5 Best Pain Relieving Patches of 2018 Reviewed

As you get older, your body starts to let you know in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that you can’t keep doing the things you did when you were younger.

Gone are the days of pushing yourself to the limit and waking up the next morning refreshed and ready to do it all over again.

Daily life can cause a host of aches and pains ranging from muscle strain and sprains to pain from constant use of joints such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even arthritis.

Repetitive injuries can come from work, daily chores, using technology, and even well-intentioned workout routines.

Pain relief patches are an alternative to the over-the-counter medications of the past, offering direct relief to the affected muscle group or joints, and a constant release of medicine in an easy–to-use patch.

Whether your pain is from a hard day at work, a vigorous exercise routine, or even a minor injury, patches may be a good fit for controlling your pain so you can get on with your life.

What are Pain Relieving Patches?

So what are pain patches?

Pain relief patches are flat, sticky sheets that are applied directly to clean, dry skin in the area affected by pain.

They come prepackaged and ready to be applied.

These medicated patches are transdermal, meaning that they allow the medication to be absorbed directly through the skin and into the painful muscles or joints below, without tiresome rubbing or waiting for a pill to dissolve in your digestive system and be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Patches can be prescription or over-the-counter, depending on what medicine they contain.

Doctors prescribe opioid patches to control chronic pain in cancer patients and those with chronically painful disorders, but for everyday aches and pains, milder topical analgesics are available at your local drugstore or supermarket.

These over-the-counter patches can range from herbals such as menthol, camphor, wintergreen, and capsaicin, to numbing agents such as lidocaine.

Top 5 Pain Relieving Patches

#1: Salonpas Pain Relieving Patch


This is a pain-relieving patch that treats sore shoulders, stiff neck, backache, and joint pain problems.

It is a topical patch that is very useful in treating symptoms of arthritis, bruises, and strains.

How It Works

This product contains 140 patches per box.

Each patch contains pain-killing and inflammation-healing ingredients.

The patch is removed from the box, and the outer part is separated from the inner and pasted on the affected part(s) of the body.

When the patch is attached, it transfers its ingredients through the skin’s nerves and tissue, and the main ingredients block the transmission of pain signals.

Aside from the main natural ingredients, the Salonpas pain-relieving patch also contains methyl salicylate and Levomenthol that are both derivatives of salicylate acid.

As the patch is stuck to the skin of the affected area, the body’s muscles will absorb the ingredients slowly through the skin, thus providing gradual healing.

The Levomenthol works by simply dilating the blood vessels within the affected area, triggering a calm sensation, which is then followed by a pain-killing effect.

Similarly, the methyl-salicylate ingredient provides an anti-inflammatory effect.

It may cause some heat when it comes in contact with the skin, which is meant to distract the brain from the pain sensation.

How to apply this patch effectively​

In order to apply this patch effectively, make sure the plastic film covering the patch is removed before applying the adhesive side to the affected body area.

You may apply a single patch to the affected area for to 6 or 12 hours, however you shouldn’t apply it for too long if you are susceptible to skin irritation and redness.

It is advisable to avoid using the patches for over 3 days in a row.


The main ingredients found in the Salonpas pain relieving patch include: Analgesic menthol or methyl salicylate, which diminishes painful signals in the body when applied directly or close to the affected part of the body.


    • Very easy to apply and reliable
    • Affordable and effective in providing relief against pain and inflammation within minutes


    • The patches can only be applied on flat and regular surfaces, hence you may find it difficult to apply it directly to some parts of the body, unless you place the patch somewhere near the affected part

#2: Heliopatch – Drug Free Pain Relief Patch 5 Count


This is an anti-inflammatory pain relief patch that is designed to heal symptoms of inflammation, including those of tendinitis and bursitis.

It should be worn every 5 days. Pain and sciatica flare-ups can be relieved in under 30 minutes with these patches.

How can you apply this patch?

If you are an adult 18 years of age or older, you need to make sure that you apply one patch at a time to clean dry skin near the affected area.

Make sure you remove the plastic film located on top of the patch in order to expose the adhesive area.

You can apply a single patch for between 2-12 hours depending on the pain.

You may cut the patch into a smaller size if the region of pain is smaller, and make sure you don’t apply 2 patches in 24 hours (one patch in every 5 days is recommended).

If the pain has not subsided after continuous usage for 5 days, then you may have to consult with your doctor.

