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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
Can inversion therapy help with back pain? Inversion therapy, where a person is held upside down for several minutes, is an alternative therapy for back pain. They may use gravity boots or an inversion table or chair to reduce the pressure on their spine. Evidence for the effectiveness of this technique is mixed. Learn more about the benefits and risks here. Read now
Have your friend or partner give you a relaxing massage for your tired sore muscles at the end of the day and you do the same for them. Aging, as many know, is not too kind giving us cellulite, sagging skin, wrinkles, and other things we despise. Muscles are not as taunt and tight as they were when we were younger. And, the young people can keep their youthful appearance with this cream.
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]

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.

Creams derived from natural products can also provide local relief for painful muscles in fibromyalgia. The best part is that topical treatments tend to be very well tolerated with few side effects. Arnica is an herb used since the 1500s to treat bruises, muscle pain, and inflammation. It is still used today as a natural treatment for muscle pain in many different topical remedies. One herbal homeopathic cream that I have found helpful is MyPainAway Fibro cream. It includes arnica to reduce muscle pain, echinacea to reduce inflammation, along with other herbs targeted to reduce nerve pain by improving microcirculation around pain-sensing nerves.
Topical diclofenac gel (Voltarol) is highly effective for treating muscle and joint aches and pains. In fact, a direct comparison of topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory diclofenac gel with an oral equivalent did not show any difference in their ability to reduce pain and stiffness. Data from 34 studies, involving over 7,600 people, suggests that the topical NSAID, diclofenac, is the most effective form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller for applying to the skin to treat muscle and joint pain.
Whether due to a challenging session at the gym or normal wear and tear associated with aging, back pain shouldn’t impair your daily activities. Finding the best pain relief cream for back pain is easy with the array of back creams for pain available. You can deal with back stiffness and soreness quickly and with minimal fuss. Instead of over-the-counter pills, try these ointments for back pain.

The cream is affordable, effective, and gives wonderful results. You will want to use products that keep you that way. The hot cream is available in a large 8.8-ounce orange jar with either a silver metal or white plastic lid and the contents are always the same. It is 100% natural and 87% organic. It will firm up and tone your skin and remove that stubborn cellulite. Additionally, it warms up your aching and sore muscles for relief from that pain. Another benefit is that by firming up and reducing fat, you can be as trim as you want to be.

I am 63 with osteoarthritis of my knee. I have struggled with pain relief and steroid injection hasn’t helped now waiting for new knee but need to control pain. I have just been recommended emu oil. I went to holland and Barrett and found Blue ease gel that has emu oil, capsicum and MSN amongst its ingredients. It does help the pain but skin burns (may have put too much on) how much will I need for a knee and will the burning sensation go away I have tried capsicum cream on prescription and that advised that burning sensation improves in a couple of weeks. From reading your advise re capsicum am I right in thinking that the burning sensation distracts the brain from the joint pain thanks
Capsaicin. Derived from hot chile peppers, topical capsaicin may be useful for some people in relieving pain. "Capsaicin works by depleting substance P, a compound that conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral to the central nervous system. It takes a couple of days for this to occur," says David Kiefer, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

These creams can be quite effective for temporary pain relief on the muscle and joints. The creams would also come in handy when handling inflammations that may be brought forth by minor injuries, sunburn, skin rash and other severe conditions. Although doctors would prescribe most of these creams for their patients, more often than not individuals go for the OTC medications to deal with simple medical conditions. When making your purchase for this particular product it is important that you make a comparison between active ingredients and the inactive ingredients used in the formulation of the cream. At the end of the day, ensure that you choose a product that would not have dire side effects on your health. The cream you choose should help you deal with your particular problem in the best way possible and if possible you should make sure that you consult with your doctor before using any of these creams.


