There's nothing quite like starting your day off with an aching back or leg muscles that are practically screaming in pain from yesterday's workout (or whatever caused your achy muscles). When soreness occurs, you want to have one of the best muscle pain relief creams on hand so you can soothe your aches immediately.
Though there are many ointments, gels, creams, and even patches out there, many of which work the same way. Counterirritant ingredients like menthol and camphor produce cool and hot sensations. This provides temporary relief because the cold and warmth block pain signals from traveling to your brain. While the relief is only temporary, because you're treating the pain topically as opposed to popping an aspirin, the results are nearly instant. Plus, the act of massaging the product into the skin helps to increase blood flow, which in turn promotes healing and relaxes muscles.
Another popular ingredient in muscle pain relief creams and gels is methyl salicylate, which is a counterirritant and a pain reliever whose structural properties are actually similar to aspirin. While some common ingredients like menthol and arnica are plant-based, many of these creams still contain additional ingredients meant for pain relief, which means they shouldn't be used every day for long periods of time – especially if you're trying to mask the pain of a more serious injury. And just as important, make sure to read and follow each one's individual directions.
Ahead, here are some of the best muscle pain relief creams, whether you're in need of a post-workout treatment or relief from minor joint pain and stiffness.