As a precautionary method, you must not attach this patch to broken or diseased skin; this precaution includes eczema and acne-affected parts.

How It Works

This patch should can be applied once every 5 days.

It transfers its natural ingredients through the skin surface to the affected nerves, tissues, and muscles, for quick and lasting relief.

You need to remove the activator discs from the bag, stick the disc silver side down into its gel, and then apply the hydro-gel on top of the pained area.


Glycerin, water, sodium chloride, silver, potassium chloride, and elemental magnesium.


    • The patch is made of natural ingredients only, which don’t come with any side effects
    • You will also get extra magnesium ions in the body during treatment, which is a plus because they are introduced at a very safe level


    • You may develop slight skin irritation when you keep the patch on the same spot for a long time, or if you don’t stick with the 5-day interval of use

#3: Tiger Balm Patch, 5-Count Packages (Pack of 6)


This is a pain -relieving patch that provides localized pain relief for several hours.

The package also comes with point-of-interest information for better application in appropriate places.

This pain relieving patch can be described as a topical analgesic.

How To Apply

Do not apply this patch to broken skin; it should be applied to clean and dry skin over the affected area.

Remove the outer liner before applying the exposed patch to cover the area to be treated.

If the area to be treated is larger than the patch, you must apply it over the most painful region.

Wash your hands immediately after the application of the patch, and make sure you don’t apply one from 30 -60 minutes before and after bathing.

If an irritation develops during the course of treatment, remove the patch and do not re-apply until the irritation has subsided.

Do not apply any wrap or bandage, or heating pad, to the area being treated.

How It Works

This pain reliever works via a hydro-gel technology.

You place the patch on the affected area, and the ingredients are absorbed within minutes after application, which triggers increased blood circulation in the affected area.

Relief against pain comes immediately.


There are a total of 5 patches in each box, with 6 boxes in the package in total.

The active ingredient in this balm patch is menthol.

Other active ingredients include camphor and Capsicum extract.

Inactive ingredients found in this product include: Glycerin aluminum glycinate, eucalyptus oil, sodium polyacrylate, Polysorbate 80, water, and sorbitol solution.


    • The ingredients in this patch do not show any side effects
    • Each package should last for several months, and this product costs relatively less than many similar ones


    • The smell of the patch on your body may be irritating briefly, however it disappears quickly

#4: Icy Hot Smart Relief Back and Hip Starter Kit


This is a complete pain reliever kit that provides relief against muscle and joint pains.

It makes use of the same pain treatment used by doctors and chiropractors.

How It Works

You need to snap the electrical unit onto the electrode pad, and then peel away the pad’s protective coating in order to expose the adhesive.

Place the patch on the affected area of the body and make sure you keep the plastic backing if you need to re-attach the pad – keep in mind that each pad can be re-used up to 30 times.

Simply press the On/Off button in order to activate the patch.

An LED light will come up, and you can press the + or – signs to increase or reduce the intensities of the application.

The unit turns itself off after 30 minutes, and you will have to push the On/Off button once again if you wish to continue the treatment.

If you are an adult of 18 years or older, you need to make sure that you apply one patch at a time to clean dry skin over the affected area.

How To Apply

Make sure you remove the plastic film located on top of the patch in order to expose the adhesive area.

You can apply a single patch for between 2-12 hours depending on the pain.

You may cut the patch into a smaller size, if the region of pain is smaller, and make sure you don’t apply 2 patches in 24 hours (one patch in every 5 days is recommended).

If the pain has not subsided after continuous usage of the patch for 5 days, then you may have to consult with your doctor.

As a precautionary method, you should not attach this patch to broken or diseased skin; this includes eczema- and acne-affected parts.


Menthol, capsicum, water, and glycerin are the main ingredients.


    • One benefit of this product is that it is re-usable and easy to use
    • It does not come with any wires or attachment extras, hence it is convenient and comfortable
    • This product is also customizable as it comes with 63 different intensity levels for maximum treatment


    • Applying too much of this treatment may irritate sensitive skin

#5: Nature Creation Ultimate Set – Hot and Cold Therapy (Blue Marble)


This is a wearable therapy that provides heat and cold treatments to ease pain.

One set of this product is composed of the upper body wrap, the spine and back pack, the lavender eye mask, and the sinus relief mint pack.

