Back pain associated with health problems in your sciatic nerve may make even the most casual tasks extremely painful and challenging. There are a lot of treatments said to be effective in minimizing the excruciating, radiating pain, but for most people, they gave no relief. With that in mind, we searched, tested, and reviewed the best creams for Sciatica pain that will help you.
Sciatica often feels like a throbbing and radiating pain that grows and travels down your spine in line with the sciatic nerve. It can cause radiating pain in the spine, buttocks, hips, and legs.
The affected sciatic nerve becomes sensitive and even moderate movement can feel painful if your disk or bone spur touches the nerve.
There are also other reasons to why you got sciatica. One of them could be piriformis syndrome which occurs when the piriformis muscle gets spasmed causing irritations in the sciatic nerve. Another reason could be pregnancy as the uterus is expanding.
There are different treatment options for sciatica. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy, acupuncture, using a lumbar pillow, massage, yoga stretches, and even surgery. Some other treatment options also include using tens of machines, as well as creams.
We reviewed really effective creams, but before starting to use them, it’s the best you consult with your doctor.
Creams for Sciatica Pain: Quick Summary
- With a proper massage, they can offer immediate pain relief.
- They can be cheaper than some medication and other equipment like tens of machines.
- They won’t cause you to feel drowsy like some other medications.
How to Use Creams for Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica can be treated using both oral and topical treatments. Here, we’ll discuss the topical treatment in the form of creams and gels. It’s important to get a cream that is easy to apply and massage downwards and circularly. Proper application is necessary to stop the sciatica nerve irritation from traveling from your lower back into your disk and then legs.
To get the best results, apply and rub the sciatica gel or cream on your lower back, preferably the lumbar area, while also focusing on the rear pelvic area. It’s important to surround the rear pelvis because the nerve roots of sciatica nerves are located there. Remember, the pain starts from there.
If you focus on higher areas in the back or lower, you’ll only temporarily cut the problem. The pain is only temporary located in certain parts of your body before following the path down to your legs and feet. Instead, if you massage the part where your nerve roots are located, you’ll easily stop the pain from spreading. Start there and continue further, relieving muscles and decompress the nerve.
Note: When you finish applying a cream or gel for sciatica pain, and it starts providing relief for the affected area, try performing moderate physical exercises to see how your body responds to nerve decompression.
If your pain is starting to subside or disappears while you’re performing moderate physical activity, that means that the topical medication works.
Types of Topical Medicines for Sciatica
There are several types of medicines for sciatica that have topical applications including gels, oils, and creams. They act differently so, while some may spread the blood vessels and change your blood flow to support and soothe your pain, others have different approaches.
Here is a list of materials commonly found in creams for sciatica.
- Methyl salicylate – It can treat minor sciatica symptoms by cooling the skin and then warming it up. It also adds other ingredients such as menthol for the anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the pain.
- Menthol – Menthol or peppermint have been used as an anti-bacterial treatment for the longest of times. Menthol has anti-inflammatory properties so it can help soothe the burning sensation that accompanies sciatica episodes.
- Trolamine salicylate – This compound can be found in various creams and ointments that can help soothe various muscle strains and soreness, including the aching and burning sensation that comes after exercise. Athletes use it, especially the creams that contain 70% of Trolamine salicylate because it acts almost immediately.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) – The research regarding the CBD treatment is still incomplete, but some medical experts recommend that the material found in cannabis plants can provide anti-inflammatory relief, soothe nerves and muscles and that way relieve some sciatica effects.
Potential Risks & Drawbacks
Creams, regardless of type, can provide immediate inflammatory relief once applied because of their local application. All you have to do is rub the cream to the affected place, preferably, near the sciatic nerve roots and wait for ultimate relief to hit in.
Note: When it comes to risks of using sciatica creams, some of them may cause irritation, skin redness, and rash.
That can usually result because of an allergic reaction that hit in when you weren’t aware that you’re allergic to some ingredients.
