Best Muscle Rubs in 2022
You’re a runner. A powerlifter. An athlete whose muscles endure rigorous exercise in the name of fitness gains. As any dedicated athlete knows, hard work without proper recovery spells injury, and muscle rub has long been a crucial bow in the athlete’s recovery quiver.
The best muscle rubs will take the brunt of the pain, soothe the muscle fibers, and get you back on your feet far more quickly than “roughing it out.” The market for rubs is a burgeoning one, teeming with endless combinations of ingredients, analgesic effects, wear times, scents, and strengths. Finding a cure best-suited to your ailments can be daunting, so we’ve put together this quick and easy guide to some of the best muscle rubs.
The Best Muscle Rub
Need a rub that penetrates deep and leaves your muscles feeling calm, cooled, and relaxed? doTERRA may be just what the doctor ordered. While doTERRA may not be a household name (yet), it comes with such a strong reputation that they rely on word of mouth to keep their excellent brand alive.
The scent isn’t overpowering, and the formula blends right into your skin without leaving a greasy residue. doTERRA’s unique blend targets joints and muscle groups to combat pain, swelling, and tension. doTERRA is strong yet gentle, making this analgesic suitable for tight knots and tender injuries alike.
If you’ve used muscle rubs before, you know that menthol comes with the territory. This doTERRA muscle rub uses menthol, but the scent isn’t overpowering in this unique blend. Keep the pain at bay without drowning in a sea of mint. For more amazing products that will help your muscles and joints to recover, check out our guide to the best kinesiology tapes.
Available in 4oz and 32oz containers
Moisturizer sinks into your skin for fast relief
Minty aroma (not too overpowering, but prevalent)
- Model3.2 Ounces
Biofreeze is a giant in the market, and rightly so. Highly absorbent, Biofreeze strikes fast and cuts through deep pain, absorbing into your skin in record time. Targeting your muscle groups and joints, a little Biofreeze goes a long way. The gel allows for fast absorption, delivering relief in about fifteen seconds. How’s that for a quick fix?
Fast-acting medicinal items usually come with a problem; they’re generally steroidal, containing steroids of some sort. Some people with allergies to NSAIDs, ironically meaning for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but it still stimulates your body all the same. It’s why some people can’t take Advil (ibuprofen), then can only take Tylenol (acetaminophen).
But this muscle rub has zero NSAIDs in it, so you don’t have to worry about it affecting your allergies. It’s a unique blend of ingredients that brings quick relief without having the steroidal side effect. You can buy a single four-ounce tube, or take advantage of a bulk package of twelve for a discounted price.
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Available for individual purchase, or discount bulk packs
Fast-acting formula works quickly to sooth pain
Contains no NSAIDs—perfect for steroidal allergy sufferers
- Weight3.2 Ounces
Before Tiger Balm was well-known in the United States, it lingered in that gray-area reserved for remedies not evaluated by the FDA. Due mainly to popularity amongst users, this now-famous salve lines the shelves of most big-box stores and pharmacies – and with good reason.
Boasting a uniquely potent blend of camphor and menthol, Tiger Balm Red Herbal Ointment hits hard and fast. Capable of numbing arthritic pain, soothing deep aches, or preparing major muscles for intense exercise, Tiger Balm is as versatile as it is strong.
Note that Tiger Balm Red is the original Thai recipe, and is stronger than its more conventional, colorless version. The high concentration of camphor and menthol has proven more effective than many of its FDA-regulated competitors.
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High concentration of menthol for an overwhelming cooling sensation
Known as one of the strongest pain relief balms ever made
Actually numbs areas of extreme pain in record time
- Weight3.2 Ounces
Once upon a time, Bengay was the ultimate pain relief cream in America. Non-greasy and fast-absorbing, Bengay delivers relief within a couple of minutes. The cream contains a relatively moderate concentration of menthol, making it milder in odor and suitable for multiple applications during activity.
Their Ultra-Strength muscle rub may not boast the same potency as some of its higher-concentration competitors, but it stands out as an effective cream at an affordable price. Athletes and gym regulars might consider purchasing a five-pack of Bengay’s Ultra Strength muscle rub. For those of you who wish to protect their knees while exercising, we have prepared our selection of the best knee sleeves, so check them out.
Perfect for minor arthritis pains and creaky joints
Works in a decently quick time frame
Non-greasy feeling; no more slick skin after application
- Weight4.8 Ounces
Muscle Rub is a reliable medium-strength mentholated cream. Offered at an attractive price, the Muscle Rub 3-Tube Pack contains three 1.5 oz tubes. It’s worth noting that the rub expires within two to three months of being opened.
Muscle Rub should be stored between 59° and 86° Fahrenheit to maintain its potency. If you suffer from back pain, be sure to check out our reviews of the best back braces and pick your favorite.
Total of 4.5 oz of pain relief cream at a discounted price
Minor levels of menthol don’t leave you with an overpowering scent
Usable for back aches, muscle tension, and arthritis
- Weight7.2 Ounces
Osteo Bi-Flex offers joint pain relief that is time-tested and trusted. This non-greasy formula penetrates the skin quickly without leaving any residue. Available in 2.5 oz containers, a little will go a long way. Osteo Bi-Flex requires less application and offers stronger, longer-lasting relief than it’s close competitors. Whether it’s an injury or dull joint pain from arthritis, Osteo Bi-Flex can handle it.
If you prefer oral medication over topical relief, they also offer muscle pain relief pills that include turmeric, magnesium, and additional nutrients and minerals to ease chronic pain. Need relief from chronic elbow pain but want to stay active? To protect your elbows during any activity, check out these elbow pads from our list.
Penetrates skin quickly for fast-acting relief
Absolutely no greasy feeling left on your skin
Scent is minor, won’t overpower your senses
- BrandOsteo Bi-Flex
- Weight3.36 Ounces
Epsom-it lotion is a practical, natural remedy for deep muscle aches and pains. With pure Epson salt as the primary ingredient, the Epsom-it lotion ingredients list is short. Paraben and fragrance-free, this lotion soothes your muscles and skips the chemical fillers. Epsom-it, like its main ingredient, is relied upon by athletes, standing shift-workers, and those living with rheumatoid arthritis alike.
Available in 8 oz. bottles, expect to use a moderate amount of lotion for relief similar to that found in its similarly-priced mentholated competitors. Are you looking for more natural pain remedies like this? Check out our guide to the best massage tools.
Contains no parabens, fragrances or known irritants
Short ingredient list; no crazy filler products here
No greasy feeling; absorbed by your skin almost instantly
- Weight10.2 Ounces