How It Works

You need to heat the item in the microwave in order to store heat, and apply it on your body or place it in the deep freezer to enjoy the cold therapy.

It combines heat and cold treatments with aromatherapy effects from a fine blend of herbs.

The product is designed to target every part of the body, including a sore back, injuries, and painful muscles and joints.

How To Apply

Wash your hands immediately after the application of the pack, and make sure you don’t apply the pack for 30 -60 minutes before and after bathing.

If irritation develops during the course of treatment, remove the pack and do not re-apply until the irritation has subsided.

Do not apply any wrap or bandage to the area being treated.

Doctors recommend that you do not use this pack for more than three times a day to avoid possible side effects.

You need to ensure that this package is kept out of the reach of children and it must not be applied on children younger than 18 until you consult with a doctor.


Herbal ingredients in this product include: Peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, yarrow, white yarrow, cinnamon, chamomile, and flaxseed.


    • This product gives you a spa-like treatment, in addition to body relaxation through hot and cold treatments, depending on the area where you are experiencing pain
    • It is completely eco-friendly and it comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee from the manufacturer


    • This product may be complicated to use initially, because you need to know where to apply the heat or cold therapy to achieve the best result

Benefits of Pain Relieving Patches

Pain relieving patches offer some benefits over oral over-the-counter medications.

Because they are transdermal, you don’t have to swallow pills which pass through the digestive system and into the bloodstream.

This makes the relief from patches nearly instant instead of needing to wait half an hour.

Most users report a reduction in pain within moments of applying the pain patch to the affected area.

Also, because the medicine does not go through the digestive system, these patches reduce the risk of stomach upset associated with many pain pills such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen.

Pain patches lack the side effects common with said drugs, including damage to the stomach, liver, and kidneys, making them a good alternative for pain sufferers who can’t take pain pills.

Many pain patch users also report that pain relief lasts longer, for up to 8 hours, as opposed to pills that often have to be taken every 4-6 hours.

Patches are convenient and easy to use, requiring less time to apply than creams.

They are less messy than creams and often have a more subtle scent.

Patches are an appealing option when dealing with muscle strains and sprains, bruising, ligament pain, arthritis, lower backache, and menstrual cramps.

How do Patches Work

Depending on the active ingredients and purpose of the patch, it will generally work in one of two ways.

Patches that contain menthol, wintergreen (methyl salicylate), and camphor have a cooling effect which is helpful for bruises, sprains, and some strains.

Capsaicin, an active ingredient in chili peppers that causes them to taste “hot”, causes a warming sensation on the skin, good for arthritis, backaches, and menstrual cramps.

Some patches use a combination of ingredients to both cool and heat an injury, mimicking the ice pack/heating pad routine commonly recommended by medical professionals.

Patches work to distract you from your pain, inflaming the nerves near the site of your pain and causing a different sensation from the pain itself.

In order to determine the best pain reliever for your injury or ache, it’s best to compare the products at the store and read the recommendations included on the packaging.

If you are still unsure, a trained pharmacist will always be willing to discuss your options and help you decide which product is right for your situation, whether it be a patch, an over-the-counter pain pill, or a topical cream.

Be sure, though, to let the pharmacist know about any allergies you may suffer from because some ingredients in patches might not be advisable for persons with allergies to other forms of painkillers.

How do You Use Patches

If you have decided to try a patch and have found one that you think might be a good fit for your aches and pains, be sure to follow all instructions for use included on the packaging.

Patches should be applied to skin that is clean and dry, using the adhesive on the patch only.

Most patches recommend that you do not use a wrap or tight clothing over the injury while the patch is in place.

Do not leave patches on longer than the instructions recommend, and do not use new patches more often than instructed on the packaging.

Though most patches are made with herbal ingredients, misuse can still cause issues and should be avoided.

As with all over-the-counter medications, women who are pregnant or nursing should consult with their physician before beginning to use patches.

Patches should never be used on a child under the age recommended on the packaging without talking to your doctor first.

If pain persists longer than a patch’s recommended use, you should always schedule an appointment with a medical professional.

What Kind of Patch is Right for You

In order to choose the correct patch for your pain, it’s important to understand what kind of pain you have.

Pain is classified into three categories:

  • Nociceptive
  • Incident
  • Psychogenic

Nociceptive pain can come from bruising, sprains, ligament damage, and other exercise-related injuries.