Another issue that some people report having is an upset stomach and other stomach-related problems due to sciatica topical medication.
Lastly, creams may not be as strong as oral medication and other treatments like tens of machines, which we also reviewed, so they provide only relief to minor symptoms.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Cream for Sciatica Pain
Now that we highlighted some of the important points of how sciatica works, and how the pain spreads, let’s take a look at measurements to take when shopping for a cream that can treat sciatica pain.
- Lab Results – All pharmaceutical products undergo strict regulative processes that ensure that the product is safe to use. In the product label, as well as product description, you can find all the necessary information from research, including lab results and statistics.
- Price – Given that sciatica is a result of a neurological problem in the back, the price may fluctuate for different treatment options. If you’re restricted on budget, explore more budget-friendly options, but make sure that they are backed with proper research and testing and works (based on product reviews.) In the end, if the cream or gel works properly and it’s confirmed based on reliable user-review, breaking the bank may be well worth it.
- Ingredients – All products should be thoroughly checked for materials they contain, especially the CBD products. If the product label lists a material you’re potentially allergic to, you need to avoid buying that product and look for alternatives.
- What it Does – People report to have different symptoms of sciatica. With that in mind, you need to see what problem the cream you want to buy solves. Sciatica can cause several discomforts including tingling, burning, tickling, itching, and more. Make sure that the topical medication you pick does exactly that.
5 Best Creams for Sciatica Pain We Recommend
Now that we introduced you to the shopping process for Sciatica topical medication, let’s dig into reviewing the best creams for sciatica pain and why some of them could be the remedy you’ve been looking for.
Remember, always consult with your doctor and dermatologist about which medicine to take without compromising your health.
1: Penetrex – Pain Relief Therapy (Best Overall)
One of the best muscle and nerve rubs works wonders on Sciatica-related pain, which is why we picked it as our number one candidate for treating persistent pain, itching, throbbing, and tingling in the lower back, hips, and legs.
- 100% money-back guarantee for customers that don’t feel improvements.
- It gets rid of the tingling, burning, and painful sensation in the lumbar area, hips, and legs.
- It can also be used together with other therapies
- Doesn’t mask the pain.
- Backed by 8 years of research
One of the best parts of Penetrex is that it’s backed with amazing 8 years of research and promises 100% money back if it won’t work with your condition.
Additionally, it can be used with other therapies recommended by your doctor or another professional, including heating pads, ice packs, arthritis gloves, and others. You can even rub it using a back pain massager. Another great feature is that it’s completely cruelty-free and never tested on animals.
Penetrex also stands out in our eyes because it doesn’t work in a way that will only mask the pain temporarily to allow you to do certain tasks. Instead, it works like a complete anti-inflammatory medication that looks at the core of the problem and rids you of the pain and discomfort for good.
For immediate results, three to four times per day, apply the cream and rub it around the root of the affected area for two to three minutes. Repeat the treatment every day for 7 to 10 days, as that’s how long it usually takes for acute and even chronic symptoms to subside.
It contains Arnica, MSM(DMSO2), Choline, Glucosamine, Vitamin B6, Boswellia Serrata, and other materials.
We couldn’t find any drawbacks in testing Penetrex. The only complaint we had so far is that it’s more expensive than other ointments, but it’s worth it. Also, make sure that you’re not allergic to some of the materials as that may also cause discomfort and irritation.
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2: Pure Sciences Neuropathy Nerve Pain Relief Cream (Runner Up)
Pure Sciences Neuropathy Nerve relief cream, as its name suggests, worth with a plethora of neurological conditions and Sciatica appears to be one of them.
- Special formula that penetrates deep and leaves an instant pain relief
- It can also be used to treat arthritis.
- Backed by years of research to examine this unique formula.
- It’s supported by a great number of health specialists and pharmacists.
- Improves blood circulation and has anti-inflammatory properties.