A combination of Boswellia and curcumin showed superior efficacy and tolerability compared with nonsteroidal diclofenac for treating active osteoarthritis. Boswellia typically is given as an extract standardized to contain 30-40% boswellic acids (300-500 mg two or three times/day). Boswellia has been well tolerated in most studies, although some people may experience stomach discomfort, including nausea, acid reflux, or diarrhea.[1–10,42,48,56,62,103,104]
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage have several health benefits. They naturally support detox organs like the liver and kidneys, and they contain plenty of natural fiber, folate, and vitamin C. But they can also help to regulate inflammatory bacteria within the digestive tract, especially H. pylori, which is implicated in ulcers and other chronic digestive conditions. (25) Since the body obtains all of its nutrients via digestion, an inflamed digestive system will contribute to inflammation throughout the rest of the body. Eating cruciferous vegetables daily can help to promote the healthy elimination of toxins as well as the proper regulation of the digestive system.
Meditation has been proven to reduce chronic pain in several scientific studies. Research from Duke University found that people suffering from chronic back pain saw significant reductions in pain and psychological distress after practicing a form of meditation that focuses on releasing anger. In another study, meditators experienced a 40% reduction in pain intensity.
Looking for a nonaddictive way to soothe aches? LifeSeasons’ award-winning Pain Bloc-R helps deliver the benefits of conventional approaches, including decreased aches and discomforts and increased relaxation, without the common pharmaceutical side effects. Pain Bloc-R combines natural ingredients and compounds, including Angelica dahurica, white willow bark, L-tetrahydropalmatine, and L-theanine, that work together to help support the body’s natural ability to relieve everyday aches.
That said, why not try it? It’s almost certainly safer than popping ibuprofen! Although not tested and approved for reckless experimentation on any pain problem, obviously the entire point of Voltaren® Gel is to limit exposure to the active ingredient. So you might choose to experiment — taking full responsibility for your actions, of course, and not suing me if something goes horribly wrong, because of course I’m not actually recommending it. 😉 Seriously: just run it by your doctor.
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

The good news is that myofascial release is also something we can do for ourselves! A recent study showed that a regular program of self-myofascial release lowered pain intensity and lessened stiffness. To start, you can simply lie on the floor and place a small, soft ball (around the size and density of a large orange) under any tight and painful muscle areas. Then allow your body to sink onto and around the ball for a few minutes to provide the right amount of sustained pressure to allow the fascia to release. Learn how to self-myofascial release with this Myofascial Self Care Video Course that was developed by a pair of myofascial release therapists, and is is a great way to do MFR treatment at home.


It contains arnica, a wonderful pain reliever used by many massage therapists, vitamin B6 that makes red blood cells that produces neurotransmitters, homocysteine levels, and also makes the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine; it has pyridoxine; choline bitartrate cetyl myristoleate; MSM (methylsulfonlmethane) that helps with scars, stretch marks, and pain; and has glucosamine, and boswellia serrata.

Diclofenac is an extremely popular drug — again, we’re talking oral here — and it is associated with serious cardiovascular risks: “There is increasing regulatory concern about diclofenac. … Diclofenac has no advantage in terms of gastrointestinal safety and it has a clear cardiovascular disadvantage.”14 This has been in the news quite a bit, and NPR had a hit in 2013 with this headline: “World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk.”


