Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are such effective pain killers that ibuprofen gel was originally only available on prescription. They are now widely available for self purchase and much better for your health than taking the same non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers by mouth. NSAID pain relieving gels do not cause the same level of side effects as the oral versions, such as indigestion and heartburn. You do need to follow the in-pack instructions, however, and take care not to apply too much. In some cases, overuse of ibuprofen gel can increase your blood pressure.
China, Korea and Japan grow a vine known as Thunder God, which is one of the powerful natural relievers of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis. It has properties that regulate the immune system and naturally reduce inflammation, thus being good for autoimmune diseases. One clinical trial carried out at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered that roughly 80 percent of those patients who were given a high dose of the plant supplement found that their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms got better considerably making it well worth a try for those looking for natural remedies for inflammation and pain.
Funny how things like this slip through the cracks. I communicate with patients and professionals locally and abroad more or less all day every day, study and research musculoskeletal pain problems obsessively, and am more or less constantly immersed in answering the question, “What can you do for body parts that hurt?” And yet I didn’t hear about this stuff for a good year after it had already hit the shelves.
Think of Voltaren® Gel as “ibuprofen in a gel.” (It’s actually diclofenac, but ibuprofen is a much more familiar drug name in North America, where the product is still fairly new, and available only with a prescription in the US.) It’s a topical anti-inflammatory medication,NSAID“Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug,” usually pronounced “en-sed.” and FDA-approved to treat osteoarthritis in “joints amenable to topical treatment, such as the knees and those of the hands.” The evidence shows that it “provides clinically meaningful analgesia.”1 This is an appealing treatment idea that actually works reasonably well: what a pleasure to be able to say that!2
Not as popular as many other essential oils, arnica oil belongs in every medicine cabinet. Considered generally safe for topical use, arnica oil used on the skin helps ease inflammatory pain associated with insect bites, bruises and even arthritis flare-ups. (5, 6) To treat bruises, applying arnica oil twice daily (as long as the skin is not broken) helps reduce bruising inflammation even better than low-concentration vitamin K formulations. (3)
If you find yourself snacking at night before bed, it may be because you're bored or anxious — not truly hungry — and eating makes you feel better. Try eating a healthy dinner a bit later in the evening. If your stomach is truly growling before bed, try a protein-based snack like a hard-boiled egg or a slice of cheese. A few spoonfuls of yogurt or some fruit is another good option. 
I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.
Pain relief products that provide a cooling sensation can help distract the body from pain signals to ease comfort. One to try is Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, which is used by chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists and athletic trainers to relieve muscle and joint pain. The formula contains 4 percent menthol—which is responsible for the cooling sensation—as well as an herbal blend of camphor, aloe, arnica, calendula, and more. The cream is NSAID-free and doesn’t contain parabens or propylene glycol.
Patient information articles published in both the Journal of North American Spine Society and the Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence that spinal manipulations were safe, effective, drugless forms of professional treatment for both acute (short-term or sudden) and chronic low back problems in adults. (2, 3) Egoscue, another type of postural therapy protocol that focuses on fixing musculoskeletal misalignments, may also be able to help reduce and prevent back pain.
Glutathione is a natural protein found within every cell in the body and consists of the amino acids Glutamic acid, L-cysteine, L-glycine. It is produced by the liver and is also found in fruit, vegetables and meats like mutton, lamb and beef. It is the most powerful antioxidant in the body and helps protect cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress, thereby improving cellular health and strengthening the immune system. As such, in addition to a host of other diseases, L-glutathione is useful in the natural treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Acetylsalicylic acid works by irreversibly disabling the COX enzymes to block the cascade [Figure 1]. NSAIDs have evolved from blocking both COX-1 and COX-2 to selectively only blocking COX-2 in order to inhibit the inflammatory response and reduce the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes. The major push to develop the selective COX-2 inhibitors has been the recognition of significant complications associated with the nonselective COX-1 and COX-2 NSAIDs. Nonselective NSAIDs’ major side effects include significant gastrointestinal upset, gastritis, ulceration, hemorrhage, and even death. By locking COX-1, which also normally acts to protect the gastrointestinal mucosa, nonselective NSAIDs and aspirin can cause significant gastric tissue damage.[34,51,78,91,3,101,115]
How old is your bed? You may be surprised to learn that the average life span of a mattress is less than 10 years. "There's no hard-and-fast rule," says Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University, "but if your mattress is sagging significantly or is more than 6 to 8 years old, I'd think about getting a new one. Something else to consider: a firm mattress may not do your back any favors, says Carmen R. Green, a physician at the University of Michigan Back & Pain Center. A number of studies over the years suggest that people with lower back pain who sleep on medium-firm mattresses do better than those with firm beds.

