Topical pain relief remedies are becoming a major player in athletes’ lives. They help us release tight and sore muscles after practice and allow us to push ourselves harder while training to reach new goals.

This is why we’ve decided to perform “hands-on” research by using the products on ourselves.

Hopefully, you will be able to make a better decision that will help you in your training. All the following products are OTC (Over the counter – nonprescription) Mainstream remedies

How does topical pain relief work?

All topical pain relief needs to be applied to the area that hurts, either by rubbing it on, spraying it, or squeezing it onto the skin. The active ingredients in these creams in most cases are powerful terpenes that pose analgesic effect, this is why they can help reduce pain in a more natural way.

What are the main OTC active pain relieving ingredients?

Counter-irritants, such as menthol or camphor, work by causing an immediate cooling and heating sensation that distracts you from the pain.

salicylic acid chemical structure

Salicylates, also known as topical NSAIDs, are an active ingredient in aspirin as well as in some topical pain relief formulas. They work by blocking the pain while also reducing inflammation in the joints and skin.

Capsaicin is derived from chili pepper

Capsaicin is derived from chili pepper seeds and used often in natural topical pain relief creams. It disrupts your body’s ability to send pain messages to the brain.

You are welcomed to explore our results and choose the right remedy that will fit best for your needs. So without further ado let us start with our favorite number 1 Pain relief cream.

#1 – Our Winner – CBDMEDIC Back and Neck Pain Relief


CBDMEDIC produces the most efficient, all-natural pain relief cream and uses both menthol and camphor synergistically, creating an analgesic effect that is more powerful than creams that use only one active ingredient.

Back and Neck Cream interrupts your body’s pain messages to the brain, which quickly lowers your pain awareness for instant pain relief. Back and Neck Cream is particularly effective for minor back and neck pain, aching, sore muscles, joint pain due to arthritis, and all kinds of bruises, strains, and sprains.

The powerful warming or cooling sensation brings instant relief from pain, reducing symptoms of inflammation and improving blood flow to the affected area for faster healing. Along with higher than usual concentrations of menthol and camphor for faster pain relief, MEDIC’s natural ingredients are blended with CBD Hemp extract from the Cannabis Sativa L plant.

My secret pain relief product


In the image: CBDMEDIC Active Sport products


CBDMEDIC uses only Hemp extract derived from organic, natural, THC-free hemp. It is guaranteed to be non-psychoactive and will not get you high or alter your state of mind. CBDMEDIC is OTC-registered, with all products produced in a US-based facility that does not use animal testing.

Back and Neck Cream comes in an easy to apply tube, so that you can simply rub the cream onto the painful area, and enjoy immediate and longer-lasting pain relief. You can buy Back and Neck Cream over the counter in retail locations, or online, with fast shipping and no-quibble refunds if you are not satisfied.


#2 Second Best –  Sore No More Original Warm Therapypain relief cream 2

Sore No More’s Warm therapy gel uses natural capsaicin extract, along with menthol and camphor, to create a powerful warming effect on any sore area of the body. Sore No More helps loosen and warm up tight muscles before or after exercise, encourages good circulation as an aid to healing, and reduces inflammation. It’s effective for pain that includes arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Sore No More’s active capsaicin extract makes it more effective over time, building up to a warm tingling sensation whenever it’s used, while the menthol and camphor provide fast acting pain relief by disrupting the pain messages that cause discomfort.

Sore No More is all natural, and available over the counter or online without a prescription.

#3  Bronze Medal – IcyHot Pain Relieving Cream

pain relief cream 3

IcyHot is a topical pain relief cream that uses menthol together with methyl salicylate to bring relief for minor pain. IcyHot is effective for joint pain, backache, and arthritic pain, as well as all types of bruises, sprains, and cramps. The menthol quickly heats up the affected area to interrupt pain messages and reduce your sensation of pain, while the active salicylate helps to reduce inflammation.

IcyHot works as a non-greasy cream that is easy to apply to the affected area. It provides temporary pain relief that starts working immediately, to enable you to get on with your day. You can buy IcyHot cream online or from retail locations, without a prescription.

#4 Ultra Strength BenGay Cream

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Ultra Strength BenGay cream uses camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate as active ingredients to relieve the pain of backache, arthritis, and muscles that are sprained, strained, or bruised. BenGay cream is fast acting, to provide instant and deep relief from aches and pain around your body. It reduces inflammation, both heats and cools the affected area to soothe the pain, and blocks pain messages to the brain so as to reduce your perception of discomfort.

BenGay is available online or over the counter, without a prescription, promising deep and fast-acting pain relief.

#5 Penetrex Pain Relief Therapy

pain relief cream 5

Penetrex combines menthol (peppermint oil) and camphor, together with vitamin B6 and arnica extracts, into a pain relief cream. It works using freezing and heating sensations to reduce inflammation and decrease your aches and pains. Penetrex is recommended for many types of pains, including plantar fasciitis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, and other joint and muscle pain.

You can buy Penetrex online without a prescription. It comes in a large tub for quick application, and can be applied as often as 3-4 times a day for up to 10 days. It can take time for Penetrex to be effective, with some users needing to use it for a couple of weeks before they feel pain relief.  

#6 Zostrix Natural Pain Relief

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Zostrix is a topical pain relief cream that uses capsaicin to provide effective, long-term pain relief. Unlike some pain relief creams, Zostrix builds up over time to provide stronger pain relief the longer you use it. This is because the capsaicin slowly reduces the sensitivity of pain receptors, to prevent your brain from receiving pain messages and decrease your aches and discomfort. The active capsaicin means that you’ll only reach get optimum efficacy after 2-4 weeks of continuous use.

Because it uses capsaicin, Zostrix users are warned not to apply too much, or to use it just before strenuous exercise. Zostrix’ ingredients are entirely natural and the product is formulated in the US. It’s available over the counter in retail locations and online.

#7 Aspercreme

pain relief cream 7

Aspercreme uses salicylate as its active pain-relieving ingredient, so you’ll get fast pain blocking action using NSAIDs. Aspercreme works to reduce inflammation and block pain messages from reaching the brain. It’s effective for various types of aches and pains, including minor arthritis pain, joint pain, and muscle pain, as well as bruises, strains, and sprains.  

You can buy Aspercreme online, or over the counter in many pharmacies and other retailers, without a prescription.

#8 SportsCreme

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SportsCreme offers a deep, penetrating pain relief rub that’s recommended for athletes looking to relieve sore muscles, as well as anyone suffering from bruises, cramps, arthritis, backache, and other minor aches and pains. The active ingredient of salicylate helps you to feel better fast by interrupting pain messages to the brain and reducing inflammation instantly.

SportsCreme can be bought online or in store, over the counter and without a prescription.

#9 Biofreeze Cream

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Biofreeze cream is one of the US’s older pain relief creams. It relies only on menthol to ‘freeze’ the painful area. This disrupts pain messages and reduces your discomfort for instant pain relief. You can use BioFreeze on most of your joints, and your back, neck, and shoulders to ease the muscle pain such as strains and sprains, arthritis and joint pain, minor backache, and other sore body parts.

Biofreeze is made using only high quality, Pharmacopeia-grade ingredients without harmful chemicals such as parabens. You can buy it online or over the counter without a prescription.

#10 Tiger Balm Red

pain relief cream 10

Tiger Balm Red is a warm version of the classic Tiger Balm ointment. It’s appropriate for many types of pain, including insect bites as well as muscle aches and sore joints. Tiger Balm Red is made from all-natural herbal ingredients in a smooth ointment for easy application. Menthol and camphor oil are active ingredients, along with clove oil and cajuput oil for extra heating properties to quickly relieve aches and decrease your pain and discomfort.

Tiger Balm Red can be bought online or over the counter without any prescription, at many retail locations. It usually works instantly, but if there’s no improvement within 7 days, users are recommended to consult a doctor.