It also works with patients that have symptoms of knee and elbow pain, as well as arthritis. It has anti-inflammatory, soothing properties and helps relieve joint pain in a matter of minutes.
The cream is backed with years of research that were required to create the ultimate winning formula, made out of clinically-examined ingredients that can provide permanent relief. The good part is that the formula is strong enough to not require a lot of application and will last you a long time.
It provides deep penetration to the skin and healing and soothing effects towards the sciatic nerve. It’s approved by many doctors and works by enhancing and stimulating blood circulation.
Reports are suggesting that the effect is only temporary and that even though the pain relief is almost immediate, it dissipates over time and the pain returns in only a few hours. It’s not recommended for people with too strong sciatica symptoms.
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3: Dulàc – Arnica Gel Cream (Best Budget)
Made in Italy, Arnica Gel Cream can help relieve the symptoms of Sciatica if you know where is the pain coming from.
- 100% natural and uses essential oils
- Great value for the price and affordable.
- Uses 35% of Arnica Montana to help relieve the burning sensation
- It also soothes neurological pain caused by sports injuries.
The most notable highlight of this gel-cream is that it is backed by years of research and examination to use the most soothing materials that improve the circulation and allow alleviation of inflammatory symptoms.
The gel is also equipped with peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils which both have anti-bacterial properties and provide soothing relief from inflammation, including burning and tingling sensation that comes with sciatica pain. Moreover, it doesn’t have bad odors so it also feels aromatic and relaxing. It’s extremely easy to use. It’s recommended to use it 1 to 2 times a day, and rub the cream into the source of pain. It also works great for athletes who suffer from neurological muscular strain.
We didn’t like that there is only temporary relief and that those who experience stronger symptoms of this condition need to use stronger ointments. There is also a risk for allergic reaction to some of the ingredients such as essential oils.
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4: Puriya Ultra Relief Cream (Best for Diabetic Sciatica)
Made in the USA, Puriya Ultra Relief Cream can be used for a plethora of neurological conditions connected to the spine, as well as a sports injury.
- It contains menthol, one of the most popular ingredients of sciatica pain-related ointments.
- It provides a soothing formula for sports injuries.
- Backed by years of research.
- 100% cruelty-free and uses natural ingredients.
- It works with all sorts of diabetes-triggered neurological pain.
It’s extremely effective in treating sciatica-related discomfort and uneasiness. It can help treat tingling, burning, aching, and itching sensations. It allows deep penetration of the cream to reach the inflamed areas, providing instant pain relief.
It has a beautiful scent and provides a long-lasting effect that, not only works to relieve the pain and mask it, but also provides a recovery formula that can rid you of discomfort for good with regular use. It’s also cruelty-free and no artificial materials that can hinder its quality. It is also well-absorbed in the skin and feels refreshing.
Most importantly, it provides great help and relief for all diabetic-related neurological issues, including the diabetic sciatica pain, and peripheral neuropathy. It also doesn’t burn so it’s good for diabetic patients with nerve damage who can’t feel when it’s too hot.
Although it provides instant pain relief, Puriya Ultra Relief cream takes some time to provide long-term effects towards sciatica treatment.
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5: Sombra Warm Therapy Natural Pain Relieving Gel (Best for Pregnancy)
Pregnant women are prone to getting acute sciatica pain due to the pelvis and uterus expanding, causing touching and irritation of the sciatic nerve. Unfortunately, if left untreated, it could cause severe pain and aching in the hips and legs, as if carrying the baby for 9 months isn’t hard enough.
Moreover, if left untreated pregnancy-related sciatica could turn into chronic pain that lasts even after childbirth and breastfeeding.
- Ideal for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- No animal cruelty
- It can also aid with arthritis-related pain
- It is equipped with menthol and provides both cooling and heating effects
- Non-greasy and leaves no stains.
- Absorbs quickly
Sombra Warm Therapy is equipped with menthol and USP 6%, but it will still provide a cool and warming effect on the affected area. It is also equipped with Aloe Vera extract and the aromatic orange scent that feels relaxing and balancing.
It is free of all animal testing and made in the USA. Similar to other creams in the lists, it provides cooling and then warming sensation to alleviate symptoms and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, acting instantly, and providing a long-term solution for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
It’s also free of alcohol, due to a lot of breastfeeding women using it. In addition to sciatica pain, it can be used for all sort of muscle injuries and ailments, it can also work with arthritis and other types of backache.
We had to point one drawback and that is that Sombra cream provides soothing effects only for minor backaches and minor types of sciatica.
That said, it’s more effective for acute issues and preventing it from becoming a chronic issue. If you’re allergic to aloe vera, or some other material, we advise you to avoid using Sombra therapy to prevent a severe allergic reaction.
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Which gel is best for sciatica pain? ›
Pain Relief Gel for Sciatica
Omnigel, a popular remedy is a diclofenac gel that is an effective way to deal with a range of aches and pains. Simply apply along the areas that are troublesome to ease pain and discomfort.
Muscle relaxers: When the underlying cause of your sciatica is muscle spasms, muscle relaxers such as carisoprodol and cyclobenzaprine can provide relief.Does Voltaren Gel work for sciatica? ›
Voltaren has an average rating of 7.7 out of 10 from a total of 9 reviews for the treatment of Sciatica. 56% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 0% reported a negative experience.Is there any instant relief for sciatica? ›
Use Ice Packs and Heating Pads. Alternating therapy that uses temperature can provide immediate and short-term relief from sciatic pain. Ice packs can help to reduce inflammation, while warmth through a heating pad can encourage blood flow to the impacted area to speed healing.What cream is best for nerve pain? ›
Capsaicin is used to help relieve a certain type of pain known as neuralgia (shooting or burning pain in the nerves). Capsaicin is also used to help relieve minor pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis or muscle sprains and strains.What to do when sciatica becomes unbearable? ›
- Soothe the muscle pain. As with any injury, applying warm packs to the affected area can help soothe the muscle pain and relieve tension. ...
- Consider medication. ...
- Speak to your doctor. ...
- Try physiotherapy. ...
- Steroid injection. ...
4 Drugs commonly prescribed for the management of sciatica include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), skeletal muscle relaxants, opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, systemic corticosteroids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.What are the top three muscle relaxers? ›
Muscle relaxants are used to treat muscle spasticity (stiffness or rigidity). This can be caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three muscle relaxants—baclofen, tizanidine, and dantrolene—to treat muscle spasticity.Do topical creams help sciatica? ›
Topical creams, ointments and gels for sciatica can block nerve pain and relax the muscles that may be causing discomfort. Even better, they start to work right after you use them. Most people find that these products help – at least a little bit.Is Deep Heat Rub good for sciatica? ›
Sciatic nerve pain originates from your rear pelvis and the lower back, and heat therapy works best when applied to this region. Heat therapy is easily available, simple to use, and can provide immediate relief from the shooting sciatic nerve pain in your leg—read on to learn how.