Gentle stretches, walking, and periodically standing up at your desk can help stabilize your spine and prevent muscle imbalances. And despite how hard it is to imagine doing Downward-Facing Dog with a bad back, yoga can work in your favor, too. A 2013 review of studies found strong evidence it can help beat lower back pain. Any type works; one to consider is the restorative viniyoga style.


Learning to keep your cool is as good for your back as it is for your mental health. When you're anxious, your body sets off the "fight or flight" response, which involves tensing your muscles so you're ready to spring into action. One European study revealed that people prone to negative thoughts and anxiety are more likely to suffer from back pain. Get calm now with these stress-busting solutions.

Finally, the active ingredients within a pain relief cream interact with local nerve endings to damp down inflammation, reduce pain and swelling and ease stiffness. All these different actions make topical, rub-in creams and gels highly effective for treating painful joints, sore muscles and sport injuries. Here, I’ve reviewed what I believe are the best pain relief creams, sore muscle creams and pain relief gels.

Prolotherapy treatments work by naturally promoting a minor inflammatory response near damaged connective tissue, promoting regeneration and the growth of new, healthier tissue in the process. These treatments have been used to effectively reduce or heal chronic musculoskeletal conditions of the back, such as herniated/bulging discs, arthritis, osteoarthritis or other chronic joint pains, and tendonitis that affects the lower body and causes compensations in the spine. (7) For the most benefits, it seems that prolotherapy works best when combined with other back pain treatments, such as spinal manipulation, exercise and in some cases medications when needed.


Many of the 10 million Americans suffering from widespread muscle pain due to fibromyalgia look for non-prescriptions options for pain relief. As a physician with fibromyalgia myself, I want to share with you the most effective natural options that I include in my own pain relief “toolbox,” which includes anti-inflammatory herbs, topical creams, and a unique form of massage that breaks up painful muscle knots.
If you suffer from muscle pain, a muscle pain relief cream is a smart option. The best pain relief gel or cream will reduce your pain and get you back to doing the things you enjoy. When you lessen your pain with muscle cream, you'll sleep better and wake feeling more comfortable. With all the benefits associated with pain relief cream, there's no reason to delay purchasing some. Of course, speak with your doctor to determine which type is right for you. When you’re ready to buy, any of the products on our list are sure to relieve your pain and help you finally relax.
Despite what a majority of people may have been made to believe concerning the issue of anti-inflammatory creams and the pain-relieving creams the truth is that the two types of creams differ immensely. Pain relief creams serve the important function of disrupting the transmission of pain signals from different parts of the body to the brain thus allowing you to feeling a sense of temporary pain relief. However, most cream pain relievers would not have elements that would help reduce inflammation or swelling. Nevertheless, the anti-inflammatory creams and the pain relief creams both can be used for arthritis flare-ups and dealing with minor sports injuries. Nevertheless, for those people who may have never used these types of medications before or those who may not be sure of the type to use it is important to consult with the doctor before using such a product. Most all, never use the anti-inflammatory creams on a child or expectant mother unless who check in with your doctor.
Prolotherapy has been used to treat back pain for more than 50 years, according to a report by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (6) Prolotherapy, including the specific type called PRP or dextrose/glucose prolotherapy treatments, use platelet-rich plasma and sometimes stem cells taken from your own body that contain growth factors that help heal damaged tissues.
Sometimes referred to as vitamin P, citrus bioflavonoids enhance the absorption of vitamin C and act as important antioxidants. Flavonoids also inhibit collagenase and elastase, the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of connective tissue. Connective tissue breakdown is one of the factors that may cause arthritis. Flavonoids reinforce the natural structure of collagen, improve the integrity of connective tissue, protect against free radical damage and are a great natural remedy for inflammation and pain.
Cool it off. To do a 10-minute ice massage, fill up small paper or foam cups about one third full and freeze them. When ready to use, peel away the top of the cup to expose the ice and gently slide over the painful area. Try to avoid the bony parts of the joint, such as the knee cap and elbow points. Cover the affected area with a plastic wrap before applying the ice to protect the skin, and place a towel underneath to pick up the moisture as the ice melts. You can also use ice cubes wrapped in plastic for smaller areas. Cold packs and wraps applied for 15 to 30 minutes may also relieve sore lower back or shoulders.
The Inactive ingredients are aloe barbadensis leaf extract, arnica Montana flower extract, Actium lappa root (burdock) extract, boswellia carterii resin extract, calendula officinalis extract, carbomer, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, camphor, glycerin, ilex paraguariensis leaf extract, isopropyl alcohol, isopropyl myristate, melissa officinalis (lemon balm) leaf extract, silica, tocopheryl (vitamin E) acetate, triethanolamine, water, blue 1, and yellow 5. Ilex is a skin protectant for topical skin barrier gels and lotions designed to protect the skin from harmful irritants such as urine and feces. It usually contains good things such as corn starch, white petroleum jelly, and zinc oxide.
When you suffer from recurring back pain, the last thing you want to do is become dependent on medication. Dr. Pat’s Ultra Freeze gel is a simple, non-intrusive solution to muscle aches and soreness that gets to work straight away, helping you get on with your daily life without pain. Designed to combat discomfort associated with arthritis and sciatica as well as muscle pain, the cooling gel comes in a larger than average container, meaning you can depend on it being there when you need it.