Resveratrol is a plant-based polyphenol molecule that is found in various concentrations of many different plant sources. The plant is called Japanese Knot weed or Polygonum cuspidatum, and the skins of red wine grapes are believe to have the most concentrated amounts of resveratrol. In plants, resveratrol is generally found in the plant skin and acts as a phytoalexin to protect the plant from infection, excessive UV radiation and aide in general plant defense. Resveratrol has also been found to have significant anti-mutation, anti-inflammatory, antoxidant and DNA protective actions, when consumed by animals and humans.
To minimize your risks for a skin reaction, Cowling recommends doing a skin test before starting any topical pain reliever and washing your hands immediately after applying. Also don’t use topicals on any areas of the body where you have an open wound or broken skin, even a scratch. If you develop severe itching, redness, swelling or any other signs of a worsening skin reaction, contact your doctor. 
Chondroitin sulphate chains bind to hyaluronic acid to form ‘springy’ molecules that increase the strength and elasticity of cartilage, making it more resilient. Chondroitin also acts as a signal to inhibit the enzymes responsible for breaking down cartilage, and to increase the production of collagen. Chondroitin is therefore an ideal complement to glucosamine and the two are often combined in joint and muscle pain relief creams.
Hi Patricia, Sorry to hear about your experience. The patient information leaflet for diclofenac gel inside each pack advises that users should avoid applying on large areas of skin, that an amount ranging in size from a 1 penny to a 2 pence piece will usually be sufficient, and not to use it if you are already taking NSAID tablets. High blood pressure is not listed as a possible side effect, as this was not detected in clinical trials. As you say, diclofenac tablets and other oral NSAIDs are now associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease which is why the gel is considered a better option. I have coverd this in a post about ibuprofen increasing blood pressure here. Research looking into the long-term tolerability of topical diclogenac gel in people with an elevated risk of NSAID-related side effects, such as existing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, suggests that the gel appears to be safe to use to treat osteoarthritis, even in these high risk groups. Having said that, everyone is different, due to the genes they have inherited, and you may have experienced an unusual, idiosyncratic reaction to the small amounts absorbed via the skin. It’s good that you or your doctor were monitoring your blood pressure to detect this. I have a website dedicated to lowering a high blood pressure, which includes lots of complementary approaches, that you may find helpful. Are you able to share the name of the herbal cream which you have found works better? Best wishes, Sarah B

"I am a true believer in Biofreeze ($15; performancehealth.com). My football coach introduced me to it years ago. It's a topical cooling pain reliever that works very similarly to ice but since it's a gel, I can apply it before teaching classes and training clients to keep function in my muscles and joints. In addition to relieving muscle pain or soreness, it can be used to help arthritis and other muscular and joint discomforts too. " —Mat Forzaglia, The Fhitting Room instructor
For a 2006 report published in Rheumatology, investigators analyzed the available research on the use of balneotherapy in treatment of low back pain. Looking at five clinical trials, the report's authors found "encouraging evidence" suggesting that balneotherapy may be effective for treating patients with low back pain. Noting that supporting data are scarce, the authors call for larger-scale trials on balneotherapy and low back pain.
Diclofenac is an extremely popular drug — again, we’re talking oral here — and it is associated with serious cardiovascular risks: “There is increasing regulatory concern about diclofenac. … Diclofenac has no advantage in terms of gastrointestinal safety and it has a clear cardiovascular disadvantage.”14 This has been in the news quite a bit, and NPR had a hit in 2013 with this headline: “World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk.”
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) machines are small, battery-powered devices that transmit low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes that are attached to your skin. Considered very safe, TENS machines, according to one theory, work by scrambling the message of pain to the brain — literally blocking it. Another theory suggests that the electrical impulses cause a release of endorphins that override the sensation of pain. Many back pain patients have had success with TENS machines, though their effectiveness has not been clearly proven in controlled studies. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if this therapy might be right for you.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble and essential nutrient for humans. The most important components of vitamin E appear to be the tocopherols. All four forms of tocopherol have been shown to have antioxidant activity, but alphatocopherol is the strongest antioxidant. Alpha-tocopherol inhibits the oxidation of LDL, which can help prevent LDL from sticking to the arterial walls. In addition to its antioxidant properties, vitamin E also acts to reduce blood coagulation and may help to lower blood pressure by eliciting endothelial relaxation.
Many readers assume that “skeptics” will always favour mainstream and pharmaceutical treatments like Voltaren, but nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, some skeptics are leading the charge against bad pharmaceutical industry science and practices (and a great example is Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients). Pharmacist Scott Gavura of Science-Based Pharmacy was certainly skeptical about topical NSAIDs like Voltaren when he first tackled the topic early in 2011.13 “When I recently noticed a topical NSAID appear for sale as an over-the-counter treatment for muscle aches and pains … I was confident it would make a good case study in bad science.”

