In a 2011 research review published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, investigators looked at the available research on the use of topically applied capsaicin in the treatment of several types of chronic pain. This included two clinical trials examining back pain, both of which found that capsaicin helped reduce low back pain without causing notable side effects.

Research shows that applying celadrin cetylated fatty acid cream with menthol to knees can reduce arthritis pain and improve the range of movement. Applying celadrin cream also makes it easier to climb up and down stairs. Celadrin cream cetylated fatty acids is also effective as a muscle pain relief cream to treat pain associated with trigger points in the neck.
Warning: The gel is for external use only. It is flammable therefore keep it away from heat or open flames. Check with your healthcare provider before using it if you have sensitive skin are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not put it near your eyes or mucous membranes or apply to wounds, sores, scratched or imperfect skin. Do not use this product with other creams, sprays, liniments, or ointments. Never put a bandage over the area. Stop using if your skin becomes red, has a rash, or feels irritated. Never use with a heating pad on top of the area and always wash your hands after using. Contact your doctor if problems continue after use. Consult your pediatrician if your child is under 2-years-old. Keep out of the reach of children.
There is a large amount of natural products on the market with anti-inflammatory properties which contain arnica, such as sports massage creams combining arnica and other natural plant extracts (devil’s claw, calendula, St John’s wort and peppermint oil, among others, as well as PHYSIORELAX FORTE PLUS cream) for symptomatic relief of joint and muscle pain. However, we must be well informed about the quality and origin of the extracts used in any creams, gels and ointments purchased at pharmacies, herbal shops and specialised phytotherapy shops, so that we use the best quality product possible.
Warning: The gel is for external use only. It is flammable therefore keep it away from heat or open flames. Check with your healthcare provider before using it if you have sensitive skin are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not put it near your eyes or mucous membranes or apply to wounds, sores, scratched or imperfect skin. Do not use this product with other creams, sprays, liniments, or ointments. Never put a bandage over the area. Stop using if your skin becomes red, has a rash, or feels irritated. Never use with a heating pad on top of the area and always wash your hands after using. Contact your doctor if problems continue after use. Consult your pediatrician if your child is under 2-years-old. Keep out of the reach of children.
Even though you might need something for your pain or a product that would help minimize inflammations of any kind, the cream that you buy should come with greater convenience. The creams that have a no greasy feeling quality when used would be the ultimate choice you could ever make if you desire a medication that would be more comfortable and effective at the same time. The creams with no greasy feeling would mean that you would never stain your clothes with the ointment and most of all; you would be able to tackle the minor injuries you may be subjected to at different times in your life. If you are not sure of what to buy, make sure that you consult with your friends or family members who may have used some of these products at different times in their lives. If not, ensure that you talk to your doctor on the same issue since the physicians are more than capable of providing individuals with the best advice regarding the anti-inflammatory creams that would work better with no side effects whatsoever. With everything considered, what is important is acquiring a cream that is viable, reasonably priced, safe to use, and able to provide you with fast pain relief.
Various studies have also shown that NSAIDs can delay muscle regeneration and may reduce ligament, tendon, and cartilage healing.[4,13,77] Specifically, NSAIDs are believed to wipe out the entire inflammatory mediated proliferative phase of healing associated with WBC actions (days 0–4). A study of the effects of NSAIDs on acute hamstring injuries was done in humans by Reynolds et al.,[93] and these investigators concluded that patients who used NSAIDs did not experience a greater reduction of pain and soft-tissue swelling when compared with the placebo group. Interestingly enough, the authors noted that the NSAIDs’ group had worse pain associated with severe injuries compared with the placebo group.
Cinnamon is a popular natural remedy for helping to control blood sugar, but it can also keep inflammation levels low in the body and improve digestion. (20) Spices have long been used for medicinal purposes, but in a modern day where pharmaceutical options abound, it is rarer to use food as medicine. Still, cinnamon and other spices can have broad anti-inflammatory benefits and in many cases, can be equally as effective to (or more) than NSAIDs, whether over-the-counter or prescription. (21)
If you are using a topical anti-inflammatory there is a risk that your skin can become sensitive to light (photosensitivity). If you are using a preparation that contains ketoprofen you should cover the area of skin where ketoprofen has been applied (to protect it from sunlight). Also, you should not use a sunbed, or expose your skin to sunlight during treatment, and for two weeks after stopping.

"I'm really big on heat, since it draws blood to the spot that is heated. I am a huge fan of ThermaCare Heatwraps ($8; drugstore.com) since you can just wrap or tape them on and go about your life (I really like and recommend using one at night if you have a knot, or an especially tight spot)." —Heidi Kristoffer, creator of CrossFlowX (Got PMS cramps? Kristoffer shares the best yoga poses to ease aches and bloating.)
With more than 23,000 reviews on Amazon, customers give Penetrex sky-high marks for effective pain relief. If it doesn’t work for you, it comes with a 100 percent, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. Formulated to fight inflammation, it contains a mix of ingredients including arnica, choline, glucosamine, Vitamin B6, and MSM. It’s not odor-free, but rather has a light scent that disappears quickly after you apply it. You can use it alone or in conjunction with heating pads, massagers, ice, and other therapies.
Collagen—particularly Type II collagen—is the main structural building block of joint cartilage. The human body is made up of 60 percent Type II collagen, and Hydrolyzed Type II collagen contains the amino acids found in human cartilage. Your body uses these amino acids to create new collagen—and repair your cartilage and connective tissue throughout your body. Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II also contains Hyaluronic Acid, which lubricates your joints and makes it an effective natural remedy for inflammation.
Synovial fluid is a thick, slippery substance with a consistency similar to egg white. It acts like an oil and fills small cavities within the joint cartilage, providing oxygen and nutrients when the joint is resting. Synovial fluid also pushes the bones apart so they don’t rub together to cause pain. Glucosamine also provides building blocks for making new cartilage, and repairing damaged areas. Glucosamine is also known to damp down inflammation and act as a biological signal to stimulate tissue repair.
Inflammatory disorders specifically respond well to the natural collagen-containing gelatin that is found in true bone broth. (24) Bone broth and meat stock are different, since bone broth extracts nutrients from the bones, such as gelatin, minerals, and amino acids, whereas stock only contains nutrients from the meat. While both can be healthy, stock contains no pain-relieving properties.
Those who have tried using this Neosporin product say that cuts and scrapes heal within three days when this ointment is applied and that pain subsides quickly. To properly use the ointment, be sure to first clean the affected area with mild soap or saline water. Apply the Neosporin and then use a bandage to properly protect the area while it heals.
I purchased this because it was less expensive than Penetrex and I'd thought I'd try it out.. Unfortunately, compared to Penetrex, at least for me, I do not feel that it is worth the savings. I'm using it for Plantar Fasciitis and Osteoarthritis in my knees. Although it does provide some pain relief, the duration is limited to a couple hours, whereas Penetrex lasts for up to half a day. However, SynthaFlex does offer a little more relief, albeit very temporarily, for my Osteoarthritis than Penetrex does. It is not nearly as effective for my Plantar Fasciitis pain. Ultimately, if I have to apply it many times throughout the day, it is not cost effective in comparison.
1. Capsaicin. Capsaicin creams and gels are made from chili peppers.  They cause a mild to moderate burning sensation thought to alter nerves' ability to interpret pain by lowering the presence of a neurotransmitter called Substance P. Brand names including Capzasin and Zostrix are marketed for arthritis, backache, and other joint and muscle pains.  These creams aren't generally associated with any adverse side effects though some patients may feel the heat more intensely than others.
Arthritis is a painful and sometimes crippling condition that affects more than 50 million Americans. There are many different types of arthritis, but one thing sufferers all have in common is the desire for relief from the pain, swelling, and stiffness that typically accompany it. Fortunately, there are a host of over-the-counter creams that can help. While they may not work for every arthritis sufferer, there are many that can help.

We always want the best pain relief cream, topical gels, sprays, roll-ons, sticks, sprays, patches, and sometime powders that make more of a mess. You will need to decide on what product is best for you or if you should see your doctor for stronger medication. Most of us try to stay away from prescription drugs and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
It is a natural product which has been effectively used in the treatment of bone and muscle pain, in painful abnormalities resulting from spinal cord compression and as an analgesic medication following surgical interventions. It contains essential oils, alkaloid arnicine, glycosides, flavones, carotenes, mucilages and magnesia. Its main property is that it increases local blood flow due to its rubefacient effect, and its ability to relieve pain and improve muscle and nerve weakness. It is therefore very widely used for contusions, bumps, bruises, sprains, rheumatism, lower back pain, varicose veins, haemorrhoids and muscle pain.
Side effects from topical medications include redness, itching, and other skin irritation. They are generally mild—and uncommon. The cause of skin irritation is often the material used to make the cream or gel, not the NSAID, says Dr. Joanne Borg-Stein, medical director of the Harvard-affiliated Spaulding-Wellesley Rehabilitation Center in Massachusetts. When that happens, it’s possible for a pharmacist to create a preparation with ingredients that are less irritating to your skin.
Foam roller exercises are a form of self-myofascial release that, while kind of mildly painful at times, actually gets out those nagging muscle knots while helping you fix muscle imbalances that lead to poor posture and related musculoskeletal pain. It’s also an emerging treatment to reduce your risk of developing delayed muscle onset soreness, a common exercise-related pain that keeps people out of the gym. (6)
A study involving 120 people with acute upper or lower back pain showed that rubbing in comfrey cream, three times a day for 4 to 6 days, reduced pain intensity by 95%, compared with just 38% reduction for inactive ‘placebo’ cream. Comfrey works quickly, providing good pain relief within an hour of application. In fact, researchers have found that comfrey cream is more effective than a prescribed, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment (diclofenac gel) for treating ankle sprains.
If you need stronger pain relief, talk to your doctor about a prescription topical NSAID. A prescription topical NSAID is stronger than OTC products. Topical NSAIDs also carry less risk of stomach upset, ulcers, or other problems than oral NSAIDs do. The only prescription topical NSAID currently available is called Voltaren (diclofenac). Talk to your doctor to find out if it’s right for you.
Cold and heat therapies. It's best to use cold compresses or an ice pack, not heat, immediately following a back injury, since this can alleviate pain by numbing the area and prevent or reduce swelling. About 48 hours after the onset of back pain, though, applying heating pads or a hot-water bottle to your back may be helpful. The warmth soothes and relaxes aching muscles and increases blood flow, which helps the healing process. Keep in mind that heat therapy is only helpful for the first week.

Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with topical diclofenac 1% and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm085729.htm) to obtain the Medication Guide.

