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Best Pain Relief Creams For Arthritis

Posted on June 04 2018

Arthritis causes swollen joints, which are quite painful and also limit your ability to move. People with arthritis often look out for some of the other remedies to relieve pain. Some of you may have even opted for exercises and several oral over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, which include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Another good option is to try out OTC topical creams to help relieve arthritis pain.

Best Pain Relief Creams For Arthritis

In this articles, we’ll discuss some of these products and you can decide yourself which one is best for you.

How arthritis creams work

Before jumping straight to the names, let’s find out how arthritis creams work. These creams are known to prove short-term but effective relief and work best on the joints that are close to the surface of the skin, such as joints in knees or hands.


  • The major pain-relieving ingredients found in arthritis creams are salicylates, capsaicin, and counterirritants.
  • Salicylates are known to reduce inflammation and irritation while decreasing pressure and pain in the joints. Some brands of salicylate products also include some natural ingredients like eucalyptus oil, menthol, cinnamon oil, etc. These natural substances are called counterirritants, which help in cooling or warming the skin to distract the brain from the pain.
  • Capsaicin is a natural, odor-free element which is found in hot chili peppers. This also helps in reducing pain by blocking the skin’s pain receptors and stopping pain signals from reaching your brain.

List of OTC arthritis creams

Here are some common arthritis creams found in drugstores near you:

  • Bengay pain relieving cream:

Bengay arthritis cream can relieve muscle and bone pain by reducing inflammation and providing cooling and warming effects. This arthritis cream contains camphor, salicylates, and menthol.

  • Icy Hot vanishing gel:

It contains menthol and salicylates to provide an initial cooling sensation that’s further followed by heat. It is a vanishing gel, so the scent disappears quickly unlike the smell of menthol-containing creams. 

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  • Aspercreme odor-free topical analgesic cream:

Another odor-free arthritis cream is the Aspercreme. This one contains salicylates, but no counterirritants. It is a good product for people with sensitive skin to counterirritant ingredients.

  • Capzasin-HP arthritis cream

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in Capzasin-HP arthritis cream and it gives warming sensation to the joints. The sensation is milder than the one you feel while eating peppers. You’re recommended not to stop using this cream even if its active ingredient irritates your skin.

  • Myoflex odorless pain relieving cream:

It quickly absorbs in your skin without a typical lotion-like feel and is a good pain relieving solution if you don’t like the greasy feel of medicated creams.

  • Sportscreme deep penetrating pain relieving rub:

It contains salicylate as the active ingredient. This is a scented cream with a thicker consistency than most, so it takes a little more rubbing to massage it into the skin.

Steps to ensure safety:

  • While arthritis creams are OTC products, you still need to apply them properly as per the given instructions on the leaflet. You need to follow the given steps to ensure safe and effective use of your arthritis cream -
  • Do follow the directions given on the package when applying an arthritis cream.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying the cream. Avoid touching your eyes or mucous membranes when arthritis cream is on your hands.
  • Stop using the cream in case it causes any irritation or your skin is sensitive to the product.
  • If you’re sensitive or allergic to aspirin, ask your doctor to prescribe some salicylate-free medicament.
  • Use salicylate creams occasionally to avoid side effects, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

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