Laugh more often. One study showed that social laughter actually increases pain tolerance.5 Laughing along with others was shown to have the highest positive impact. Laughter has many positive effects, including increasing circulation and oxygen, and raising your body's level of endorphins (the body's natural pain killers). There is a whole movement called "laughter yoga"—which helps people enjoy the many benefits of laughter without having to need a reason to laugh—it just focuses on laughing for its own sake.
Physical activity. Exercise helps build strong, flexible muscles that will be less prone to injury. It can also help the healing process for an aching back, prevent problems in the future, and improve function. Work with your doctor to develop an exercise program, or seek a referral to another health professional who can. A good program typically includes the three major forms of exercise: aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
The evaluation of nutraceutical preparations with appropriately designed controlled studies has exploded in recent years. There is now a greater degree of confidence based on controlled study design and improved quality of the investigators that has strengthened positive findings found using natural compounds to treat diseases. It is important for healthcare practitioners to learn about these scientific studies to counsel patients who are taking various dietary supplements, herbs minerals and vitamins for both disease treatment and prevention.

Turmeric roots are dried and ground into a spicy orange powder that has been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for hundreds of years in India. More recently researchers have called curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, the “herbal ibuprofen.” One study found that curcumin was actually more effective at reducing pain and swelling in arthritic joints than anti-inflammatory medications.
When used together, menthol and methly salicylate create vasodilation (opening of the blood vessels) close to the surface of the skin.  Increased blood flow to the area of application is said to have pain-killing on the nerve receptors in the treated area.  When combined, these two ingredients also work together to form a class of treatment called counterirritants. Counterirritants work by tricking the body into feeling sensations other than pain. The menthol and methyl salicylate in muscle creams create conflicting feelings of warmth and cold. When the nervous system sends both of these sensations, at the same time, they compete with and ultimately block pain signals from travelling to the brain.  Together these ingredients, when delivered in muscle creams or sports balms, work to create a powerful 1-2 punch, killing pain and providing relief to aching muscles and joints.
Capsaicin produces highly selective regional anesthesia by causing degeneration of capsaicin-sensitive nociceptive nerve endings which can produce significant and long-lasting increases in nociceptive thresholds. Capsaicin potently activates transient receptor potential vanilloid 1, which is a main receptor underlying nociception. It also inhibits NF-kB, thus producing an anti-inflammatory effect. Capsaicin can cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with human flesh, and also in the digestive tract. This herb is rarely used alone but is generally mixed into other natural anti-arthritic preparations. There are topical capsaicin formulations now available to treat post-herpetic neuralgia. Other uses have been studied for peripheral neuropathies and chronic musculoskeletal pain.[15,20,35,55,58,88,110]
Topical gels have been shown to reduce the need for oral analgesics which is a good thing for reducing side effects.One trial found that topical capsaicin reduce pain more than placebo in people with AS, although it can cause burning sensations. Another trial used a gel form of a drug called tenoxicam (an NSAID) that suggested it might be helpful. Do ask your specialist if you can try something like voltarol – or a stronger version on prescription – and follow their individual advice. They may prefer you to have some oral anti-inflammatory on board to reduce inflammation throughout the body, however.
If you suffer from muscle pain, a muscle pain relief cream is a smart option. The best pain relief gel or cream will reduce your pain and get you back to doing the things you enjoy. When you lessen your pain with muscle cream, you'll sleep better and wake feeling more comfortable. With all the benefits associated with pain relief cream, there's no reason to delay purchasing some. Of course, speak with your doctor to determine which type is right for you. When you’re ready to buy, any of the products on our list are sure to relieve your pain and help you finally relax.
Stay well hydrated. It is common knowledge that drinking enough water throughout the day is good for you, but did you know it can also help reduce pain? For people with back conditions, staying well hydrated helps the intervertebral discs stay healthy. Drinking enough water also helps reduce stiffness, it helps your blood carry healing nutrients and oxygen throughout the structures of you body, and helps flush toxins out of your muscles and other soft tissues. It will help prevent constipation (a side affect of many pain medications).
Zeng C, Wei J, Persson MS, et al. Relative efficacy and safety of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for osteoarthritis: a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Feb. PubMed #29436380. “Topical NSAIDs were effective and safe for OA. Diclofenac patches may be the most effective topical NSAID for pain relief. No serious gastrointestinal and renal AEs were observed in trials or the general population.” BACK TO TEXT
Even as you practice patience, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can help ease the pain you're pushing through. The research behind medicine guidelines for lower back pain finds that these may give slightly better relief than acetaminophen (Tylenol). Over long periods, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal problems, so don't take them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor.
White willow bark, for instance, may have pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin. Salicin, a compound found in white willow bark, is converted in the body to salicylic acid, just as aspirin is. Salicylic acid is believed to be the active compound that relieves pain and inflammation. Another herb sometimes used in the treatment of back pain is devil's claw. Devil's claw contains harpagosides, which are chemical compounds found to possess anti-inflammatory properties.