Pain, heat, redness, and swelling (dolor, calor, rubor, tumor) are the classic manifestations of the inflammatory process. Abnormalities of the joints of the spine, associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and bone structural abnormalities can all result in pain and need for neurosurgical consultations. Typically, patients will not require immediate surgical intervention, and therefore require treatments to reduce pain and enhance quality of life activities.[71]
“I use Relief cream on every client who comes in with any type of pain, and they all say they absolutely love the fragrance (as do I) and how it feels on their skin—in addition to how well it relieves their pain. It is the ONLY topical pain cream I would even think of using (and having on my hands) all day long, and with its non-irritating ingredients I can do so worry free. I have never had anyone I have used it on or sold it to complain of any type of negative skin reaction to the product, which I find amazing since with most ever other product of its kind you run a significant risk of experiencing secondary skin irritation. As you can imagine I couldn't be happier with Relief's amazing formulation and superior results!” *
Warm bath. Taking a warm bath can bring immediate pain relief to sore and stiff joints. If you have respiratory or cardiac problems that may keep you from using warm water therapy, or if you are older than 70 (as we age, our bodies do not regulate heat as well), check with your doctor before trying this method. If only your hands or feet are affected, you may try soaking them in a tub with warm water.
Diclofenac sodium 1% gel (Voltaren, also available as a generic). When used for osteoarthritis pain of the hands, elbows or wrists, apply 2 grams to each affected area four times a day (a total of 8 grams per day). When used on knees, ankles, or feet, apply 4 grams to each affected area four times a day (a total of 16 grams per day).  However, the total amount used on your body should not exceed 32 grams per day. A dosing card comes with the gel so you can measure the correct amount.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), might relieve acute back pain. Take these medications only as directed by your doctor. Overuse can cause serious side effects. If OTC pain relievers don't relieve your pain, your doctor might suggest prescription NSAIDs.
Vitamins are essential to health. Every natural thing that you eat contains the vitamins needed for growth, repair, bone density, pH balance and hormone regulation. The problem is that many people don’t have access to organic whole foods, so vitamin supplementation is important. When suffering from inflammation, pain and arthritis, the following vitamins may help.
Are you in pain? You don’t have to reach for over-the -counter pain killers, or even the heavy pharmaceutical hitters prescribed by your doctor; there are literally hundreds of natural pain killers waiting for you in the abundance of nature. You can count on plants and herbs to alleviate everything from arthritis pain, to headaches, to burns – read on to find out more.

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.


In as much as your doctor would prescribe these types of medication for you, whenever you shop for an Over The Counter cream such as the ones outlined above you would be left with minimal choice to make aside from the fact that you would be required to make comparisons based on the price of the product, its brand and the types of ingredients used in formulating the cream. These types of cream would play a very significant role in enabling you to effectively deal with cases of bruises, skin inflammation as well as muscle and joint pains. The most effective anti-inflammatory cream qualities are the ones that would be readily absorbed into the skin for enhanced action. The cream can be your best friend if it happens that you may be unwilling to take pills. Besides, most of these creams do not have side effects as long as they are used as instructed.
Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular arthritis creams on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different creams overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the creams themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
Green tea research now demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. Additionally, green tea research includes the “Asian paradox”, which theorizes that increased green tea consumption in Asia may lead to significant cardiovascular, neuroprotective and cancer prevention properties.[113] The usual recommendation is 3–4 cups of tea a day. Green tea extract has a typical dosage of 300–400 mg. Green tea can cause stomach irritation in some, and because of its caffeine content, a decaffeinated variety is also available; but the polyphenol content is currently unknown.[2,49,53,108,112,117,120]

I recommend a woman takes 1,500 milligrams starting on the first day of her period and continuing until ovulation. If your’e on certain antidepressants, you have a bleeding or a seizure disorder, you’re on phenothiazine drugs for schizophrenia, or you’re being treated for high blood pressure, you should talk to your doctor before starting evening primrose oil.


