Topical anti-inflammatory gels and creams are often used for muscular pains, sprains and strains. Topical anti-inflammatory creams and gels are one of the fastest and safest ways to reduce inflammation and pain in muscles and joints. Today, there are so many creams out there to choose from, how do you know which one will actually give you some relief? The below information will help you determine which one is right for you, and our top 5 anti-inflammatory creams countdown.
I started this researching this because my husband suffers from lower back pain and has used every type of cream out there so he can get a comfortable night’s sleep. His number one go to is Penetrex to ease his pain and inflammation. He tested it out for a few days and noticed a big difference in his comfort when bending and stretching.
Aside from all that I wanted to know more about how these creams work and the best creams around for inflammation pain relief when I get the occasional flare up.
Drugs vs Creams
When anti-inflammatory medicine is taken in a drug form by mouth they work by blocking the chemical effect that are involved in the production of pain and inflammation at the site of injury. Anti-inflammatory creams or gels work in the same way but, instead of having an effect on the whole body, they only work on the area you have applied them to.
When the creams are applied they are absorbed into your skin and then move deeper into areas of the body where there is inflammation. They relieve pain and reduce the swelling that affects joints and muscles when rubbed into the skin over the affected area. Using a cream as opposed to a drug means that the total amount of anti-inflammatory in your body is very low. This also means that you are much less likely to experience any side-effect to the medicine.
Through the topical delivery, anti-inflammatory cream medications are absorbed through the skin, bypassing the stomach entirely. This can also be of benefit to people who already take a large amount of oral medication, have difficulty taking pills, or have sensitive stomachs.
People usually use creams compared to drugs because they are less likely to cause side effects and can be used for short periods after a ‘flare up’ of the pain or problem. Prescription drugs are often the next step for those who experience longer term or chronic pain.
Top 5 Anti-Inflammatory Creams
5. Blue Emu
Blue Emu’s main active ingredient is the emu oil which has been widely used to treat conditions from dry skin to muscle pain and bruising. How it works is that the emu oil contains fatty acids that might reduce swelling and pain. There has been some evidence that emu oil may work well for sudden inflammation rather than ongoing pain or joint inflammation. Although it is cheaper it does not contain as many active ingredients to ease inflammation, and may not provide the pain relief from sustained injuries that our number #1 cream can.
4. Icy Hot
These types of creams are heat rubs which are meant to relieve muscle sprains, strains and bruises. IcyHot manages pain in two ways, by “icy to dull the pain, and hot to relax it away” IcyHot works by stimulating nerve receptors which causes you to first feel the coolness and then the heat. The central ingredient in these creams are menthol/camphor which is a topical pain killer.
Sombra is a good gel for immediate pain relief, acute muscle or joint injuries, and generally it will allow you to move freely without pain even with an acute injury. The gel heats the muscles and allows your body to start the healing process normally. I like the fact that it’s made from natural ingredients (red chilli seeds) and has a light orange smell.
Biofreeze relieves pain very fast and helps muscle healing by increasing the blood flow locally. Its natural ingredients formula is safe and extremely effective for muscle pain. It works on joints too providing short term pain relief, however, for joints we still prefer Penetrex. If your joint is healthy, but is just sore from overuse Biofreeze is probably the best option, but if you have a chronic problem, Penetrex might work better for you. Biofreeze is similar to our no. #3 creams, having a strong but pleasant menthol and camphor smell, as well as a burning/cooling sensation when applied.
Now a lot of people are saying good things about Penetrex. It’s been rated Amazon’s #1 bestseller in muscle and joint, pain relief homeopathic remedies, and has also been Amazon’s #1 Pain Relief Medication & Treatment for 3 Years running. Penetrex is one of the best creams for treating chronic muscle and joint problems. The cream is easily absorbed through the skin and the active ingredients stimulate the body to regenerate and actually heal the joint. What we personally like about Penetrex is that it basically has no odor, is easily absorbed and doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy.