A small injury can ruin your day, but a serious injury or disease cause long-lasting pain that affects your quality of life. Chronic pain leads many to become addicted to oral painkillers, which can have serious long-term effects. Say no to pain pills with the following safe and effective topical analgesics.
Below, we discuss three pain relievers that can provide relief from basic muscle aches, sports injuries, and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Keep reading to learn which over the counter pain reliever is right for you.
Penetrex Pain Relief Cream
Active Ingredient(s): Arnica (a herbal extract from the sunflower family), vitamin B6, MSM, pyridoxine, glucosamine, and more.
Price: $19.95 for a 2oz. jar
Penetrex, ranked #1 in its field for 5 years in a row, offers immediate relief that lasts and is mainly used for inflammation-related conditions and injuries including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- General aches (back, neck, shoulder, hips, feet, etc.)
Penetrex is an effective treatment for discomfort associated with tendonitis, sciatica, bursitis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and plantar fasciitis (PF). It is also a favorite for athletes suffering from ailments like shin splints, tennis elbow, and golfer’s elbow. This pain reliever can be used alone or in combination with therapy, braces, splints, etc.
As the name implies, this topical analgesic penetrates directly through the skin to the problem area (this is why it works far better than oral pain relievers, which must pass the stomach and liver). The Penetrex formula is non-oily, stainless, and paraben-free. It features a “vanishing” peppermint scent.
Penetrex doesn’t just mask the symptoms associated with inflammation. The formula is designed to relieve, heal, and repair. This pain relief cream speeds recovery from sports injuries and is an appropriate treatment for post-surgical pain.
Consumer Opinion: 4.3/5 Stars
“Great for a pre- or post- workout treatment,” writes Danny R.
Penetrex is perfect for achy knees, hands, and fingers. Users agree that it takes between 7 and 10 days for Penetrex to start working. After that, relief is fast.
“I use arthritis compression gloves at night, but they weren’t doing enough to relieve the pain in my hands and fingers. Now I use the gloves and Penetrex. It took about 7 days for Penetrex to start working, but WOW! My arthritis pain is completely gone!” writes Louise M.
Keep in mind that each person’s body responds to pain (and pain relievers) differently. Some users experienced no effect, while others said the relief wasn’t strong enough.
Penetrex is advertised for neuropathy, but most users found this cream ineffective for that purpose.
Biofreeze Pain Relieving Roll On
Active ingredient(s): Menthol (4%)
Price: $24.13 for a pack of 3, 3oz. tubes
Biofreeze works like an ice pack to provide a cooling sensation and immediate relief. It is recommended by chiropractors for achy muscles and joints.
Biofreeze’s natural formula is paraben-free and penetrates quickly for immediate relief. It has a slightly minty smell.
The convenient roll-on tubes are easy to use, non-messy, and portable.
Consumer Opinion 4.7/5 stars
Users like the roll-on tube because it makes application easy and provides a massaging action during application.
Most users agree that Biofreeze’s new formula (which omits camphor) makes the product virtually useless. Nearly every positive review I could find features the old formula, which the company no longer uses. On top of that, the roll-on is green and will stain clothing.
Reviewers recommend Equate’s “Cool & Heat,” which has 16% menthol and costs less.
Asutra’s FREEZE (ice the pain)
Active ingredient(s): menthol, arnica, and other natural ingredients including aloe vera extract, ilex paraguariensis leaf extract, tea tree oil, and vitamin E
Price: $11.95 for 1 3oz. bottle ($17.95 for 2 bottles)
FREEZE is used mainly by athletes and runners to sooth sore muscles and joints. Its herbal formula will stop pain in its tracks with an instant chilling effect (in 5 minutes or less).
FREEZE is ideal for anyone seeking quick and cool pain relief. Application feels like ice water. It dries quickly and won’t stain your clothing.
The concentrated menthol formula has a pleasant minty smell and no side effects. The thin viscosity allows it to penetrate quicker than competitors. FREEZE comes in a convenient roll-on tube (like Biofreeze). It’s easy to store in a gym bag and good to use on hard-to-reach areas of the body.
Consumer Opinion 4.9/5 stars
“I go to physical therapy twice a week for my leg pain. My therapist recommended FREEZE ice the pain. I use it on my knees and it feels great! Pain relief lasts about 2 hours,” writes Andrea L.
Users who experimented with all three products prefer FREEZE over Penetrex and Biofreeze.
“The perfect natural approach to pain relief!” writes Buddy H. According to reviews, FREEZE is not a good choice for those suffering from PF.
Common Aches and Pains
Which product you choose depends on the source of your pain. If you suffer from muscle soreness/stiffness associated with exercise or work, FREEZE is the product for you. It’s fast acting, portable, and works just like an ice pack to soothe muscles and joints.
For foot aches and conditions like PF, go with Penetrex.
For temporary back pain caused by work or exercise, go with FREEZE. For chronic back pain, post-surgery back pain, or back pain resulting from disease, opt for Penetrex.
Penetrex is also your answer for joint and knee pain caused by arthritis or injury. For temporary joint and knee pain caused by exercise or sports, go for FREEZE.
Price is not a concern here, as all three products are less than $25. We can cross out Biofreeze due to its new and unimproved formula.
Penetrex is best for conditions like tendonitis, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. It has no chilling effect and takes about one week to start working. Penetrex is designed for sports injuries, chronic pain, and pain associated with diseases like fibromyalgia. This brand earns my vote for best pain reliever overall for the price.
The manufacturer (Biomax Health Products, Inc.) offers an unlimited 100% satisfaction guarantee if you don’t like it. For just $20, it’s worth trying.
Ice has long been the go-to treatment for temporary pain and injuries. Coldness helps to numb pain and reduce swelling/inflammation by slowing blood flow. FREEZE is perfect for anyone looking for immediate, temporary relief from stiff or sore muscles. The manufacturer (Asutra) also offers a full refund if you aren’t satisfied.