For more than 120 hours of research lasting over two weeks of conducting thorough research and comprehensive hands-on testing, the Cramer Red Hot Ointment for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief and Soothing Sore Muscles, Penetrating Warm Therapy Cream for Assisting in Warm-Up, Recovery, Athletes, Athletic Trainers, Athritis stands as the best pain relief ointment in this review. It gives the essential performance required in this product by providing effective pain killing, deep absorption into the muscles and the fast relief for speedy comfort.
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How do they work?
Pain relief ointment, like creams, gels, and patches, is a topical pain reliever. As such, it is applied to the skin on the area where you feel the pain. Unlike the oral pain relievers, pain relief ointments are rubbed directly on the skin allowing it to act on the pain immediately.
It does not cure the pain. However, it relieves you from pain by distracting you with either cold or warm sensations. The cooling or burning feeling comes from the active ingredients contained in the pain relief ointment.
For instance, counterirritants like menthol and camphor produce a cold or warm sensation. Some may also contain capsaicin that produces the hotness of chili peppers. These ingredients may also be coupled with salicylates, which gives the pain-killing character in aspirins.
What is an ointment?
When looking for pain relief ointments, especially online, you’ll find a mix of creams, gels, and ointments. It is because the texture and make-up of these items are closely the same.
The most significant difference of ointment from the rest of these ingredients is a large amount of oil content in ratio to water. According to Emuaid, there are ointments that have a ration of 80% oil to 20% water. With creams and gels, water percentage can be from 50% and higher.
An ointment is said to have more absorption capacities. That is, the active ingredient can penetrate the skin more.
Who can use?
Like other topical pain relievers, pain relief ointments can be used by almost anybody who is in pain. The product can be used by people who may have muscle pains, rheumatism, sprains, burns, and wounds to name a few.
There are even pain relief ointments that also doubles medication for an infection.
However, each user must note of the age and ailment usage warning. Each product will point out the age required to use it as well as the prohibitions for existing illnesses.
Among the advantages of pain relief ointment are:
One of the most important criteria in choosing pain relief ointments is its effectiveness. The ointment should be strong enough to kill the pain. It should not only lessen or dulls the pain slightly or give light relieving sensation.
Note, however, that each one of us has different pain levels and tolerance. Some may be suited for light sensations while others need it very strong.
2. Active ingredients
The active ingredient often has the same effect in killing the pain. There are those that give off coldness and other warmness. Thus, you should also consider the ingredients and its effects and contrast it to your preferences. You might also want to consider the percentage of these ingredients.
3. Penetration or absorption
Included in the effectiveness of the product is its ability to penetrate deep. It is essential when the pain is also deeper. The pain relief ointment should be able to reach these areas.
4. Length of effect
According to our research, users prefer those products that will help them relax for hours and allow them to sleep soundly. Hence, you might want to take into account the longevity of its effects.
How We Assessed & Evaluated These Pain Relief Ointments
For this review, we have our data gathering and hands-on testing.
With our data gathering, we crowdsource information from users, sellers and experts. Our first step is to go online and begin with searching pain relief ointments.
It led us to online sellers, forums and community threads such as BodyBuilding.com, City-Data.com, and Patient. These sites were helpful to step-up our gathering process, but it was not enough. Hence, we also visited online seller and manufacturer pages.
We have a rough list of 13 pain relief gels from our research. The number of products is quite high. Thus, we also conducted interviews with local vendors and family and friends who are using ointments. It helped cut our list to five pain relief ointments.
Once the top five are selected, we created a team of testers to do our hands-on testing. It took us more than two weeks to complete our testing because we want them to use the product while they are really feeling pain.
We chose testers who are regular users and experts to ointment to inculcate their past experiences and acquired expertise to the testing. We asked them to score each pain relief ointments based on critical criteria as well as their opinion and significant experiences.
Top 5 Pain Relief Ointment Product Reviews
1. Cramer Red Hot Ointment for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief - (Editor’s Choice)
From the five products in this review, the Cramer Red Hot Ointment for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief and Soothing Sore Muscles, Penetrating Warm Therapy Cream for Assisting in Warm-Up, Recovery, Athletes, Athletic Trainers, Athritis, Tendonitis is different because it provides warm therapy rather than the cold therapy of other pain relief ointments.
Its active ingredient is oleoresin capsicum in 4.95%. This ingredient contains capsaicin, which is derived from chili and produces burning sensations. Hence, the warm therapy features.
You might think that the 4.95% is quite small as other active ingredients are at 11%, our testing shows that this pain relief ointment is (really) strong. The testers believe that the strength is good enough for deep and stronger pains. Thus, they say that the product is effective and has decent absorption.
Based on their testing, the testers added that you should apply small amounts for the first try and add more if you want it warmer.
The effect is also immediate. When you rub the ointment in the skin, the hot or burning feeling is instant. So you will also feel the soothing and relaxing sensation after putting it.
What the testers dislike with the product is the shorter longevity of its effects. The active ingredient in the product is known to have shorter effects for about a few minutes. Although in the testing, the effect is not just for a couples minutes, it is still shorter than the other pain relief ointments.
The red color of the ointment also gives a slight stain. Its description may provide a stainless formula, but the testers can see visible stains on their clothing as they test the product.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
2. Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment (First Runner-Up)
With 100 years on their belts, Tiger Balm has become one of the leading analgesic treatment manufacturers. In fact, a few of our testers have used some of their products.
Adding to their product portfolio is the Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment, Ultra Strength 1.70 oz. The pain relief gel contains camphor and menthol all at 11% that act as the topical analgesic. The percentage is one of the highest in the batch.