Incident pain is caused by movement of a damaged joint, such as arthritis.

Psychogenic pain is caused by mental or emotional factors, and though many believe this pain is “all in your head,” the use of a patch has been reported to help relieve discomfort in these instances.

All three types of pain can be addressed by topical analgesics.

In the case of nociceptive pain caused by strain or injury due to exercise, a topical patch including a cooling agent such as menthol or camphor will often provide the greatest relief.

For arthritis, many patients report that combining a capsaicin-based patch with oral medication causes greater relief of symptoms than just oral medication alone.

Methyl salicylate is chemically related to the active ingredient in aspirin, and thus is an excellent topical agent for pain relief in most circumstances.

In cases where menthol-based patches alone fail to provide relief, you can try a patch that combines both menthol and camphor, which tends to have a greater degree of success.

If you are still in pain, there is a stronger patch still combining menthol and methyl salicylate, quite a robust combination.

Some patches contain a small amount of capsaicin with menthol, adding some heat to the cooling for additional relief of muscle strains and sprains.

What to Avoid in Patches

When purchasing a patch, you’ll want to purchase a quality product from a reputable source.

Patches sold in your local drugstore will generally be well-tested and quality-assured.

The pharmacist on duty should be willing to help you choose according to the product descriptions and details provided about your specific pain-related complaint.

If you are buying from a website, be sure to look into customer reviews before spending your money, but be sure to seek out nonbiased sources, as the reviews on a product website cannot always be trusted.

Because of the risk of allergic reaction or a shoddy product, it’s always a good idea to do a quick internet search of the patch you have decided to use.

Choose something that has been well-reviewed by people who are suffering from the same type of pain or injury that you are.

Patches that are poorly reviewed, have no reviews, or appear to be made of substandard materials, should be avoided.


As with all over-the-counter medications, there are risks associated with using patches.

People who have adverse reactions to aspirin are strongly encouraged to have a discussion with their physician before using any patch that contains the active ingredient methyl salicylate, as there is a strong risk that they may suffer a similar reaction to this product.

Some people with sensitive skin may develop a rash from the adhesive used on patches, or from the active ingredients.

Using a patch too often or leaving it on longer than recommended may increase the risk of allergic reaction in the treated area.

OTC pain relievers can also mask the pain of more severe issues that require a doctor’s attention.

Pregnant women, children, senior citizens, and those taking blood thinners should always consult with a physician before beginning a pain regimen that includes OTC patches, to ensure that unwanted side effects won’t be an issue.

Methyl salicylate can cause further thinning of the blood in patients already taking blood thinners.

If you experience burning, itching, or rash, discontinue use of the patch immediately and, if these symptoms persist, contact a doctor.

Heating pads should never be used over a patch or on an area that has recently held a patch, as they can increase the risk of skin damage or irritation.

Some patches are not safe to use during exercise, as the increased blood flow to the skin could cause you to absorb too much of the active ingredient.

When using a patch in addition to prescription painkillers, always consult with your doctor first.


Life can be hectic, and dealing with your average daily aches and pains that result from the average day can be exhausting.

Finding the best pain reliever to suit your situation can be a bit overwhelming.

Whether you need OTC pain relievers in pill forms such as aspirin or acetaminophen, topical creams, or a transdermal patch, is up to you.

Fortunately, we live in a time when there are many options available right down the street at your local drug store.

When choosing a product to reduce your pain, always be sure to read the full instructions on the packaging, consider discussing the product with your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing, and ask your pharmacist any questions you might have.

Read up on your options and be sure to check out some consumer reviews on sites other than the product’s home page.

Look for lists of products that include the writer’s personal experiences, and use all the resources available to make the best possible choice for your individual pain and situation.

Patches offer a unique and quick and easy alternative to the pain- relieving staples of the past, one that is both quick and easy.

Modern advances have reduced the odor associated with such treatments, making them more appealing to incorporate into for your pain relief routine.

Just remember that topical pain relievers such as patches are meant to be used for a short time only; persistent pain should always be followed up with a visit to your doctor to determine if medical intervention is necessary to avoid permanent damage.

Though you may not bounce back from injury as easily as you did in the past, patches offer an assurance that you can still give it your all you have on the tennis court, at the yoga studio, or jogging with your dog, and that you can deal with whatever pain may come the next day.

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One Response

  1. Allen Moore