  • Chliad
    Chliad Member Posts: 6

    Hi Danny,

    I am a new member too. I was interested that you have pain in your thigh. I have had an excruciating pain in my thigh. I was crying both in pain and frustration with the pain. I can only sit in a directors chair and be able to get up and move from it without being crippled. However, to cut a long story short I was on statins for cholesterol which really caused pain in my arms, leaving me unable to swim. My statins were reduced in strength and the pain left my arms after 3 months. As I had accepted the doctor's/physio's reason as deferred pain from my hip, I never thought it could be the statins too! Around December I was given stronger pain killers and ibuprofen gel. I also decided to stop taking statins altogether as an experiment and it has reduced my pain by an enormous amount. So, it appears the statins were adding to my misery. I am not advocating that you stop taking any medication but if you are on statins you should discuss it with your doctor. My Doctor said that it only happens to one in 100 people, so I had to introduce myself to her as person 100. Hope this helps

  • sunnyside2
    sunnyside2 Member Posts: 131
    edited 9. Jul 2021, 20:55

    I've tried both. for me the ibuprofen gel does nothing. The volterol (high strength) does knock the edge off it. I don't know whether I'd fork out another £10 for another tube as it wasn't exactly transformative but it dies reduce it a bit. Everyone is different, I also sometimes find a cold or heat pack handy and tenns machine from time to time- they all work slightly differently so its worth experimenting

  • Carolbee
    Carolbee Member Posts: 23

    I get my gel on prescription

    Living on the Kent coast and looking forward to a pain free future

  • TraceyS
    TraceyS Member Posts: 9

    Hi Danny

    I have used both gels. I have severe OA in right hip. Personally speaking I found no benefit using Ibuprofen gel. Voltarol some slight relief. It is a personal thing as someone else noted here so worth trying. Voltarol is available in two strengths and I would suggest getting the higher strength - (2.4% Diclofenac I think). And yes you can get it on prescription. I have read that these gels work less well on hip OA (so guessing could be relevant for thigh pain??) due to the deepness of the hip joint in the body. If you have lower back arthritis could this be referred pain? So perhaps worth applying on your back joints seeing if that helps the thighs.

  • Veemo
    Veemo Member Posts: 6

    Hi, I agree with TraceyS as I have the same problem (ie severe oe in my right hip). Neither gel was any help to me, but did provide some relief from the back pain I get because my posture has changed. I think they tend to be more help for muscular pain rather than arthritic. I do sometimes smother my hip in a Cold/Freeze type gel in the middle of the night when I don't know what to do for the pain. I think it could bring a bit of relief - but could be wishful thinking. It makes everything nice and mentholly anyway! Good luck with everything and hope you find some relief.

  • Whiskey26
    Whiskey26 Member Posts: 88

    I have OA in my right hip and possibly now my right knee (just waiting for x-ray results). I have found Ibuprofen gel works best for me. I get it on prescription, it's called Fenbid Forte gel. I find it better than a 'shop bought' gel, because it's a 10% gel, whereas any Ibuprofen gel bought over the counter, is only 5%. I was also told by my GP, that it can be used in conjunction with Ibuprofen painkillers, as it is absorbed through the skin and not the liver, so you aren't actually double dosing. Hope this helps?

  • Hi, I have been suffering with oe for over 12 months but it has been managable until now, over the past 2months the pain in my shoulder and arm has become unbearable, I have tried all the gels but doesn't help at all I am also taking statins (atorvastatin). The nights are the worst it is impossible to sleep the pain is unbearable, can anyone out there help any suggestions would be much appreciated. I stopped taking my statins 2 weeks ago and nothing has changed at all, Thank you in advance, Kind Regards, Chris e.

  • I have the ibuprofen gel on prescription, I’ve not found it particularly helpful & it dried my skin terribly but a friend swears by it for sciatic & lower back pain. The massaging in of any gel will give mild relief, in my humble opinion, but I use plant based balms such as dandelion & comfrey, ginger & wintergreen, that sort of hippy nonsense, which I make myself.

  • HipopGina
    HipopGina Member Posts: 5

    Just a ward of caution about ibuprofen and gel form in particular if you have a cat - be extra careful that the cat doesn’t come into contact with it. It’s toxic for cats.

    I had piroxicam gel on prescription after a bad fall and found that worked for a severe lower back pain. I believe that is sometimes used for arthritis as well, but I didn’t think to try it on my hip joint at the time. At that stage though (the fall happened shortly before my long awaited thr surgery) I’m not sure anything you can apply in a tube could have made any difference to that!

    Piroxicam is not toxic to cats and is used in vetinerary medicines.

  • I have used both Ibuprofen and Voltarol previously.

    I prefer Voltarol but haven’t used it on a deep joint like the thigh or hip. It helps with the pain in my hands, forearms and shoulders but we are all so different!!

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755

    Hi @Cerijprice welcome to the Online Community, lovely to have you here.

    Managing pain can be really difficult - as someone with permanent back pain which then spreads everywhere by morning time, I go in for a set of informal stretching exercises to "unstick" everything. 😃

    Readers may also find our general page on Pain Management useful as it covers a range of methods if the creams don't work:

    Do join in across the Community, ask questions and give support - you will be most welcome.

    Best wishes


  • Hi there. I suffer severe back pain. I have a few problems going on. I have tried virtually everything. I have tried both over the counter products, my doctor even prescribed another gel that was stronger, it didn’t work with me. My pain relief only takes the edge off. There is one thing that does help I find is a remote controlled tens machine (no cables) and only if it is on continuously but the pain comes back when I take it off. A decent back belt may help you. You could also try CBD that might help also. I would advise against over the counter products you will be wasting your money. Hope this helps you.

  • Enaj
    Enaj Member Posts: 3

    I have psoriatic arthritis and have found Boots own over the counter 10% ibuprofen gel helpful on smaller joints - fingers and knuckles in particular, but not on bigger joints. I suspect this is because these joints are nearer the surface. However we are all different and it’s worth a try.

    Good luck

  • anneb82
    anneb82 Member Posts: 317

    Hello @Enaj

    Welcome to the online community and thank you for posting on this discussion.

    I see that you have psoriatic arthritis and use the ibuprofen gel on your smaller joints. Please feel free to join in and if you're comfortable, than please feel free to share more about yourself on here. We are a friendly bunch and are always looking to make new friends. I hope that you will find that this is a safe space to share your journey with us.

    Above I've posted a link to a popular topic on our main website for you to have a look at at some point. You may find it useful to look back at a later date.

    Once again, please feel free to share a little more about yourself when youre ready and thank you for joining our community.

    Take care

    Anne (Moderator)

  • Enaj
    Enaj Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for your friendly response Anne

    does anyone know if people on Imraldi injections are likely to gain as much immunity from Covid vaccines as other mortals, given that the meds reduce our immunity to help with the psoriatic arthritis?


  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755

    Hi @Enaj. Do take a look at our information on COVID-19 on our website for loads of detailed information:

    All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK are safe for people with arthritis and people taking drugs that suppress the immune system, even if your condition is active.

    There's a helpful page of FAQs around COVID-19 and vaccinations that you might find useful: