The Best OTC Pain Relief

The Best OTC Pain Relief

We all have our favorite, our “go to” for pain relief. Some even have a “For when I really hurt” brand. And it seems that as time goes by, the relief we reach for changes and increases in the amounts we us. Almost like we are always searching for the best OTC pain relief we can find.

Over the years, my family has used a lot of pain medications. On average, U.S. households spend about $338 per year onthe best OTC pain relief Featured image OTC products and U.S. consumers make 26 trips a year to purchase OTC products; while only visiting doctors (on average) three times a year. $338 seems a little low for my family and I know I have a lot of trips into town just for medications, even tho I try to combine trips as much as possible.

Research shows that 81 percent of adults use over the counter medicines (OTC) as a first response to minor ailments and nearly seven in 10 parents have given their child an OTC medicine late at night to help treat sudden pain or medical symptoms.

The availability of OTC medicines provides symptomatic relief for an estimated 60 million people who otherwise would not seek treatment, providing conveniently available healthcare options for busy families and caregivers.

There are approximately 54,000 pharmacies in the United States and more than 750,000 retail outlets that sell OTC products. Let’s take a look at the OTC pain relief products I’ve chosen over the last few years. My “Best of” list. These are not in any particular order and I’ll tell you my #1 pick in closing.

This information should not take the place of medical advice. I encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)The best OTC pain relief NSAIDS

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)  can provide pain and inflammation relief.The most prominent NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.These are members of a drug class that reduces pain, decreases fever, prevents blood clots, and in higher doses, decreases inflammation.NSAIDs are generally used for the relief of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, mild-to-moderate pain due to inflammation and tissue injury, low back pain, and headaches.Side effects depend on the specific drug but largely include an increased risk of heart attack, stomach problems (pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and stomach ulcers). kidney problems, anemia, dizziness, and swelling in the legs.

Aspercreme (Lidocaine)

Aspercreme is used on the skin to stop itching and pain from certain skin conditions (scrapes, minor burns, eczema, insect bites) and to treat minor discomfort and itching caused by hemorrhoids.The best OTC pain relief Aspercreme

Apply a thin layer of medication to the affected area of skin, usually 2 to 3 times a day or as directed.

Side Effects: Temporary redness, stinging, and swelling may occur at the application site.

Get medical help if you have any very serious side effects, including: slow/shallow breathing, seizures, pale/bluish/gray skin, unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, and/or fast/slow/irregular heartbeat.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. Get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as: new/worsening rash, new or worsening itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and/or trouble breathing.

Salonpas

Salonpas is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (such as arthritis, backache, sprains). The best OTC pain relief Salonpas

Use on the skin only. Clean and dry the affected area. Remove the backing and apply the patch to the affected area but not to skin that is injured or irritated (such as skin that is cut, scraped, sunburned, infected, or has a rash. Leave on for up to 12 hours.

Only use 1 patch at time and do not use more than 2 patches in a 24-hour period and do not bandage or wrap the area.

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you do get the medication in those areas, flush with plenty of water.

Heat can increase the risk of side effects. Redness, mild itching, or irritation may occur.

Possible serious side effects (this is not a complete list of side effects): blistering/swelling at the application site, increased/unusual pain at the application site, nausea/vomiting, and/or ringing in the ears.

Serious allergic reactions include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and/or trouble breathing.

Icy Hot

Icy Hot is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (e.g., arthritis, backache, sprains).

Follow all directions on the product package. The best OTC pain relief Icy Hot

Icy Hot may be used up to 4 times daily or as directed on the medicine label to relieve pain from arthritis, backaches, muscle strains, sprains, bruises, and cramps.

Possible side effects (this is not a complete list of side effects): an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Less serious side effects may include a mild cold or burning sensation.

Wash the skin and get medical attention if you have severe burning, pain, swelling, or blistering of the skin where you applied Icy Hot.

Bengay

Bengay is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (e.g., arthritis, backache, and sprains.The best OTC pain relief Bengay

Follow the directions, Bengay is for use on the skin only. Do not apply near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genitals. Apply a thin layer to the affected area no more than 3 to 4 times a day. Rub in gently and thoroughly.

Do not use on skin that is injured or irritated (e.g., cut, scraped, sunburned); do not bandage or tightly wrap the area.

Possible side effects (this is not a complete list of side effects): redness, warmth, stinging, or burning on the application site may occur. Unlikely but serious side effects include: blistering/swelling/severe redness at the application site, increased/unusual pain at the application site, nausea/vomiting, and/or ringing in the ears.

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and/or trouble breathing.

Bio-Freeze

Biofreeze is used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints (such as arthritis, backache, sprains), and is for use on the skin only. Apply no more than 3 to 4 times a day.

Avoid getting Biofreeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth.The best OTC pain relief BioFreeze

Do not apply to skin that is injured or irritated (such as skin that is cut, scraped, sunburned, infected, or has a rash) and do not bandage or tightly wrap the affected area.

Possible side effects (this is not a complete list of side effects): redness, warmth, or irritation.

Serious side effects include: blistering/swelling at the application site, and/or increased/unusual pain.

Serious allergic reactions include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and/or trouble breathing.

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Pain Magnesium Lotion

Pain Magnesium Lotion is designed for convenient, optimal topical absorption of magnesium and soothes sore muscles, cramps, fatigue, and stress. Pain’s unique formulation includes essential oils, and it has a calming effect on both the body and mind.The best OTC pain relief Pain Magnesium Lotion

Apply a small amount to as needed. One teaspoon contains approximately 300mg of Magnesium (an essential mineral for health).

Responsible precautions include: a tingling sensation may be experienced when applying to skin, but should not last more than a few seconds, do not apply to broken skin, and keep out of reach of children and pets.

Possible side effects (this is not a complete list of side effects): allergic reaction to one of the natural ingredients and/or to essential oils.

Magnesium is a mineral that we need to stay healthy and it is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.

Price Comparison

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID):

  • Aspirin Pain Reliever, 325mg Tablets $7.49
  • Ibuprofen Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer 200mg Tablets $5.99
  • Aleve Pain Reliever Fever Reducer Easy Open Cap, Caplets $11.99

Aspercreme Maximum Strength Lidocaine Pain Relieving Crème 2.7oz $8.79

SalonpasPain Relieving Patches Large (6) $7.79

Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relieving Cream1.25oz $5.49

Bengay Ultra Strength Non-Greasy Pain Relieving Cream 4 oz $12.75

BIOFREEZE Classic Pain Relieving Roll-On 2.5oz $14.99

Pain Magnesium Lotion 4 0z $39.95

Pricing in your area may be different and most likely the prices have gone up.

In Closing

All (but 1) are readily available at one of your local stores and all are online. Waiting until I am in pain to have a pain reliever available has never seemed like a good idea to me. My family has a filled cabinet just waiting to be used.

Each of us are different and we usually reach for a different type of pain reliever with the different pains we have. For me, the focus has always been on RELIEF and I want it to be fast, effective, and long lasting.

The BEST OTC pain relief? Quite simply, it is the 1 that works for you. My best? The one I reach for? The Pain Magnesium Lotion. It is all natural, extremely fast acting, safe and last for hours. It has a clean scent, no medicine smell and just a tiny amount covers a large area.

The drawbacks? It is only available online and the price. But it is replacing all the other meds in the cabinet and cutting down on extra trips into town!

The best OTC pain relief is the one that works best for you. I’d love to hear what your “Go to” pain relief choice is! Drop a comment, let me know.

My source for some of this information is WebMD. The information on Whytleigh.com should not take the place of medical advice. I encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers.

Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

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14 thoughts on “The Best OTC Pain Relief”

  1. Hi there, thanks for sharing this information as sometimes we all end up needing help with aches and pains. I have certainly tried a lot of these over the years and have found that IcyHot (spray, patches, and creams) works well but has a very strong smell that isn’t always welcome (could make nausea worse). 

    I’d add that another non-prescription pain reliever that can help is ice. Simple bags of ice applied to the area of certain pains is often the only thing that works. 

    Reply
    • Hi Aly, I first tried Icy Hot cream on my neck during a migraine headache. Not smart of me. A little seemed to help but I overdid it and really caused more pain from the Hot when it kicked in. And the smell, I agree. Bad experience all around but I like it for muscle cramps and slight pains. The Pain Magnesium has a fresh and clean scent.

      And you are right about ice. Works good when I have tensed shoulder muscles. Thanks for stopping by!

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  2. I found it interesting to read all your statistics regarding pain relief use. Especially the amount of money we consumers typically spend. I can’t say any of it truly surprised me, but to see all the numbers laid out was sobering.

    I have migraines, and no medication prescribed by a doctor has worked any better than over the counter NSAIDs, so I just stick to those. I would add to your list medications specifically formulated for migraines, which are mostly all the same combination of acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), aspirin, and caffeine. On that note, I have found that any NSAID works better when taken with some form of caffeine. Of course, caffeine has its own side effects, so be careful. 

    Like many, I worry about how much of these medications I’m taking, and have tried some more natural methods. One I’ve had a lot of success with is, at the very beginning of I migraine, I take a combination of ginger, turmeric, and magnesium. I use ginger tea, a diuretic that lists “magnesium citrate” as the active ingredient (they usually cost about $1), and turmeric pills. I usually still have to take a migraine pill with that, but I can take less, and relief comes sooner.

    I hadn’t heard of the Pain Magnesium Lotion before, and it sounds really interesting. I’ve had really good results taking magnesium supplements, as mentioned.

    Reply
    • Hello Shanna, The numbers kind of hit home for me when I stopped to really think about it. If I had kept track, I think I spent a lot more some years than others. 

      Stress Tension Sinus Cluster Migraines have been a problem for me. Nothing seemed to work, I ate generic aspirin like they were M&M’s. Not good for the stomach at all. Discovered FeverFew, a natural herb that I took as a supplements and it controlled my headaches wonderfully. 

      Your “mix” is great. The combination is pretty powerful, and I think a key factor is getting it in the early stages. 

      The Pain Lotion is good stuff. The price is high but the relief is super fast and just a dab covers a lot. Just started my second container, the first lasted my Wife and I almost 3 months. 

      Take care and check out FeverFew, it’s available at GNC and online. 

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  3. Hi Sanders, you put together a very informative article on OTC pain relief. Many people use OTC meds because you can pick them up at your local drug store without a prescription. But many don’t know the side effects that come a long with OTC meds. After reading this article people will be more informed of the side effects that these OTC meds may cause.  

    Reply
    • Hi CeCe, You are right, it’s like we take these and never think about the side effects. For most, there is little danger and any discomfort is overshadowed by the relief we get.

      I always like to look at the aisles in the big chain stores. I once was overwhelmed at the selection, then I became amazed at the selections available. I mostly just look now unless I need a NSAID, still its fun to be able to have so many choices available!

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  4. I read your review of the Over The Counter medications for pain relief with interest.  We as a family also rely on our favorite go-to as well. The thing that I have found causing me to question the wisdom of being our own DR is the fact that we need more of the medication as time passes, to get the same relief.  I grew concerned when I did some research on the OTC drugs and found out how quickly we were taking a maximum dosage, and how often.  Some of the OTC meds are pretty strong and can do some kidney/bladder damage fairly quickly.  

    I wondered about this damage and the fact that on occasion I was going beyond the recommended dosage limit.  How often I allowed my sister’s remark that her Dr told her it was OK to take as many as 15 tablets a day.  And it probably is, for an isolated occasion, but not to get comfortable with that level of dosage on a daily basis.  

    When you are taking OTC for chronic pain, it is easy to reach the max recommended quickly.  That is why I tried the CBD oils. For me they gave relief.  They allowed me to take noticeably less of the other products.  Now if I need additional relief, a smaller dosage of the OTC does its job.  I have arthritis, and changing weather patterns seem to be what sets my pain levels on “Screeching ” levels.  Usually, Springtime is when this happens.  I take the OTC weekly, during other times once a month.  as needed.  Your cream/lotion that you use sounds interesting as these sometimes offer relief for me as well.  

    Thanks for sharing your results and information,

    Reply
    • Hello Sami,

      I agree about it taking more and more to get the same relief. And it is very easy to go overboard when dealing with chronic pain. I had (have) Stress Tension Sinus Cluster Migraine headaches. No idea what my triggers were but if I had one, I would have multiple, sometimes back to back. Generic aspirin became like M&M’s to me. Always taking them, even with no water to wash them down. 

      CBD oils do work wonders! My Wife has RA and she does CBD oils daily. The Pain Magnesium Lotion is for the flares and for those times like the changing weather you mentioned. 

      If you do wish to try it, hey, I know a great place to get it!!!

      Do take care, monitor the OTC intake and keep on the CBD!

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  5. Hello there, This is an amazing article that you have got here. Really the best OTC pain relief article is quite helpful and timely. The Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs that you talked about got me worried. I have made use if the ibrupofen and aspirin a lot of time, sometimes by the prescriptions of a doctor or even as the pain began. But I haven’t really took note of the side effects. 

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hello, The NSAID’s are really effective and safe, but they can be overused easily. I used generic aspirins like crazy and am lucky no damage resulted. Now I prefer the natural Pain relief. 

      Try to follow the label directions unless your doctor advises a different schedule.

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  6. what an intriguing and informative review you have here on the best OTC pain relief, I must say that this company over the years have been making products that are well to be recommended cuz they are really active and they serve their purposes… thanks for passing forward this information and I look forward to sharing it on my blog for others to benefit from

    Reply
    • Thanks, Evan. Glad to provide some information that you can use and share. All the products I mentioned except for HBN (the Pain Magnesium Lotion) have been in business for years. HBN only for about 3 years but they have a fantastic product line. 

      Always good to meet a fellow blogger!

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply
  7. Hi there thanks for the review. There are so many types of over-the-counter (OTC) remedies to choose from, though and each one helps relieve pain in its own way. Acetaminophen is a weak anti-inflammatory medication that is extremely effective at relieving pain and reducing a fever. According to our pharmacists, acetaminophen should start working about an hour after you take it.

    Reply
    • Hi, You are right, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a great alternative to aspirin. And not a NSAID! Glad you reminded me of it. Tyenol is good for headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers. The most common side effects of acetaminophen include: nausea and vomiting, headache, AND/OR insomnia. 

      For me, Tyenol usually started providing muscle ache relief within about 15 minutes. 

      Walking the Path of Peace, Sanders

      Reply

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