“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!” *


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
I am a science writer and a former Registered Massage Therapist with a decade of experience treating tough pain cases. I was the Assistant Editor of ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I’ve written hundreds of articles and several books, and I’m known for readable but heavily referenced analysis, with a touch of sass. I am a runner and ultimate player. • more about me • more about PainScience.com
Warming tissues eases arthritis pain by increasing blood flow to affected areas, which decreases inflammation, relaxes tight muscles, and eliminates waste products, like lactic acid, that cause stiffness and soreness. Cold decreases blood flow to reduce swelling, slows the transmission of pain signals through nerves, and inhibits inflammatory chemicals. Cold therapy is best for pain and swelling after exercise, during a flare, or in the first 48 to 72 hours after an injury. Here are some ways to soothe joint pain with heat and cold at home:
Five updates have been logged for this article since publication (2009). All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. more Like good footnotes, update logging sets PainScience.com apart from most other health websites and blogs. It’s fine print, but important fine print, in the same spirit of transparency as the editing history available for Wikipedia pages.
Five updates have been logged for this article since publication (2009). All PainScience.com updates are logged to show a long term commitment to quality, accuracy, and currency. more Like good footnotes, update logging sets PainScience.com apart from most other health websites and blogs. It’s fine print, but important fine print, in the same spirit of transparency as the editing history available for Wikipedia pages.
Hi Shelie, Sorry to hear about your fracture. Comfrey cream is traditionally used to boost healing and is known as ‘knitbone’. It contains allantoin – a substance which is also beneficial for Raynaud’s. As described in my post, a trial showed rapid reduction in pain, and more effectiveness than for diclofenac gel in reducing symptoms associated with ankle sprain. A cream will sink in better than an ointment if you are working as a seamstress. Best wishes, Sarah B
Studies have shown that the gel from this medicinal plant is able to relieve the pain and improve joint movement and stiffness in individuals with arthrosis in the fingers at the same level as ibuprofen. It demonstrates that arnica is an effective alternative to the use of NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) against this type of conditions, as arnica also prevents the gastric irritation caused by treatment with ibuprofen. Its use is therefore particularly recommended in individuals with stomach problems.
Chondroitin sulphate is produced naturally in the body to promote the formation of healthy cartilage, tendons and ligaments, and it is also an important component of joint synovial fluid. As you get older, your joint cells secrete less and less chondroitin and this has been linked with reduced cartilage quality and the start of degenerative changes.
Ginger is in the same family of anti-inflammatory spices as turmeric. While they share similar benefits, ginger is well known for its ability to relieve nausea associated with pregnancy and cancer treatments. It can also relieve pain in the same category as NSAIDs, making it another effective alternative to over-the-counter medications that have unpleasant side effects. (18)
Capsicum is an extract from the chilli or cayenne pepper which reduces pain by continuously stimulating nerve endings in the skin at a very low-level. This depletes nerve endings of neurotransmitter chemicals so they become less sensitive and pass on fewer pain messages to the brain. Those messages that are passed on tend to get screened out as they brain shuts off distracting, low-level irritation. Ingredients that do this are known as ‘counterirritants’. These effects also reduce sensation from underlying painful joints. See the best capsicum containing rubs at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Warning! These are HOT to use, but really relieve muscle and joint pain. Wash your hands thoroughly after use and do them rub your eyes by mistake during use.
If you suffer from arthritis or other types of pain, you're probably all too familiar with drugs such as aspirin, Aleve, and Naproxen. All belong to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and all can be purchased without a prescription. But there is another related drug, available by prescription, you might want to talk with your doctor about: diclofenac, available as a gel, patch, or drop that you apply directly to your skin.
The pump bottle is convenient to use never needing to remove a lid for an analgesic (no aspirin) providing instant and direct pain relief to muscles and joints, such as arthritic pain. There are no NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Ibuprofen, aspirin, or other salicylates. The gel penetrates fast for those strains and sprains in muscle tissues and works just as well on hands, wrists, elbows, arm, ankles, feet, knees—your entire body. The gel will give you temporary relief from minor aches and pains of sore muscles and joints from arthritis, backache, strains and sprains.

Cetyl myristoleate (CMO) is a fatty acid, an ethylated esterified fatty acid derived from bovine tallow oil. Though it is similar to fish oil, it is made specifically to help joints through its action as a cellular lubricant. Clinical studies show CMO to be an effective natural anti inflammatory compound that promotes healthy joint function. It increases joint flexibility and range of motion by lubricating the joint at a cellular level. It works to decrease inflammation specifically in the joints and lubricate their movement. In other words, it increases the fluids that cushion the space between the joint bones. CMO is reported to effect change at the cellular level, within the cell membranes themselves. It assists in the reduction and prevention of breakdown in joint cartilage. This can be especially helpful for those suffering degenerative osteoarthritis. The Journal of Rheumatology reported on a double-blind study of patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis where the CMO group saw significant improvement while the placebo group saw none. In fact, the scientists were so impressed with the results they concluded CMO “may be an alternative to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for treatment of osteoarthritis.”

When it comes to relieving the pain of achy joints, many people reach for a pain-relieving pill like aspirin or ibuprofen. There may be a better way. When the source of pain is close to the surface, applying a cream, gel, patch, or spray that contains a pain reliever right where it hurts can ease pain and help avoid some of the body-wide side effects of oral pain relievers.


Capsaicin creams are another topical option for pain relief. These contain the active component in chili peppers that cause a burning sensation. I know its sounds like this would cause more pain, but in fact the low levels of capsaicin in these creams block pain by temporarily depleting the nerves of certain chemicals that transmit pain impulses. Application of this cream three times daily was shown to significantly improve pain scores for fibromyalgia in one study done in Spain.
When people experience a minor headache, muscle tension or other pain, they readily reach for over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen—the most commonly used drugs in the U.S. But regular use of these drugs can lead to long-term side effects like intestinal damage, liver failure and more, recent research reveals. Before popping the pills, consider these alternative remedies for natural pain relief.
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