Having arthritis is a painful affliction. It is caused by numerous different reasons: poor diet, a predisposed disease, or any other number of reasons. Though this may be the case, there are many choices for relief in the market. There are several ones that are prescribed for the more severe cases, and those that are just over the counter, and indeed the over the counter variants can be used for any number of pains. As there are many variants in the market, we are there to try and narrow down your choices for you. We are going to just keep this list and discussion to the over the counter variants, as we realize that with prescribed brands the recommendation should really come from your doctor.
What makes these work?
With over the counter variants, most topical pain relievers or creams specifically for arthritis pain fall into a few categories, and / or have one or more of these as their ingredients:
- Counterirritants – Simply put, these ointments or creams help “distract” your brain functions from realizing and focusing on the pain.
- Salicylates – this helps control the inflammation which could also be the cause of the pain. This is what also helps you when you have a fever and helps with excessive clotting.
- Capsaicin products – This is actually found in chilis, and these help with blocking pain signals to your brain. It seems counter productive especially if you know that this is what actually signals your brain that something is spicy or hot!
- Lidocaine products – these basically work as almost or as a local anesthetic. These block receptors in your nerves so as to not feel the pain or any discomfort brought upon from sunburns to arthritis.
Maybe you are wondering, arthritis is caused by JOINT pain, right? So how do topical creams help this if the pain is on the inside? Well most of these products are formulated to be able to be absorbed by your skin. In the matter of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDS, these are formulated to be able to be absorbed through your skin into your blood stream.
One of the reasons why arthritis creams and topical pain relievers are usually preferred by people is because upon application, it just takes care of one area of the body, and it is a good alternative to oral medications. This is good for people who are over the age of 65, have arthritis in smaller joints, have a sensitive stomach or stomach conditions, and have cardiovascular risks. It’s a concentrated part only and thus makes it effective.
Bengay pain relieving cream
Bengay Cream is known to help with bone and muscle pain and contains salicylates, camphor, and menthol. Bengay reduces inflammation and relieves through its cooling and warming effects. Also it is nice and greaseless so it feels comforting on the skin.
Icy Hot vanishing gel
Icy Hot contains menthol and salicylates. It provides an initial cooling sensation followed by heat. Icy Hot is a vanishing gel, so the scent disappears quickly. It may be a good choice if you don’t like the smell of menthol.
Aspercreme odor-free topical analgesic cream
People who don’t like the smell of arthritis creams may prefer odor-free Aspercreme. It contains salicylates, but no counterirritants. It may also be a good choice if your skin is sensitive to counter irritant ingredients.
Capzasin-HP arthritis cream
The active ingredient in Capzasin-HP arthritis cream is capsaicin. Its warming sensation is much milder than the one you feel when you eat peppers. Still, you should stop using this cream if you find that the capsaicin irritates your skin.
Sportscreme deep penetrating pain relieving rub
The active ingredient in Sportscreme is salicylate. This scented cream has a thicker consistency than most, so it takes a little more rubbing to massage it into the skin.
Whichever brand you pick for your own use, you should always ask your pharmacist or doctor to ensure this would work best for you. This is essential especially if you are taking other medications that may have an adverse effect if mixed with a topical cream. Though it is topical, please know as we have aforementioned that there are some that can get into your bloodstream. This may be a concern if you are taking something else for your ailments and if you are taking them orally. We strongly advise you to please see your physician before using one, if that is the case. Either way, we hope you find relief and that this may help the pain go away.
- Carey, Elea. “A Guide to the Best Pain Relief Creams for Arthritis”, Medically reviewed by Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD on September 30, 2016, https://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis/creams
- Huizen, Jennifer, “What to Know about Creams for Arthritis”, Medically reviewed by Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBA on January 30, 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-arthritis-cream
- “Arthritis pain: Treatments absorbed through your skin”, By Mayo Clinic Staff, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/in-depth/pain-medications/art-20045899
- Evans, Julie, “The 8 Best Arthritis Creams of 2020”,Medically reviewed by Richard Fogoros, MD, Updated on October 18, 2019; https://www.verywellfit.com/best-arthritis-creams-4174830