You should always consult with a medical professional to get a diagnosis and consultant about treatments, but if they suggest an OTC cream as part of your treatment, there are some good ones to consider. You can find creams with various ingredients and in a variety of formats, including gels, roll-ons, and lotions. Some have a cooling effect, while others bring the heat, and there are scented and unscented options, so it all comes down to preference.
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.
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One concern about the use of products like Voltaren is that several conditions are less inflammatory in nature than they feel like. Patients usually assume that the “burning” pain of repetitive strain injuries like tendinitis is caused by inflammation, but in fact classic inflammation is largely absent, especially after initial flare-ups have died down (but pain is still carrying on). While it is possible, even likely, that tendinitis is still inflamed in some sense, it’s doubtful that they are inflamed in a way that NSAIDs are actually good for. The biochemistry of cranky tendons is rather complex and largely unknown. There’s probably some overlap between the biology of acute, classic inflammation and the subtler biology of chronic tendinitis, but no one really knows. So the value of Voltaren for tendinitis is unclear.
You may already have tried exercise and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers you take by mouth. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Another option is to try one of the many OTC topical creams that can help relieve arthritis pain. Here’s the low-down on these products to help you decide which arthritis cream might be best for you.
“When I was pregnant two years ago with my daughter I had extreme pain in my right shoulder. It went on for months. They did cortisone shots, prescribed Loratab (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen), and were ready to operate on a pregnant gal the pain was so severe. Eventually the cortisone shots worked and the pain went away. I am now pregnant again and at about 28 weeks the pain was back. This time the pain was worse. The joint hurt so bad I couldn't pull the covers over me in bed. I could only sleep on one side, and NOTHING worked. My chiropractor recommended Relief cream. I was skeptical that a cream could ease my pain when the medical community had nothing that worked. In a total act of desperation I had my husband rub it into the shoulder one night. I slept better than I had in weeks. He rubbed it in the next night and the pain was completely gone. Here I am now 34 weeks pregnant and the pain has been completely gone for 6 weeks. My husband has also used it on his back (after trying everything else under the sun) with similar results. Thank you for a truly amazing product. We have shared this info with our family and friends!” *
Almost every person with fibromyalgia describes their muscles as tight and full of painful muscle knots called trigger points. After I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia during medical school, I tried many different styles of massage, but got no benefit until I found a specialized technique called myofascial release pioneered by John Barnes, PT. This form of massage therapy involves using very slow but sustained gentle pressure to separate tiny adhesions in the muscle tissue and fascia, and this lessens muscle tension and gently breaks up knots in the connective tissue (to learn more about the vital importance of fascia in fibromyalgia, read my previous blog post). Two European studies found that myofascial release therapy was effective for reducing fibromyalgia pain, and that it gave long-lasting pain relief even at one month and six months after the last session. To find a John Barnes-trained therapist skilled in this technique go to www.mfrtherapists.com.
It contains arnica, a wonderful pain reliever used by many massage therapists, vitamin B6 that makes red blood cells that produces neurotransmitters, homocysteine levels, and also makes the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine; it has pyridoxine; choline bitartrate cetyl myristoleate; MSM (methylsulfonlmethane) that helps with scars, stretch marks, and pain; and has glucosamine, and boswellia serrata.
There is strong scientific support for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons in the treatment of chronic back pain, according to a research review published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in 2012. The review included one well-designed, well-conducted clinical trial demonstrating that Alexander Technique lessons led to significant long-term reductions in back pain and incapacity caused by chronic back pain. These results were broadly supported by a smaller, earlier clinical trial testing the use of Alexander Technique lessons in the treatment of chronic back pain.
While adding turmeric as a spice to foods tastes good, it has to be eaten in pretty large quantities to get a medicinal effect, as our gut does not absorb it well. The maximum pain relief effects are usually found with supplements that contain curcumin optimized for absorption (such as curcumin phosphatidylcholine complex). I like Meriva by Thorne Research, typical dosage of 500-1000mg twice daily. Although curcumin is much safer than anti-inflammatory medications, it does have some mild blood-thinning effects, so make sure to ask your health care provider before starting supplementation.
ASU is a vegetable extract made from the oil of avocados and soybeans that is said to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. It slows down the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body and thus the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. It has also been found to spur new cartilage cell growth. It is available in capsule form at a recommended 300 mg daily.
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