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Joint pain and inflammation can be quite unpleasant, but the best arthritis creams may ease those symptoms. Many over-the-counter creams, gels, and rubs help mitigate swelling, pain, and stiffness from arthritis. While arthritis pain relief treatment is multifaceted and different for every individual, topical treatments may help.
How do topical arthritis creams work?
Many people with arthritis use topical treatments alone or alongside prescription medications to dull their pain. Topical treatments, which are available in creams, gels, sprays, and roll-ons, are absorbed through the skin, and are most effective when they are rubbed on the joints that are closest to the skin’s surface, such as the joints in your hands or knees. As always, you should consult with your doctor on your pain management regime.
What are the best arthritis creams made out of?
Capsaicin, counterirritants, and salicylates are the most common active ingredients found in over-the-counter topical arthritis treatments.
- Capsaicin: When applied to the skin regularly, capsaicin activates specific nerve receptors, preventing them from processing pain signals properly. Many studies have shown that capsaicin effectively reduces pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia, according to the Arthritis Foundation. In a 2010 German study, joint pain decreased by nearly 50 percent after using 0.05-percent capsaicin cream for three weeks.
- Counterirritants: Menthol and camphor are counterirritants that produce heating or cooling sensations when rubbed on the skin. These sensations temporarily reject your ability to feel joint pain.
- Salicylates: Salicylates have the pain-relieving substance found in aspirin. If you are taking blood thinners or you are allergic to aspirin, talk to your doctor before using a topical treatment that contains salicylates.
Arthritis creams are just one of the products that make life easier, whether you have chronic joint pain, sore muscles, or minor aches. Scroll down to see the top 12 best-rated arthritis creams on the market below!
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Best Arthritis Cream Pain Biofreeze
1. Best Pain-Relief Gel for Arthritis
Get fast-acting, cooling pain relief for muscles and joints with the arthritis pain-relief gel from Biofreeze. This pain reliever is a topical, colorless analgesic that is clinically used and recommended by healthcare professionals, including chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers. Biofreeze applies easily and penetrates quickly to relieve aches and pains in the hand, wrist, elbow, foot, ankle, knee, hip, back, neck, and shoulders. Most importantly, this pain reliever is NSAID-free, research-proven, long lasting, and completely free of parabens and propylene glycol. It is made with USP-grade ingredients, and it is available in original green and dye-free versions.
Where to buy: $48, Amazon
Best Osteoarthritis Cream
2. Best Osteoarthritis Cream
Get relief from chronic joint pain caused by the degenerative joint disease osteoarthritis by rubbing Arthritis Wonder on your sore hands, knees, and lower back. It contains natural wogonin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that provides maximum relief from painful inflammation and swelling. For the best results, apply consistently for seven days, and then on an as-needed basis. Some will feel immediate relief, while others may not feel relief until after a few days of continual use. Results depend on the severity and progression of arthritis in each person. The product is free of harmful chemicals, and it has a refreshing peppermint scent that vanishes quickly.
Where to buy: $18.04, Amazon
Best Rated Arthritis Cream
3. Best-Rated Arthritis Cream
Trusted by more than two million sufferers since 2009, Penetrex Pain Relief Cream by Biomax Health Products, Inc. is one of the best-rated arthritis creams on the market. Get quick, strong, and long-lasting relief by rubbing it any place you feel pain, discomfort, tingling, or numbness. Though Penetrex works great on its own, it is safe to use with heating pads, ice packs, arthritis gloves, back pain massagers, and other complementary therapies and supplements. Best of all, if you aren’t happy with your results, you can get a full refund.
Where to buy: $18.98, Amazon
Best Pain Relief Rub
4. Best Pain-Relief Rub for Arthritis
Outback All-Natural Pain Relief is one of the few arthritis creams on the market that provides pain relief with non-GMO and cruelty-free ingredients. This no-frills product contains just four natural ingredients: vanilla, olive oil, blue malle eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. Since none of these ingredients induce temperature sensations, your skin will not feel a warming or cooling sensation when used. For the best results, apply Outback Pain Relief liberally to the affected area and massage it in gently until it is absorbed through the skin. The more consistently you use it, the more effective it will become. As your symptoms improve, you can reduce the frequency of applications. Most importantly, if you don’t get the results you expected or don’t absolutely love Outback, you can request a full refund. It offers a 100-percent money back guarantee without any questions.
Where to buy: $19.95, Amazon
Best Natural Arthritis Spray
5. Best All-Natural Pain Relief Spray for Arthritis
Whether you experience joint pain, arthritis, leg and muscle cramps, headaches, congestion, or fibromyalgia, Eucalyptus Jack Pain Relief Spray can help ease your aches and pains. It is specially formulated to provide natural, longer-term relief thanks to ingredients like medicinal-grade eucalyptus, grapeseed, aloe vera, and jojoba oils. All of these ingredients are potent and effective, so this spray really works. The product is completely natural and contains no additives or menthol. Since it's free of menthol, no one will know you're wearing it. In addition to helping with sore muscle and aching joints, this formula is effective in easing skin irritations, like eczema and psoriasis. Eucalyptus Jack guarantees 100-percent customer satisfaction. If you aren’t completely happy with your purchase in the first 90 days, return it for a replacement or a refund.
Where to buy: $19.89, Amazon
Best Arthritis Pain Management
6. Best Arthritis Pain Management Recovery Cream
Enduras Recovery Cream for Pain Management by Epiphany Therapeutics helps ease the swelling, pain, and inflammation caused by arthritis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, and plantar fasciitis. By calming inflammation and pain with this recovery cream, you can get back to the activities and hobbies you enjoy.
Where to buy: $58, Amazon
Arthritis Cream Pain Relief Neck Back Shoulder Stiffness Swelling
7. Best Homeopathic Arthritis Cream
Before pain gets in your way, treat it naturally at the first sign of discomfort with pain-relief Arnicare Cream by Boiron. This cream relieves muscle pain and stiffness and reduces pain, swelling, and discoloration from bruises. With its soothing effect, it is ideal for use on sensitive skin. This non-sticky, non-greasy cream is great for massaging sore muscles, mainly because of Arnica montana, or mountain daisy, which has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever. Arnicare Cream works naturally with your body, so there’s no risk of overdose, no contraindications, no known drug interactions, and a very low risk of side effects when used as directed. Also, this pain relief cream is unscented and free of parabens.
Where to buy: $7.12, Amazon
Best Over The Counter Arthritis Cream
8. Best Over-the-Counter Arthritis Cream
Topricin Pain Relief Cream is a safe, effective treatment for those who can’t tolerate strong prescription and non-prescription oral pain medication. By supporting the body's natural processes that work to heal the pain-causing cells, you get fast relief from joint and muscle pain, nerve pain, and headaches when you use this cream. For best results, use locally with repetitive motion injuries, sprains and strains, and lower back pain. This product, which is made in the US, is safe for people of all ages.
Where to buy: $17.66, Amazon
Best Anti Inflammatory Arthritis Cream
9. Best Anti-Inflammatory Gel for Arthritis
Penetrex's Pain Relief Roll-On penetrates quickly to relieve aches and pains from arthritis and sore muscles and joints. Some customers said it also helped relieve head pain caused by migraines. This gel comes in a convenient roll-on, making it easier to apply. An extra bonus is that the three-ounce bottle is a TSA-approved size, making it perfect for traveling.
Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
Arthritis Pain Relief Cream Maximum
10. Best Arthritis Cream for Maximum Pain Relief
Get relief from pain caused by arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, and other conditions by rubbing on Dr. Pergolizzi’s OxyRub. One clinical study showed OxyRub delivered double the relief of a leading store-bought brand of pain cream. OxyRub harnesses the soothing power of menthol, a proven over-the-counter pain reliever, in combination with an essential oxygenated oil, which provides fast-acting, long-lasting pain relief. Feel good using this cream that works without leaving your skin feel greasy. It has a pleasant citrus scent, and the formula causes no burning, irritation, or harmful side effects.
Where to buy: $14.98, Amazon
Best Deep Penetrating Arthritis Cream
11. Best Deep-Penetrating Arthritis Cream
Get relief from minor aches and pains of muscles, and joints associated with minor arthritis, strains, sprains, bruises, and backaches from Blue Emu Pain Relief Cream. This odor-free, long-lasting topical pain reliever is made in the US with a formula that includes emu oil and aloe. Use this cream to get maximum arthritis pain relief.
Where to buy: $12.79, Amazon
Best Topical Arthritis Cream
12. Best Topical Arthritis Cream
Get hours of pain relief by using Capzasin-HP, an arthritis relief topical analgesic that contains 0.1 percent capsaicin. Mark J. Ouska writes, "I have serious arthritis in my thumb that needs a joint replacement surgery which I can't do for almost a year. To deal with the pain in the meantime, my Dr. recommended trying capzasin cream and this really, really helps reduce the pain. I am an avid athlete and was starting to have too much pain to keep up my routine and this allows me to manage the pain and still keep my very active lifestyle." When you are looking for a cream that offers hours of relief in your busy life, try Capzasin-HP.
Where to buy: $37.89, Amazon