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12 Topical Knee Pain Relievers In One Convenient Table

Capzasin Arthritis Pain Relief, Quick Relief Gel, No Mess Sponge Applicator 1.5 oz (42.5 g)
Penetrating Pain Relief; Deep Penetrating; Odor Free; simple backache
Zostrix Maximum Strength Natural Pain Relief Cream, Capsaicin Pain Reliever, Odor Free, 2 Ounce Tube
Zostrix acts naturally as a pain relief cream for the toughest pain points; Our Maximum Strength formula helps to naturally block your body's pain messenger
Bengay Ultra Strength Pain Relieving Cream, 2 Count, 4 Ounces Box, 8 Total Ounces
2-Count, 4 Ounce (Totally 8 Ounce); Fast acting long lasting formula; Relief from minor arthritis, backache, muscle & joint pain Specifications
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 32 oz. Pump, Green (Packaging May Vary)
Trusted by some of the world's best athletes and athletic trainers
Biofreeze Pain Relief Spray, 4 oz. Aerosol Spray, Pack of 2, Colorless (Packaging May Vary)
Trusted by some of the world's best athletes and athletic trainers
Salonpas pain relieving patch 140 patch - Pack of 1Pack (140 Patches Total)
For Temporary Relief of Minor Aches & Pains of Muscles & Joints; Provides up to 8 Hours of Relief in Every Patch
Heliopatch - Post Operative and injury pain relief recovery patch
Drug and Opioid Free - No harmful or addictive drugs.; Menthol/Methyl Salicylate Free - No pungent chemicals or odors.
Tiger Balm Patch, Pain Relieving Patch, 4"x2.75", 5-Count Packages (Pack of 6)
Long lasting proven pain relief formula; Includes points of interest information

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Topical Knee Pain Relief Analgesics

Joints are your body’s suspension system. They let you move freely and cushion your movements. Imagine driving a car that had a horrible screech or squeal every time you drove over a bump.

topical knee pain relief: man rubs ointment on his sore knee joint

Rubbing Your Knee with an Ointment Can Relieve Pain Fast

Would you continue to drive the car and ignore the loud sounds, or would you take your car to the mechanic to try and fix it? Pain in your joints is our body’s screech or squeal. It is a sign that something is not right. Pain in your joints is the warning that your ‘suspension’ is breaking down.

Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from intense joint pain daily. Here, let’s discuss how to handle joint pain without swallowing pills or using topical ointments, creams, sprays, and patches on the market.

From topical ointments to sprays to knee patches for the pain, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Let’s get started! Here are the ones you should consider:

Topical Joint Salves

In your local pharmacy, you will find an entire aisle dedicated to pain relief. There is everything from topical ointments to braces. All these choices can make things confusing. Choosing the right one for you can present a major set of challenges. What will work best to relieve your pain?

Should you go with a couple of different topical ointments? Will one do the trick? Here the various ingredients you can find in over-the-counter topical ointments and what effect they will give your joint and knee pain.


The same ingredient found in chili peppers helps a lot with joint pain. It causes a burning sensation in your throat, but on the skin, it actually confuses your nerves into not sending pain signals.

You need to use it a few times a day for a couple of weeks to really see the results. This makes topical ointments with capsaicin as the main ingredient a good choice if you have ongoing pain in your knees and joints like arthritis.

Whenever you use these topical ointments, make sure to wash your hands really well after use. You may even want to use gloves during application so that you don’t accidentally get any in your eyes. Some popular brand names that include capsaicin are Capzasin and Zostrix.

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


If you find salicylates on the ingredient list, that means it contains the same sorts of properties found in aspirin. Topical ointments like this block inflammation caused by a specific set of fatty acid mediators called prostaglandins. Blocking these mediators also has a blood-thinning effect.

If you have an aspirin allergy or have been advised by your doctor to avoid aspirin for any reason, you should avoid these creams as well. But if you are ok with aspirin taken orally, try these directly on your knee. After all, their pain-relieving quality is right where you need it, and no stomach side effects to deal with!

Discuss your options with your doctor before deciding on a topical treatment. Popular brand names of topical ointments containing salicylates are Aspercreme and Bengay.

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


These types of topical ointments contain ingredients that trick your body into not feeling the pain in your joints by giving you another sensation to focus on. Ingredients like menthol or camphor cause a burning/cooling feeling when you rub it in which gives your nerves another irritation to focus on. While your skin focuses on the uncomfortable feeling of the cooling or burning, you are distracted from your joints. These are great choices too.

