Among the top over-the-counter pain relief creams as of 2014 for arthritic hands are BENGAY, Icy Hot, Aspercreme, Myoplex and Capzasin. All of these except Capzasin use salicylates as their main active ingredient and thus are not safe for use more than four times per day, notes Healthline.
BENGAY combines salicylates, menthol and camphor to treat arthritis pain while providing both cooling and warming sensations, says Healthline. Icy Hot comes in versions with and without menthol. Aspercreme doesn't contain either menthol or camphor, so it is a good choice for patients whose skin is sensitive to those ingredients.
Myoplex and Sportscreme are non-greasy. Myoplex is also odorless, and Sportscreme is thicker than most of the other salicylate creams. Capzasin takes advantage of the pain-blocking attributes of capsaicin, the element that causes the heat in spicy peppers, as Healthline explains.