Experts recommend Capzasin, Bengay and Icy Hot for arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic. Topical medications work best when applied on joints close to the surface of the skin.
The most common active ingredients in creams used to ease arthritis include capsaicin, which prevents nerve cells from sending pain messages, salicylates, which contain the same pain-relieving chemical as aspirin, and counterirritants, which produce hot and cold sensations, states Mayo Clinic. Patients should wash their hands thoroughly after application of topical cream to avoid skin irritation and should always consult a doctor before beginning a new medication. Topical pain medications for severe arthritis are available by prescription.