The Best Arthritis Cream Available Over-The-Counter

Jamie Hayes

Arthritis pain can affect every part of your life, so managing it as best as possible is essential. There are all kinds of different relief medications out there, but they aren’t all perfect for everyone. If you’ve already tried over-the-counter pills and they just aren’t doing it for you, arthritis creams can be an easy solution to relieve your aching joints. So, what’s the best arthritis cream?


Arthritis creams are perfect for when you need fast, short-term relief for your joint pain, and they can work wonders. In general, they include three main ingredients that help mitigate pain and get you back to feeling normal:

The Ingredients

Capsaicin is actually the same thing that makes chili peppers spicy. However, in arthritis creams, it has the exact opposite effect. It blocks your skin’s pain receptors, reducing the pain on site.

Salicylates help to reduce inflammation, which is one of the main causes of arthritis pain. By reducing swelling, salicylates give your joints some much-needed relief.

Counterirritants give arthritis creams that soothing heating or cooling feeling. These include things like cinnamon oil, menthol, or eucalyptus oil. While this doesn’t mean arthritis creams work like an ice pack or a hot water bottle, the hot/cold sensation actually distracts your brain from the pain, making it easier to manage.

Safe and Easy

One of the best things about arthritis creams is that they’re extremely low risk and easy to use. As with any other therapeutic product, you should always follow the instructions given on the label, but these creams provide a fast, easy, and effective way to gain short-term relief for the most common sites of arthritis pain, such as the knees or the hands.

But just because arthritis creams are easy and effective, there are still some key differences between the big brands. Here’s a quick guide to help you pick the best arthritis cream for you.

Icy Hot Vanishing Gel

Icy Hot gives you the best of both worlds: first, it gives a soothing, cool sensation, then it comes in with the heat. It works with menthol and salicylates, but don’t worry, the menthol scent quickly fades if you’re not a fan. For people looking for a gel, this is your go-to option.

Bengay Ultra Strength Pain Relief Cream

Picture Icy Hot, but with a little more oomph. Bengay is an industry-standard, and its salicylates, menthol, and camphor provide deep, penetrating relief for joint and muscle pain in a soothing cream.

Dr. Christopher’s Cayenne Heat Ointment

People looking for a more natural alternative, look no further than Dr. Christopher’s. Made from a blend of cayenne pepper, virgin olive oil, oil of wintergreen, beeswax, and other 100% natural ingredients, this ointment works wonders on your achy joints and muscles—just be careful not to get it in your eyes!

Biofreeze Professional Pain Relief RollOn

If you don’t like how creams and gels can get a little messy, then Biofreeze’s RollOn pain relief is here for you. Instead of scooping out cream with your fingers, the RollOn uses a massaging roller ball to easily and evenly apply their natural, menthol-based soothing gel.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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