Pain Relief With Topical Creams for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pain Relief With Topical Creams for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pain Relief Creams

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs as a result of swelling in the joints, which causes a lot of pain and difficulty to move. Since the condition is one that is managed with medication, finding relief from the constant pain is important to people in whatever way possible. Consuming a number of drugs is tiresome and unappealing, so finding pain medication that can be applied topically and will provide relief from pain is a great alternative.

There are a number of creams available on the market that can be used to help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. These creams, however, provide temporary relief and aren’t used to rid you of the pain forever. Instead of popping extra pills, you can use the creams to soothe the pain temporarily, but remember to always take your prescribed medication without fail for long-term management of the condition.

Topical Creams for Pain Relief

There are some main categories of topical rheumatoid arthritis pain relief medications that you need to consider. The categories include capsaicin, counterirritants, and salicylates. Research has brought to light the fact that topical medication containing salicylates give moderate pain relief on application.

  • Bengay – One product commonly available on the market that many patients use is Bengay. This topical solution has been reported to be quite beneficial by many users to ease the pain.
  • Icy Hot – This topical gel is another product which has counter irritant properties. Like the name says, it offers a cool feeling on initial application, which is followed by a deeper heat sensation that is very beneficial in distracting from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. With menthol and salicylates, Icy Hot is good for occasional use.
  • Aspercreme – For effective rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, this is an analgesic gel, which is optimal for people who don’t like the smell of the usual topical ointments with menthol. It has no counter-irritants and works by sending the salicylates to the region where there is pain through the skin on application.
  • Myoflex – This is a gel-based product for those who prefer to use topical rheumatoid arthritis medication that doesn’t leave an oily feeling on the skin. It is odorless and quickly absorbed by the skin.
  • Capsaicin HP – An effective solution for pain is a cream which blocks the pain sensation, known as capsaicin. However, if you find the heat from this product too harsh to tolerate, or if it causes you irritation, stop using this product immediately. Capsaicin is an ingredient which naturally occurs in hot chili, and it is used in medication to help with blocking the pain receptors offering temporary relief of discomfort.
  • Sportscreme – This is a product that is thicker than most on the market, and it contains salicylates. It should be rubbed and massaged well into the aching joints to provide temporary relief from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Combination products – Some creams for topical application available in the market offer a combination of salicylates with ingredients like menthol, eucalyptus, and cinnamon oil. These are ingredients which can help to distract from the pain by acting as counter-irritants that warm the skin.


When using these creams for pain relief associated with rheumatoid arthritis, ensure that you always follow the instructions as most of these creams are to be applied about four times in a day. There are multiple options available, so check with your doctor about using a salicylate-based cream if you have allergies to aspirin. While applying topical skin products, ensure you wash your hands prior to and after application, and do not touch your eyes or mucous membrane to avoid irritation to these sensitive areas.


If you are on blood thinners, then discuss this with your doctor before using creams with salicylates. Additionally, any allergic symptoms should immediately be reported to your physician, and the medical ointment should be discontinued. With these creams, one can hope to find some kind of relief that will help you to manage rheumatoid arthritis better.

Marlene WallaceMarlene Wallace

Marlene is a seasoned RN and health writer. When not writing, Marlene enjoys gardening, traveling and volunteering at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics in Toronto.

Apr 2, 2014
print this
Click here to see comments