Popular name brand counterirritants are Icy Hot and Biofreeze

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Knee Joint Sprays

Sprays can be a great option when you have issues with mobility or reaching the pain. Using a spray for knee pain comes in handy when you can’t keep yourself bent over to rub in an ointment.

A spray would also work well for back pain you can’t reach. The majority of pain sprays are counterirritants. They work immediately on contact with the skin. The best sprays we could find by average rating were Biofreeze 360 Pain Relief Spray and Lifetime BlocPain Spray.

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Counterirritants contain menthol or camphor have an on-contact cooling or burning feeling to distract your nerves from the pain.

Other ingredients to look for in sprays would be glucosamine and chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) which, work like their equivalent pill forms. However, in a spray, they work directly because your skin allows them to go straight to your joint!

Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM Cream

Ever told a friend that your knee is really bothering you? Chances are good they will suggest a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to help. Why are glucosamine and chondroitin so good for joint pain that it’s become common knowledge?

Glucosamine is a natural ingredient that is found in healthy cartilage around your joints. As your cartilage wears down from overuse or injury, your levels of glucosamine drop with it. Taking a glucosamine supplement or using a topical solution, including it can build your glucosamine levels back up to support the cartilage you have left.

Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but in some studies, it has actually been shown to help with cartilage regeneration. Chondroitin is also a major ingredient of cartilage and works together with glucosamine to take care of your joints. When you combine the two, you get the most effective cartilage boosting, anti-inflammatory response to help your arthritis, joint, and knee pain.

MSM or Methyl Sulfonyl methane is a completely natural chemical found in plants that has been found to be super effective for pain relief for joints and muscles. It has also been found to be able to help in the reversal of muscle damage if taken on a consistent daily basis. The combination of the immediate relief of the counterirritant and the continued work of these powerful anti-inflammatories work well together.

You can get the combination of all three – Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM in tablet form; however, for our purposes here, you can also get them as a cream.

NaturesPlus Advanced Therapeutics Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Ultra Rx-Joint Cream - 4 oz Jar - High Potency Joint Support Cream - Greaseless - Penetrating Action
412 Reviews
NaturesPlus Advanced Therapeutics Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM Ultra Rx-Joint Cream - 4 oz Jar - High Potency Joint Support Cream - Greaseless - Penetrating Action
  • FAST ACTING - Our prescription strength formula penetrates deep underneath your skin providing you with joint pain relief when you need it most.
  • UNIQUE FORMULA - Natures Plus Ultra RX Joint Cream combines pure glucosamine, chondroitin and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
  • NATURAL JOINT PAIN RELIEF - Our joint cream is made with a proprietary botanical/nutrient-rich base, which includes silicon, magnesium, copper, zinc, and shea butter for maximum benefits.
  • GREASELESS UNSCENTED CREAM - Quick relief for your aches and pains without any smell or oily residue.
  • QUALITY MANUFACTURING - Our state of the art manufacturing facilities maintain adherence to superior standards and are FDA and NSF registered. All Natures Plus products are crafted with only safe, high-quality natural ingredients.

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pain Relieving Knee Patches

Here in the US, pain-relieving knee patches or any sort of pain patch seems like a fairly new idea. However, in the eastern world, pain patches are nothing new and have been used for a long time to treat specific areas for pain. It makes a lot of sense that if you have knee pain, you could stick the medicine directly to the area with knee patches and get relief. Here we discuss the differences in prescription patches and those found over-the-counter.

Prescription Knee Patches

These were the first patches available in the US. You have to get them by prescription, and they have heavier medications in them. The most popular pain-relieving prescription knee patches are lidocaine patches. These have a dose of lidocaine built into them, and you apply it directly to your joint.

Lidocaine is considered a local anesthetic because it dulls the nerves it’s applied to. So, instead of distracting the nerves, this medication stops them completely. The major downside to the heavy medicine of the prescription pain knee patches is a skin reaction to the medication.

It’s somewhat common to have a reaction to localized medicine. So, watch out for redness or itchiness after using it. Also, these types of patches come with the same sorts of risk for pain medication addiction that is associated with pills. It is recommended that you use these only as long as you have the pain and in exactly the way they are intended to avoid any issues.

Over the Counter Pain Relief Knee Patches

If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want to have to visit your doctor or are afraid of getting hooked on a medication, these over-the-counter solutions could work for you.

Unlike topical ointments, patches have a concentrated amount of medicine that goes specifically where you place the patch. They work immediately and don’t need to be re-applied often.

Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch

These patches contain some natural ingredients along with their primary ingredients of methyl salicylate and levomenthol. These ingredients dilate the blood vessels, relieve the pain, and have an anti-inflammatory effect afterward to keep the pain away.

Since these ingredients are also counterirritants, you feel some heating when you put it on, which also distracts the nerves from the pain while the medication has a chance to work.


The most amazing benefit to this patch is it works using no chemicals at all! With completely natural ingredients, these knee patches encourage inflammation to go down and the reversal of all sorts of pain flare-ups.

The active ingredients are glycerin, silver, and elemental magnesium. Elemental magnesium and colloidal silver are some of the most powerful relaxation minerals that have been found.

Magnesium can be used to treat a number of disorders that involve inflammation because it dilates blood vessels naturally and helps rebuild bone. You can get these ingredients through diet, but this patch has a concentrated dose of them that goes straight through the skin from the patch.

Tiger Balm Patch

Tiger balm has been used for a long time in Asia, especially in China and the surrounding countries as a natural pain reliever. These knee patches have a combination of camphor and capsicum extract, which provides the distraction and the heat, which sends the signals away from the pain. While the smell may be off-putting at first, these patches are effective and don’t come with many precautions.

Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Natural Topical Remedies for Pain Relief

If the thought of medications turns you off completely, there are natural ways to approach the problem as well. It’s pretty simple to make your own homemade topical ointments.

Cayenne Pepper

Don’t want to use a cream with capsaicin? Go right to the source. You can make your own natural ointment by mixing a couple of tablespoons of high-quality cayenne pepper with a cup of olive oil and rubbing it into the skin. This will have a similar effect to the over-the-counter capsaicin creams you buy at the pharmacy.

In addition to cayenne pepper, other hot chili peppers are also known for their health benefits and have been used since ancient times. Chili pepper, for example, is an anti-inflammatory spice.

Olive Oil

Speaking of olive oil, leave out the cayenne, and you still have a great anti-inflammatory rub for your joints. Simply rub two to three tablespoons on the affected area for some natural relief.


Turmeric has been shown to be just as effective as ibuprofen for knee pain and had resulted in fewer GI effects. It is available in capsule or tablet form and can also be found as an extract. The typical dose often used to help inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis is between 400 and 600 mg, taken three times daily.

Which is Best? Topical Ointments, Sprays, or Patches?

After learning about all the different types of pain relief out there for joint pain, how do you decide what’s best for you? This all comes down to what type of pain you are experiencing. You should always start with natural remedies first but, if those aren’t relieving your pain, you have to look at other options.

Is it from a recent injury, and you only need relief for a few days? Maybe a simple spray would be best. Do you have arthritis? Topical ointments with capsaicin may be best for its long term effects. If you are looking for a solution that means you won’t have to re-apply throughout the day and will stay on while you go about your day, knee patches could be your best bet. At the end of the day, the best solution is what works best for you and your pain.

Is It Safe To Use Topical Pain Relievers?

You need to pay attention to your body and the reaction you have to the ingredients in the medicine. You may experience some burning or stinging, depending on the medicine you chose. Specifically, for knee patches, keep an eye out for irritation where you place the knee patches. This could be redness, itching, or swelling. Again, talk to your doctor before using topical ointments or any topical pain relief that contains aspirin-like ingredients to make sure they are safe for you.

Knee Pain Relief May Be Just a Patch, Spray or Rub Away

With all the types of medications on the market for pain relief, it all depends on your pain and how you want to deal with it. Make sure to read your labels to find out what ingredients are in the topical ointments, sprays, or patches you’re choosing. If you don’t know what will work for you, try a variety of the different types of pain relief.

Try one of each of the different major ingredients and a natural solution as well. This way, you can determine which types of ingredients are most effective for your body, your joints, and your pain. If you reach a point where none of the over-the-counter or natural remedies are working for you, it could be time to see your orthopedic specialist.

As specialists in joint pain and injury, they will be able to diagnose the problem and help you find what will work best. If it turns out to be more of a long-term problem, they may give you a prescription for higher-level pain relieving knee patches.

Specialists are also aware of the latest treatments for pain and healing, so they will have much more information for you and can give you the best course of action. They could suggest you try different types of knee braces, for instance. They also may suggest you start a course of physical therapy treatments. Synovial fluid or cortisone injections are medical treatment, though, which go beyond the scope of this discussion.

Sources used for this article