The market offers a large choice of topical creams, ointments and gels for arthritis. While they are not the only part of the therapy, they can help immensely. They relieve pain, reduce the swelling and make your daily life a whole lot easier. Since the choice is big, you may not be sure which cream would work best for you. We will tell you a bit about arthritis creams and help you choose the type which will work for you.
Ingredients of arthritis creams
There are several types of arthritis creams. Used on their own or in combination, they all have the same purpose – to reduce swelling and relieve pain in the joints. In case you suffer from mild to moderate arthritis pains, these creams may be the only solution you need.
Some commonly used creams contain counterirritants. These are the ingredients such as capsaicin; or menthol, eucalyptus, camphor or cinnamon oil. Their main purpose is to relieve the pain by heating or cooling the skin when you apply them. The trick is to shift the focus of the brain away from the pain, and thus bring relief. Most of these creams are available over the counter, without the prescription.
Many arthritis creams contain salicylates, which are similar to aspirin. They are efficient if you want to avoid the side effects of taking aspirin orally, but they may not work for everyone.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are also sometimes used in arthritis creams. They are less damaging to the overall health than if you take them orally. Although there are still not many topical creams with these ingredients, there are several types you can buy with a prescription in the US.
How to choose?
If you are diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor will advise you which type of topical cream may work best for you. There are different types of the condition, so not every may benefit from the same cream type. However, you can generally buy over-the-counter creams with counterirritants. These ingredients are natural and they are not likely to cause you any harm.