From our hands-on testing, our testers deemed that this product is quite strong. You can immediately feel the cold-burning sensation as you rub the product on your skin. Thus, the testers think that this product has a comparatively speedy effect.
The quality of its effect is another thing. Some testers feel that the product is enough for their back, leg and shoulder pains. However, there are testers who think that this pain relief ointment has minimal absorption. It cannot penetrate deep enough into the muscles to totally kill the pain.
The Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment, Ultra Strength also has a more prolonged effect. Even the testers who think that it is not strong enough agree that they can feel the lasting of the sensation for hours. Thus, it is helpful in keeping you comfortable, especially when going to sleep.
Its description provides that the ointment be non-staining. Our findings yield that it has minimal stains although it is not entirely without stain. The testers believe that the level of stain is close to none.
Like other topical pain relievers, this product also has a minty or menthol smell. A few of our testers think that its odor is strong, but the majority feels that it is not the case.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
3. Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Ointment (Second Runner-Up)
While most of the products in the review focuses on relieving pains from sore muscles, arthritis and joint pains, Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Ointment, 1 Oz is more suitable for wounds such as scrapes, skin irritations, and small cuts and burns.
Its active ingredients include Bacitracin, Neomycin Sulfate and Polymyxin B Sulfate that serves as a first aid antibiotic. The Pramoxine hydrochloride in 10 mg is used as the external analgesic.
Pramoxine hydrochloride works on the nerves to prevent from transmitting pain signals. Its function is why it is most appropriate for itching, burns, and scrapes.
Putting this pain relief ointment into testing proves to be a challenge. We want someone who has wounds to try the product. Fortunately, we were able to test the product to those who have wounds, burns, and itching.
Based on our testing, the product works well. It temporarily removes pain from the affected area for hours, which is useful for children who may have less pain tolerance.
It is also fast-acting. Once the ointment is applied, you can immediately feel its effects.
What our testers also like with the Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Ointment is that it can be used for children. According to its description, you can use it for children aging two years old to adults. However, if you are in doubt, you can always ask for your doctor’s advice.
As pointed out above, the pain relief ointment contains ingredients that serve as an antibiotic. Our testers love this product can also help in preventing infections aside from relieving pain.
One drawback with this product is that some of the testers also experienced slight sting when the product is applied. They deemed that some skin types may not agree with the ointment.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
Interestingly, our next product is founded by a brand that originally markets to the Hispanic community in California. Since then, they have produced and distributed about 70 products across the US including the De La Cruz® 11% Camphor Ointment 2.5 OZ./Made in USA.
This pain relief ointment has 11% camphor as the active ingredient, which is even higher than the other ointments. However, the testers have observed that the product is not as strong compared to the other ointments in the review.
It also has lesser absorption despite it being an ointment. The testers think that it might be suitable for minor pains for its level of strength.
What they like about it is the that it acts on your pain fast. After rubbing the ointment onto the skin, you will feel the cooling effect. Also, they think that it lasts relatively longer. It's less likely that you will wake up in the middle of your sleep as its effects continue for hours.
The description provides that it is allergy tested and that it can be used for adults and children up to two years of age. Our testers liked that it is “safe” for against allergies and that even the smaller ones can use it.
During the testing, there were no incidents of breakouts. However, if you have children with known allergies or if you are unsure, it might be safer to ask your physicians.
Aside from the fast and lasting relief and broad age suitability, the testers love the scent of the ointment. It is menthol-like but does not assault your senses.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
The next pain relief ointment is the Amish Origins Lower Back Pain Relief Ointment, 7 ounces Deep Penetrating. The origins of the product is the understanding of hard work and a simple lifestyle. Hence, it makes of essential oil to treat pains deep into the body.
The product has menthol at 7.66% and oil of camphor at 0.60% as the active ingredients. It is comparatively lower than other menthol and camphor ingredients, which also creates a lesser effect.
Our testers feel that the product works in relieving pain as they can feel the dulling or lessening of the pain. However, when compared to the other products in this review, it is weaker.
Its absorption though is deeper. Some of the testers feel that the product can soot deep into the muscles to kill the pain although not as strong as the others. There are testers who think that this pain relief ointment can be used by those who have less pain.
The Amish Origins Lower Back Pain Relief Ointment, 7 ounces Deep Penetrating is also speedy with its effects. The cooling sensation is felt upon the application of the ointment.
It is also long-lasting. The cooling sensation can be felt for hours, which can give the users hour of relaxation and comfort.
The scent of the pain relief ointment is also minimal. Like the other products in the review, it gives off a menthol-like odor, but it is not very strong.
Its direction for usage does not provide the frequency nor the age of users. However, it has different usage from body pains to blisters, bruises, and cuts among others.
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
Editor’s Choice: Cramer Red Hot Ointment for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief
First Runner Up: Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment
We have the Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment, Ultra Strength 1.70 oz as our First Runner-Up. It has high camphor and menthol percentage that it provides the immediate effect, the relief is long lasting, it seems to have the right effect, and it does not produce a foul odor.
It falls from the Editor’s because it is not as strong and there are observable small stains from the product.
Second Runner Up: Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Ointment
Our Second Runner-Up is another distinct product which both acts as anti-infection and pain reliever. Unlike the first two picks, the Neosporin + Pain Relief Dual Action Ointment, 1 Oz is more appropriate on wounds like cuts, burns, and irritations making it also suitable for children.
The product works well and can be felt for hours. However, there might be stinging.