Skip to content

Osteoarthritis Health Center

Select An Article

Arthritis and Topical Painkillers

    Font Size

    If your arthritis pain is mild, if you have only a few joints affected by the disease, or if oral medications don't completely control your pain, you may find a topical pain reliever or topical analgesic useful.

    Topical painkillers are available as creams, salves, or gels. The active ingredients of topical painkillers include:

    Recommended Related to Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Hyaluronic Acid Joint Injections

    In the U.S., almost 21 million adults are living with osteoarthritis. And one of the body's critical joints, the knee, is the most frequently affected. More than 30% of people over 50 have kneeosteoarthritis. So do a whopping 80% of those over 65. In fact, about 100,000 people in the U.S. can't get from their bed to the bathroom because of osteoarthritis of the knee. Getting hyaluronic acid joint injections is one treatment that may ease the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid...

    Read the Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Hyaluronic Acid Joint Injections article > >

    • Capsaicin. Found naturally in hot peppers, capsaicin is found in drug stores under the brand names of Capzasin-P, Zostrix, and other drugs. Capsaicin works by blocking the transmission of a pain-relaying substance called substance P to the brain.
    • Counter-irritants. Camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol are found in a variety of agents such as ArthriCare, Eucalyptamint, and Icy Hot amongst others. These substances are able to relieve pain by tricking the body to feel the coolness or heat of these agents.
    • Salicylates. This substance is available in Aspercreme, BenGay, and Flexall. Salicylates work by decreasing pain and inflammation.
    • NSAIDs. Topical NSAIDs penetrate the skin barrier and deliver the medication to the site of pain. Pennsaid and Voltaren gel are examples.


    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on January 13, 2015
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    elderly hands
    Even with arthritis pain.
    woman exercising
    Here are 7 easy tips.
     
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    How it helps arthritis, migraines, and dental pain.
    chronic pain
    Get personalized tips to reduce discomfort.
     
    Keep Joints Healthy
    SLIDESHOW
    Chronic Pain Healthcheck
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    close up of man with gut
    Article
    man knee support
    Article
     
    woman with cold compress
    QUIZ
    Man doing tai chi
    Article
     
    hand gripping green rubber ball
    Slideshow
    person walking with assistance
    Slideshow