Not all people use topical creams when they are in pain. In fact, many people do not even consider that they would benefit from pain relief creams instead of pharmaceutical medications. Do these over the counter topical pain relief creams really work? Topical creams come in many forms: lotions, creams, gels, pastes, and sprays.
They work in different ways: some contain analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen; some contain capsaicin which works on nerve impulses, and some are counter-irritants which create a sensation of coolness or warmth to temporarily “overcome” pain signals. The effectiveness is dependent on how much of the active ingredient can move through the skin to the area of pain.