Are you one of the millions of people in the United States suffering from sciatica or chronic leg pain? If so, finding an effective relief is probably top-of-mind for you. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of creams available that can help relieve your pain and discomfort - but each product comes with its own pros and cons. 

To make things simpler for you, we put together this comprehensive guide to 9 great cream options for Sciatica and Leg Pain Relief. 

Here, we break down every value proposition offered by each product, including their active ingredients and directions on how to use them – plus some expert tips on which creams may work best for your situation. Read on to learn more!

Look no further for the top pain relief cream options that perfectly cater to your needs!

Our Top Picks

Best Overall - Penetrex Therapy Cream

Best Cost-Effective Option - Tiger Balm Pain Relieving White Ointment

Best Roll-On Pain-Relieving Cream - BioFreeze Pain Relief Roll-On

Best Warm Therapy - Sombra Warm Therapy Natural Pain Relieving Gel

Best Natural Pain-Relieving Cream - Voltaren Emulgel 

Common Active Ingredients Found in Pain Relief Creams

The active ingredients found in most pain relief creams include menthol, camphor, capsaicin, eucalyptus oil, and arnica. Let’s take a closer look at each of these ingredients:

Menthol

Menthol is an organic compound derived from mint plants that helps relieve soreness by cooling the affected area and numbing it temporarily.

Camphor

Camphor is another natural ingredient that has a strong aroma when applied to the skin and can also help numb the area.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is an extract from chili peppers that helps reduce inflammation and stimulates endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil has antiseptic properties that can reduce swelling due to its cooling effect.

Arnica

Arnica is an herb that is packed with anti-inflammatory properties and helps increase blood flow to the affected area for better healing.

Types of Creams - Application (such as gel, foam, cream, etc.)

Before picking up a cream you would like to use, it would be best to first understand the types of creams and how each type works.

Gels

Gels are typically formulated with menthol and camphor, which provide relief from soreness while also cooling the area. They are best used in areas where there is no broken skin or open wounds.

They are highly concentrated and can provide deep pain relief.

Gels are also less greasy than other types of cream, which makes them a great choice for those who need to apply the product during work hours or in public.

Foam

Foams usually contain capsaicin that helps reduce inflammation on top of providing a cooling effect.

This type of cream is best to use when treating irritated or inflamed skin. They often provide quick absorption and won’t leave oily residue behind on your skin after application.

Creams

Creams are thicker in texture and provide more intense hydration – these are best suited for those with very dry skin or certain types of dermatitis.

They are also more viscous than gels or foams and often include ingredients like eucalyptus oil, arnica, etc., for added healing benefits.

Depending on the ingredients, these products can be applied to larger areas as well as areas with open wounds. 

The Best Pain Relief Creams for Sciatica & Leg Pain Relief (Pros vs Cons)

Now that you know what kinds of ingredients to look for in a pain relief cream, let’s dive into 9 top options you can choose from.

1. Penetrex Therapy Cream

Penetrex Joint & Muscle Therapy

Penetrex Therapy Cream features a unique combination of arnica, capsaicin, vitamin B6, and other active ingredients that work together to provide fast-acting relief from sciatica and chronic leg pain. It’s also non-greasy and easily absorbed by the skin.

Pros:

  1. Fast-acting relief

  2. Non-greasy, Non-burning, and non-freezing feel

  3. Contains natural pain-relieving active ingredient arnica

Cons:

  1. Not recommended for use on broken skin or open wounds

  2. Not very effective in severe pain, according to some users

What Experts Say?

Dr. Catherine Jordan Emory, a US-based pain relief doctor, recommends Penetrex for sciatica and leg pain relief due to its fast-acting formula.

She even wrote a book available at Barnes and Noble on The Ultimate Penetrex Cream (Pain Relief) Bible: Complete Guide on How to Use Penetrex Cream in Relieving and Soothing Pain Fast.

You can use Penetrex for sciatica and leg pain relief. It is fast-acting, non-greasy, and has a natural pain-relieving active ingredient, which is best for people who prefer natural pain remedies.

However, it is not recommended for use on open wounds as this can lead to skin irritation. Additionally, some users have reported limited effectiveness in severe deep muscle pains.

2. BioFreeze Pain Relief Roll-On

biofreeze roll on

BioFreeze Pain Relief Roll-On utilizes classic counterirritant technology, featuring menthol to create an invigorating cooling sensation that can help reduce your pain - or at least take away some of the focus from it.

And since it comes in a convenient roll-on container, you won't have to get messy and all over your hands when applying this helpful product!

Pros:

  1. Easy to use, mess-free roller applicator

  2. Cooling relief for muscle and joint pain

  3. Non-greasy formula won’t stain clothing or sheets

  4. Contains menthol, a naturally derived counterirritant ingredient

  5. Paraben free and unscented formulation

Cons:

  1. Not suitable for those with hypersensitive skin or open wounds.

  2. Gel color is green rather than clear

What Experts Say?

According to a survey of medical professionals like chiropractors, podiatrists, massage therapists, physical therapists, retail pharmacists and athletic trainers (IPSOS Clinician Survey), BioFreeze Pain Relief Roll-On is a good choice if you are looking for an easy-to-apply, mess-free way to get fast relief from annoying muscle and joint aches.

They rate it highly for its convenient application and fast-acting, cooling relief.

Overall, BioFreeze Pain Relief Roll-On is a great option for those who are looking for fast-acting pain relief without the greasy residue or strong scent.

With its unique blend of menthol and natural ingredients, it provides quick, long-lasting relief from discomfort while still being gentle on the skin.

It’s easy to apply and can be used in combination with oral medications when needed. Plus, its mess-free roller applicator won’t stain your clothes or sheets!

So if you need immediate relief from muscle and joint aches without having to worry about getting your hands all greasy - then this product could be perfect for you.

3. Blue Emu Muscle and Joint Deep Soothing Original Analgesic Cream

Blue Emu Joint and Muscle Cream

Blue Emu is the go to brand for America’s #1 Emu Oil Formula. Packed with natural powerful ingredients such as Aloe Vera, MSM & Glucosamine that absorbs directly on joints and muscles.

Pros:

  1. Odor free and doesn’t have a menthol smell

  2. Non-greasy application

  3. Multi Use Application - back, neck, shoulders, knees, hips, feet

Cons:

  1. Doesn’t have menthol ingredient so it may not have the feeling of penetrating the skin

  2. May not have a warming effect during application

  3. May only help with minor relief

What Customers Say?

"I massage it on the front & back areas of my knees as well as my lower back, right buttock down my leg to ease the sciatica pain. It has improved the quality of my life.”

"Offers relief for most of the day for sciatica and painful knees."

The product is great for a very short term but not for long term relief.” 

4. Theraworx Relief Fast-Acting Foam

Theraworx Foam

This foam contains natural ingredients like arnica, aloe vera, and menthol that help reduce swelling and provide fast-acting pain relief. It also comes in a convenient spray bottle, so it’s easy to apply.

Pros:

  1. Easy-to-use, non-toxic, gentle foam

  2. Non-sticky 

  3. No Mess or Strong Odor

    Cons:

    1. Foam can be a bit messy to apply

    2. Not recommended for use on open wounds

      What Experts Say?

      "I think the essence of what people want is hope that they can get better. Theraworx Relief offers a scientific rationale that you can get better." said Dr. Anthony E. Mega, hematologist, genitourinary oncologist at the The Miriam Hospital.

      He suggests that Theraworx Relief can be used as an adjunct therapy to traditional treatments for sciatica and pain relief. Watch the video here.

      Theraworx Relief Fast-Acting Foam is a great solution for those looking for fast-acting pain relief, since it has natural ingredients like arnica, aloe vera, and menthol that help reduce swelling and provide fast results.

      Plus, its convenient spray bottle makes it easy to apply with no mess or strong odor. This product is highly lauded by experts in the medical field so you can feel confident knowing this foam will give you fast-acting relief from your sciatica or leg pain.

      5. Tiger Balm Pain Relieving White Ointment

      Tiger Balm

      This ointment is another featured product of the Tiger Balm company using natural ingredients like camphor, menthol, cajuput oil, and clove oil that work together to reduce swelling and numb the affected area for faster relief. Plus, it comes in an easy-to-use gel form which can be quickly applied to the skin.

      Pros:

      1. Unique natural formula with active herbal ingredients

      2. Can also be used for headaches, muscular aches and pains

      3. Does not stain clothing unlike the red ointment

      Cons:

      1. Have a weak scent

      2. Not recommended for people with sensitive skin

      What Experts Say?

      Tiger Balm won the 2020 Telly Awards for their effective and innovative Pain Relief products. Read the article here.

      Tiger Balm Pain Relieving White Ointment is perfect for those looking for an easy-to-apply gel with natural ingredients like camphor, cajaput oil, clove oil, and menthol that work together to reduce swelling and numb the affected area for faster relief.

      This product won awards in 2020 due to its innovative technology and use of natural ingredients that have been proven to provide fast-acting relief from pain.

      Plus, it won't stain your clothes like its red counterpart so you can use it worry-free. Try it today for fast and effective relief from your pain!

      6. Sombra Cool Therapy Natural Pain Relieving Gel

      sombra warm therapy

      This gel features a special warming technology that helps reduce inflammation and provides fast-acting relief from sciatica, back pain, joint pain, and more. Plus, it’s non-greasy and quickly absorbed by the skin.

      It contains natural ingredients like eucalyptus oil, menthol, and camphor that help reduce inflammation and provide fast-acting relief from sciatica, chronic leg pain, and more. Plus, it’s non-greasy, so there’s no mess to worry about.

      Pros:

      1. Non-greasy and easy to apply

      2. Animal free

      3. Free from gluten

      4. Natural ingredients like and other inactive ingredients such as Camellia sinensis (green Tea) leaf extract

      5. Does not stain clothing

      Cons:

      1. Only for mild aches and pains

      2. For some, scent can be an unpleasant experience

      What Experts Say?

      "As a massage therapist I am a big fan of your Sombra Natural Pain Relieving Gels for many years. My clients love them!

      I leave a jar of the Sombra WARM therapy open at night when my asthma is bad and it prevents attacks during the night. No need for asthma inhaler it’s been two years since I’ve had used one thanks to Sombra!" said by registered massage therapist Leslie Koehler, who specializes in deep tissue and chronic pain relief. Full testimonial here.

      Sombra Cool Pain Relief is recommended to speed up your recovery time and minimize sore, tired muscles. It is a natural product, containing ingredients like eucalyptus oil, menthol and camphor that provide cooling relief on contact.

      The non-greasy formula is easy to apply and won't stain your clothes, making it a perfect solution for fast-acting pain relief.

      7. Boiron Arnicare Cream for Pain Relief

      arnicare cream

      Boiron Arnicare Cream for Pain Relief has created a two-fold approach to alleviate pain with this gel: first by employing arnica to sooth the skin and reduce swelling, then creating an invigorating sensation akin to counterirritants.

      Pros:

      1. Contains Arnica montana to reduce swelling and inflammation

      2. Natural counterirritant effect to stimulate blood circulation

      3. Non-greasy, pleasant scent, invisible when applied

      4. Easy to apply and absorbs quickly into the skin

      5. Free from parabens, petrolatum, artificial colors/fragrances

      6. Paraben-free

      Cons:

      1. Only offers short-term relief

      2. Not recommended for severe muscle and joint pain

      3. Contains alcohol

      What Experts Say?

      "I recommend homeopathic Arnica montana in oral and topical forms to all of my patients to help reduce bruising, swelling, and pain after a procedure.

      Boiron is a brand I’ve trusted for years and their Arnicare medicines are a must for anyone who wants to have less downtime after a procedure.

      Arnicare can also help you maintain an active lifestyle without showing the effects of it on your skin." says Dr. Shirley Madhère, Holistic Plastic Surgeon. Full review here, including other testimonials from health professionals.

      Boiron Arnicare Cream for Pain Relief is an ideal choice for those who want fast-acting relief without the use of NSAIDs or narcotics. The cream features Arnica montana to reduce swelling and inflammation, and invigorating counterirritants to stimulate blood circulation.

      With its water-based composition, this cream is both lightweight and rapidly absorbed into the skin. To alleviate pain, simply massage a thin layer of the product onto affected areas – you can do so up to three times daily without any concerns! Enjoy an oil-free experience with no greasy residue left behind.

      8. Icy Hot Pro Pain Relieving Cream

      icy hot pro cream

      Icy Hot Pro Pain Relieving Cream is a unique combination of menthol and camphor formulated to provide fast pain relief. This topical analgesic cream is designed to provide intense, targeted relief of muscle and joint aches and pains.

      Pros:

      1. Contains two active ingredients – menthol and camphor

      2. Helps relieve muscle aches, joint pain, soreness and stiffness

      3. Quick absorbing with no greasy residue

      4. Non-staining , fast-acting, Non-greasy

      5. Works on muscles and joints

       Cons:

      1. Not suitable for sensitive skin or areas of the body with open wounds

      2. Strong scent

      What Experts Say?

      Shaquille O’Neal, an NBA Hall of Famer and Pain Care Advocate, is a member of the Icy Hot Squad. Along with other athletes, he recommends Icy Hot Pro Pain Relieving Cream for its fast-acting relief.

      9. Voltaren Emulgel for Muscle & Joint Pain

      Voltaren Emulgel is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) topical analgesic developed to bring fast, long-lasting relief from sore muscles and achy joints.

      Voltaren Emulgel

      This product is formulated using diclofenac as the active ingredient to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, back pain, muscle sprains, and strains.

      Voltaren's anti-inflammatory gel has been specifically crafted with pain sufferers in mind.

      Featuring diclofenac sodium, a powerful NSAID, this fantastic product quickly and efficiently reduces inflammation and subdues any pain you may be feeling. Additionally, isopropyl alcohol works to cool the skin while offering soothing relief!

      This gel is formulated with skin-loving ingredients such as mineral oil and propylene glycol, providing up to four uses of hydration a day without an oily finish.

      Pros:

      1. Fast-acting, long-lasting relief

      2. Easy to apply and odorless

      3. Non-greasy, non-staining gel with no harsh chemicals or dyes

      4. Can be used in combination with oral medications for greater pain relief

      Cons:

      1. Not suitable for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

      2. Contains a NSAID which can cause side effects like stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, headache and even rash.

      What Experts Say?

      Through a survey of medical professionals, Voltaren has been shown to be one of the most recommended products for muscle and joint pain relief.

      Overall, Voltaren Emulgel is a great choice for anyone who needs fast-acting pain relief with no greasy residue or harsh chemical smell.

      It's easy to apply and can be used in combination with oral medication as needed. With its dual action formula of diclofenac and menthol, it helps reduce swelling, stiffness, and discomfort.