Four frequently asked questions about pain relief through arthritis rubs

Can I get relief from any arthritis rub if I have arthritis-related pain?
There are several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory creams, gels, and lotions that can be used topically as an arthritis rub, to get temporary relief from arthritic pain. Most such prescription skin gels and arthritic rubs contain ibuprofen or diclofenac as the active ingredient. Other key ingredients in most arthritic rubs are salicylates that reduce pain and swelling. Some arthritic rubs may also combine other ingredients such as eucalyptus oil or menthol which offer a cooling sensation that can temporarily distract from the pain. Capsaicin is a chemical that is a known pain blocker and may also be part of the chemical composition of an arthritis rub.

What are the best arthritic rubs available?
The most popular and effective arthritic rubs available in the American market include:

  • Voltaren gel
  • Bengay arthritis cream
  • Capzasin – HP
  • Myoflex
  • Sportscreme
  • Icy hot vanishing gel
  • Mineral ice

I am allergic to very strong smells. Are there any arthritic rubs that I can safely use?
There are several arthritis rubs such as aspercreme that are odor free. You could ask your pharmacists to recommend one that is odor free.

What are counterirritants used in arthritic rubs for?
Many arthritis rubs use ingredients such as methanol, oil of wintergreen, eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, eugenol, clove oil, etc., when rubbed topically over the skin these ingredients create a temporary cold or hot sensation which can temporarily offer a distraction from the pain. However, people who are allergic to counter-irritant additives in arthritis rubs are advised to opt for creams without these counter-irritants.

Do I need a physician’s prescription to buy an arthritis rub?
Arthritis rubs are over-the-counter products that are easily available at any chemist’s and can be bought without a doctor’s prescription. However, in case you are allergic to salicylates or to the strong odor associated with arthritis rubs, you might be best advised to request your doctor to prescribe an arthritis rub that will suit your specific requirements.

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