Arthritis cream pain relief

Updated July 19, 2017

If you have arthritis you probably know that sometimes ibuprofen is not enough to relieve your pain. You may use arthritis cream for pain relief. Over the counter arthritis gels and creams appear to have no serious side effects but there may be some burning or stinging at the application site. Be sure to wash your hands after applying arthritis cream and be careful not to touch your eyes when you have the cream on your hands.


Apply an arthritis cream that makes your skin feel hot or cold. These creams are called counterirritants. When applied they give you a sensation of coldness or warmth that gives you temporary relief from arthritis pain. These creams contain ingredients like eucalyptus oil, wintergreen oil or menthol. Icy Hot and Biofreeze are two popular counterirritants.

Topical analgesics

Use an arthritis cream that contains the same pain relieving substance as aspirin. Topical analgesics contain salicylates, which offer pain relief by reducing joint inflammation. If you take blood thinners or are allergic to aspirin do not use topical analgesics with salicylates without consulting your physician. Aspercreme and Bengay are two widely used topical analgesics.

Capsaicin creams

Heat up your arthritis pain with capsaicin cream. These arthritis creams are made with capsaicin, which is found in chilli peppers. Capsaicin is the substance that causes the burning sensation you get when eating hot peppers. These creams work best on joints that are close to the skin, like elbows, knees and fingers. You may need to use capsaicin cream regularly for up to two weeks before feeling the effects of pain relief. Capzasin is a popular brand of capsaicin cream.

Emu oil

Apply this blue arthritis cream to your joints for relief from stiffness and pain. Emu oil is said to easily penetrate the skin and work on the joints where its anti-inflammatory action helps reduce swelling and pain. Blue Emu contains emu oil, MSM, glucosamine and aloe vera.

Prescription creams

Use prescription creams for severe arthritis pain. Diclofenac gel is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug and may cause heart problems or stomach bleeding. This gel is applied to the skin over the affected joint four times daily. Your doctor might also prescribe lidocaine patches. These are placed on the skin above your painful joint and left there for up to 12 hours. Lidocaine acts to numb your joint to help relieve pain.

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