Does drinking water help sciatica? ›
In addition to providing hydration, drinking water has the potential to alleviate sciatica, a common source of lower back and leg pain. Drinking water can slow the progression of symptoms and ease discomfort.What is the best sitting position for sciatica? ›
To minimize stress to the sciatic nerve while sitting, it is recommended to sit straight with the shoulders rolled back and shoulder blades down. The legs must be hip-distance apart with feet flat on the floor.What pressure point relieves sciatic pain? ›
Interestingly, acupressure, a form of acupuncture, applies pressure to the Yao Yang Guan acupuncture point to relieve acute sciatica pain and low back pain ,. This acupuncture point is below the spinous process of the fourth lumbar vertebrae, where the sciatic nerve branches out from the spinal cord.How do you stretch the sciatic nerve in bed? ›
Lie on your back with bent knees, feet flat on bed. Cross your right ankle over your left knee (in the shape of a "4"). Grasp your hands behind your left knee and gently pull your legs toward chest as you press right knee away from your chest. Hold for 30 seconds for 1 rep.What is the strongest and safest pain reliever? ›
Naproxen (Aleve) is the most powerful anti-inflammatory pain reliever available without a prescription. It is especially effective for sprains, sunburns and arthritis and other conditions. Similar doses of Naproxen tend to last longer than other non-prescription pain relievers.What is nature's strongest pain killer? ›
Endorphins are the body's natural pain relievers, and they can be as strong as many of the strongest pain relievers. Endorphins also help alleviate anxiety, stress and depression — conditions that often accompany and exacerbate chronic pain. The body produces endorphins during aerobic exercise.What is the best pain reliever in the world? ›
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that treats pain, fever, and swelling. Many people consider this to be one of the best pain relief medications. In fact, out of 892 reviewers, nearly 9 out of 10 said the drug was worth taking.What over the counter product is good for nerve pain? ›
Common painkillers such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen may relieve mild nerve pain.
Vitamins B-1, B-6, and B-12 have been found to be especially beneficial for treating neuropathy. Vitamin B-1, also known as thiamine, helps to reduce pain and inflammation and vitamin B-6 preserves the covering on nerve endings.Does Vicks Vapor Rub help nerve pain? ›
Vicks Vapor Rub® – Massaging one's feet with Vicks, particularly at night, soothes neuropathic pain and distress in one's feet and legs.
What aggravates sciatica? ›
It can be worse when coughing or sneezing or sitting a long time. Usually, sciatica affects only one side of the body. Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the leg or foot.Is sciatica a disability? ›
Sciatica is not one of the conditions that automatically qualify a person for disability benefits. Patients seeking disability payments for sciatica will have to prove that they are impacted in a way that they cannot perform their job (or potentially any job that they could be trained to work).Can a chiropractor fix sciatica? ›
While sciatica pain can be debilitating, chiropractic treatment can relieve it gently and naturally. This care entails treating the pain without costly and harmful side effects.How long does it take for a sciatic nerve to go back to normal? ›
Sciatica is where the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet, is irritated or compressed. It usually gets better in 4 to 6 weeks but can last longer.What is the best muscle relaxer cream? ›
- 5 Best Muscle Rubs. As mentioned, muscle rubs can help with both pain and soreness. ...
- Herbalice Muscle Rub. ...
- Penetrex Pain Relief Cream. ...
- Sombra Warm Therapy Pain-Relieving Gel. ...
- Biofreeze Pain Relief Roll-On Gel. ...
- Noxicare Natural Pain Relief Cream.
- Best Overall. Biofreeze Pain Relief Muscle Rub Gel. ...
- Doctor-Recommended. Penetrex Pain Relief Therapy. ...
- Best Ointment. Tiger Balm Sport Rub Pain Relieving Ointment (2-Pack) ...
- Best Homeopathic. Boiron Arnicare Gel. ...
- Top Rated. DōTerra dōTERRA Deep Blue Rub. ...
- Best for Travel. ...
- Best Roll-On. ...
- Classic for a Reason.
Try cold packs initially to reduce inflammation. Apply an ice pack to the painful areas for about 20 minutes several times a day. After two or three days, apply heat with a heat lamp or a heating pad on the lowest setting. Alternating warm and cold packs may provide some relief.Where do I put a heating pad for sciatica? ›
To apply heat therapy, place an electric heating pad or hot water bottle next to your lower back, buttock, or the back of your leg for 10 to 20 minutes. The warmness dilates blood vessels, escalating blood flow and calming your muscles, so you may experience less pain and find it easier to stretch or use afterward.Does Icy Hot work for nerve pain? ›
Icy Hot with Capsaicin is used for temporary relief of muscle or joint pain caused by strains, sprains, arthritis, bruising, or backaches. This medicine is also used to treat nerve pain (neuralgia) in people who have had herpes zoster, or "shingles."Does a hot shower help sciatica? ›
Heat can help the muscles and back relax and ease any muscle spasm you may be experiencing. Adding a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath can also aid in reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation that many find offers relief from sciatic pain.
What is the 30 second stretch to relieve back pain? ›
While keeping your left foot flat on the floor, gently pull your right knee to your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back. Hold your right knee against your chest for 30–60 seconds, making sure to relax your legs, hips, and lower back.Is it better to sit on a hard or soft chair with sciatica? ›
Sitting causes increased pressure on the sciatica nerve as it travels below the gluteus muscles down to the leg. Avoid sitting on a soft couch for a long time or hard chairs. If you can, try walking 10-15 minutes outside or on a treadmill at a comfortable speed.Do muscle relaxers help sciatica? ›
While muscle relaxants and other forms of medication often provide symptomatic relief, they are not a lasting solution to sciatica. At best, they only improve the pain associated with this condition, rather than permanently resolving the condition itself.How do you give yourself a sciatic nerve massage? ›
Rub your lower back with your palms towards your spine and down towards your buttocks. Then, wrap your fingers around your sides with your thumbs pressing the outer edges of the muscles surrounding your lower spine. Slowly and firmly massage them towards your spine.Is biofreeze good for sciatic nerve pain? ›
Topicals and Patches. Skin patches or topicals—think Aspercreme, Biofreeze, or Icy Hot—are used for muscle pain relief and may help with sciatic pain when you apply them directly over the painful area. One of the most common options, lidocaine patches, are generally used for pain relief in the lower back.Is Arnicare gel good for sciatica? ›
Arnica, a homeopathic remedy for all sorts of aches and injuries is another natural choice you can try for sciatica. It is offered in both the traditional homeopathic oral solution or in creams and rubs.Is Deep heat Rub any good for sciatica? ›
Sciatic nerve pain originates from your rear pelvis and the lower back, and heat therapy works best when applied to this region. Heat therapy is easily available, simple to use, and can provide immediate relief from the shooting sciatic nerve pain in your leg—read on to learn how.What not to do when you have sciatica? ›
- Avoid Exercises That Stretch Your Hamstrings. ...
- Avoid Lifting Heavy Weights Before Warming Up. ...
- Avoid Certain Exercise Machines. ...
- Avoid Sitting For Longer Than 20 Minutes. ...
- Avoid Bed Rest. ...
- Avoid Bending Over.
Lying Knee-to-Chest Stretch
Lie on your back with your legs extended. Try not to arch your back. Slowly bring one knee toward your chest and grasp it with your hands (behind or on top of the knee). Pull on the knee gently until you feel a mild stretch in your lower spine and hip.
On the back – Research shows that many people find relief from pain when sleeping on their back. This can relieve pressure on the low back and sciatic nerve. For best results, elevate the knees by placing one or more pillows beneath them. Make sure the neck is also supported with a pillow.
What makes sciatica worse? ›
Anything that puts more pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica symptoms to flare up. This includes sitting too much, wearing uncomfortable footwear or too tight pants, sleeping in a wrong position, and being inactive.What is Chinese medicine for sciatica? ›
Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, a TCM for Sciatica, is a warm and dry herbal mixture that also alleviates this variation of Sciatica. Acupuncture is also a perfect way to treat Sciatica. It involves the use of fine sterilized needles are placed along the pathway of the pain to displace the qi-energy.Which is better arnica or Voltaren? ›
Some studies state there is little difference between using arnica and topical anti-inflammatory gels like Voltaren Gel (5). While a different study reported that the use of arnica increased pain when compared with a placebo (6). All topical gels should only be used externally on unbroken skin.