Best Pain Relieving Creams for Arthritis
Arthritis and Pain Relief
The swollen joints of arthritis cause significant pain and limit the ability to move. If you have arthritis, you want to have as many pain relief options as possible.
Exercise relieves pain by stretching and relaxing sore muscles. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce swelling.
But you can only exercise so much, and you shouldn’t take more pain relievers than necessary. There are many arthritis creams that can help when applied to a painful area.
Click through to see how the creams work and which ones are best for you.
How Creams Work
Arthritis creams are effective, but they only provide temporary pain relief. The main types of arthritis pain relief creams are:
According to a review published in the journal BMJ, creams containing salicylates have been shown to work moderately well in treating arthritis pain. Some brands of salicylate ointment contain other ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus oil, and cinnamon oil. These are counterirritants, which warm the skin and distract the brain from pain.
Capsaicin, an element found in hot chili peppers, reduces pain by blocking the skin’s pain receptors.
Always follow package directions when applying an arthritis cream. Cover the affected area, but don’t wrap it tightly. Wash your hands before and after application, and never touch your eyes or mucus membranes when you have arthritis cream on your hands.
Most arthritis creams suggest limiting use to four times a day. Stop using the cream if it causes any irritation. Ask your doctor if you should avoid salicylates if you’re sensitive or allergic to aspirin, or if you take prescription blood thinners.
Bengay for Pain
generations. It contains salicylates, camphor, and menthol. Salicylate penetrates the affected area, while the latter two ingredients bring on a cooling sensation followed by warming. Bengay is available in a variety of strengths.
Bengay Arthritis Cream has relieved muscle and bone pain effectively for
Icy Hot Vanishing Gel
The name says it all. Icy Hot provides an initial cooling sensation followed by a deeper, comforting feeling of heat. Icy Hot contains menthol and salicylates. It’s recommended for occasional pain relief. Icy Hot’s Vanishing Gel is ideal if you don’t like the minty smell of menthol on your skin.
Aspercreme Odor Free Topical Analgesic Gel
Aspercreme is right for you if you don’t like the smell of some arthritis creams. It works by sending salicylates through your skin to the source of the pain. It doesn’t contain counterirritants that cause cooling or warming sensations, so it’s a good choice if your skin is sensitive to those ingredients.
Myoflex Odorless Pain Relieving Cream
Myoflex is a great pain relief option if you have arthritis and you don’t like the greasy feel of many creams. It’s an odorless gel containing salicylates that quickly absorbs into your skin. It provides pain relief without an unpleasant scent or lotion feel.
Capzasin-HP Arthritis Cream
The active ingredient in Capzasin HP Arthritis is capsaicin, an element of those hot chili peppers you either love to eat or can’t tolerate. People who enjoy eating peppers report a feeling of mild euphoria. That’s because capsaicin blocks pain receptors.
The burning sensation in Capzasin HP Arthritis is much milder than the one you feel when you eat peppers. Stop using it if you find it irritates your skin.
Sportscreme Deep Penetrating Pain Relieving Rub
Sportscreme has a fresh, clean scent and effectively delivers pain relief to aching joints and muscles. The active ingredient is salicylates. This cream has a thicker consistency than most. That means it takes a little more rubbing to apply it, which aids pain relief like a mini-massage.
With so many arthritis pain relief creams on the market, it can be difficult to know which is right for you. If you’re sensitive to aspirin, ask your doctor before using creams containing salicylates.
If you notice skin sensitivity while using any cream containing the heat-and-cold ingredients of capsaicin or menthol, discontinue use.
And finally, if you don’t want to smell like you’re using an arthritis pain relief cream, you might consider unscented options. Continue experimenting until you’ve found the pain relief cream that’s right for you.
- Capsaicin cream. (n.d.). National Health Service. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from http://www.wwl.nhs.uk/Library/All_New_PI_Docs/Audio_Leaflets/Pain/Capsaicin_Cream/FT2_capsaicin_cream_hc.html
- Arthritis pain: Treatments absorbed through your skin. (2013, August 1). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pain-medications/PN00041
- Mason, L., Moore, RA, Edwards, JE, McQuay, HJ, Derry S., Wiffin, PJ. (2004). Systematic review of efficacy of topical rubefacients containing salicylates for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. BMJ, 328 (7446): 995. Retrieved December 18, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15033879