in December 1998, celecoxib (Celebrex) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first selective COX-2 inhibitor for treatment of arthritis pain.[92,13,22] Rofecoxib (Vioxx) was approved several months later, followed by valdecoxib (Bextra).[92,28,67,79] These NSAIDs were designed to allow continued production of the gastrointestinally protective prostaglandins produced through the COX-1 enzyme system while blocking the COX-2 enzyme that produces the inflammatory prostaglandins.[34,45,51,89]

The available science includes a 2011 study published in Arthritis Care & Research, which found that a 10-week tai chi program reduced pain and improved functioning in people with long-term low back pain symptoms. The study involved 160 adults with chronic low back pain, half of whom participated in 40-minute-long tai chi sessions 18 times over the 10-week period.


Research suggests that topical medications may be just as effective as oral ones. Many of them worked significantly better than placebo. These medications can come in the form of gels, creams, patches, and more. One study also saw decrease in pain when people applied lavender essential oil or ointments prepared with cayenne peppers with acupressure.
Preliminary research suggests that hypnotherapy may be of some use in the treatment of low back pain. For instance, a pilot study published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis found that a four-session hypnosis program (combined with a psychological education program) significantly reduced pain intensity and led to improvements in mood among patients with chronic low back pain.
Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis are Peruvian herbs derived from woody vines with small claw-like thorns (hence the vernacular name, cat’s claw) at the base of the leaf, which allow the plant to climb to heights of up to 100 ft. Traditionally, the bark of cat’s claw is used to treat arthritis, bursitis, and intestinal disorders. The active ingredients appear to be polyphenols (flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and tannins), alkaloids, and sterols. Various studies indicate that this Peruvian herb induces a generalized reduction in proinflammatory mediators.
Turmeric roots are dried and ground into a spicy orange powder that has been used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for hundreds of years in India. More recently researchers have called curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, the “herbal ibuprofen.” One study found that curcumin was actually more effective at reducing pain and swelling in arthritic joints than anti-inflammatory medications.
I use Tiger Balm ($5; walmart.com). It's kind of the old-school stalwart in the game. With active ingredients of menthol and camphor it can provide some relief to muscle aches, and has been studied to improve blood flow, especially when used during massage." — Joe Holder, S10 Training and Nike running coach (Reboot Your Workout Routine with Holder's moves that tap into every muscle.)
Physical therapists use PEMF to heal fractures and torn cartilage faster, and surgeons recommend it as a post-op way to minimize soft tissue inflammation.[20][21] I use it to recover from workouts faster and keep inflammation low. PEMF machines send electromagnetic pulses through your tissue, gently stimulating anti-inflammatory and repair compounds.
×