Muscle pain creams are topical painkillers applied on the skin to relieve joint and muscle pain.  They are available in the form of analgesic creams, gels, rubs, and ointments. They can be rubbed on the skin or applied as patches onto the skin over painful muscles or joints to alleviate the pain.

The best muscle pain relief creams can be used to treat acute musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues) pain caused by:

  • Minor aches and pains
  • Pulled or sore muscles
  • Stiffness of muscles
  • Arthritis
  • Sprains and strains

Different muscle relaxant cream use different ingredients. Nonetheless, the most common ingredients include:

Capsaicin– they cause a warm tingling or burning sensation when applied on the skin. Hot chili peppers are the main ingredient in capsaicin creams. They are commonly used for joint pain and diabetic nerve pain.

Counterirritants– when applied on the skin, counterirritants give a burning or cooling feeling that takes the mind away from the pain. Menthol, methyl salicylate (oil of evergreen), and camphor are the main ingredients of counterirritants.

Salicylates– they are pain relieving creams that contain aspirin-like ingredients. They specifically work well for joints that are close to the skin like fingers and knees.

To help you choose the best muscle creams for pain, we have rounded up some common muscle pain creams in Malaysia to guide you.

1. Tiger Balm Lotion Strong Relief

Tiger Balm Lotion provides extra strength pain relief for aches and pains from sore muscles, stiffness of the neck and shoulders, minor backaches, bruises, strains and sprains. It is made with a unique Tiger Balm formulation, is quick to dry and some people think it has a pleasant scent. It also comes with a handy bottle that can be applied directly to harder to reach places.

2. Mentholatum Ointment

Mentholatum Ointment (for the skin) is a combination medicine used to relieve minor muscle or joint pain. It can also be used as a chest rub to soothe chest congestion and relieve a cough caused by the flu or common cold. 

Mentholatum Ointment contains camphor and menthol topical as the main ingredients. Camphor is a mild pain reliever, while menthol provides a cooling sensation when applied to the skin.

3. Menzza Cream

Menzza Cream relieves joint and muscle pain, sprains, strains, as well as pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis. It also gives temporary relief of pain associated with musculoskeletal soreness and discomfort. 

Menzza Cream works by inhibiting prostaglandin formation- hence relieving pain.

It contains methyl salicylate and menthol as the active ingredients.

4. Metsal Cream

Metsal Heat Rub Cream has a warming formulation to soothe sore muscles. It contains methyl salicylate as the main ingredient.

Metsal Cream penetrates the body to provide temporary relief from pain associated with strains of joints and muscles including arthritis, rheumatism, lumbago and fibrositis. It is suitable for use before, during and after sports. 

5. Counterpain Cream

Counterpain Rub Analgesic Balm Ointment is a muscle pain relief cream used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles and joints like arthritis, backache and sprains. It works by causing the skin to feel cool and then warm while distracting you from feeling the aches and pains deeper in your muscles, joints, and tendons.

Counterpain cream contains menthol and methyl salicylate as active ingredients.

6. Perskindol Cool Gel

Perskindol Cool Gel contains levomenthol- a substance from peppermint oil that has a cooling effect to the skin. It can be used as a cold therapy massage by applying it to the injured areas using slow circular strokes. It helps to relax muscles, reduce muscle pains and decrease swelling after mild sprains, muscle strains and bruises.

7. Penetrex Pain Relief Cream

Penetrex Joint and Muscle Therapy Cream is a non-greasy and non-staining formula that delivers soothing results by targeting the source of the pain. It contains arnica, glucosamine, MSM (DMSO2), choline, boswellia serrata and vitamin B6. 

Penetrex Joint and Muscle Therapy cream can be applied on your back, neck, knee, hands and feet.

NOTE: Muscle creams are made to give you temporary pain relief. Some can even speed muscle and joints healing and recovery by reducing inflammation caused by acute injury. However, they cannot treat any underlying issue for chronic pains- it is advisable to seek proper diagnosis and prescriptions from your healthcare provider.