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10 Natural Topical Treatments for Joint Pain

If you’ve ever struggled with joint pain, you know how it can turn even the simplest daily tasks into aggravating challenges.

Reaching for an over-the-counter pain reliever is a common first step for many arthritis and joint pain sufferers, but if you’re reading this, you might be curious about natural alternatives. The good news is that Chinese herbal topicals can soothe your pain and help you stop relying on painkillers.

Natural topical treatments are herbal products (often in a tincture, oil, or patch) that are applied directly to areas of joint pain for quick relief. Whether you’re dealing with arthritis, recovering from an injury, or want to manage general wear and tear, there’s a topical treatment out there for you.

Pain-Relieving Herbal Topical Treatments: How Do They Work?

Joint pain is a common complaint often associated with conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, and other musculoskeletal issues. While many turn to medications or even surgery, topical treatments are powerful yet simple ways to keep pesky joint pain at bay and allow your tissues to heal faster.

But how do they work?

Topical pain relievers are applied directly to the skin over painful joints. They provide relief by absorbing into the skin and acting locally on the affected area. In some cases, you can even apply these topical treatments to joints before the pain starts – such as before a workout or before going to bed at night – to prevent future aches.

Here are some of the benefits you may experience when you start using topical treatments for joint pain:

  • Targeted Relief
    Topicals give you pain relief right where you need it most.
  • Reduced Risk of Side Effects
    Unlike systemic pain medications, topicals don’t come with side effects such as gastrointestinal upset. They can usually be applied several times per day or as needed.
  • Easy and Convenient
    Topical formulas are easy to apply. They travel well and can easily be taken to the office, the gym, the car, hiking, or traveling.

When to Use External Topicals vs. Internal Herbal Medicine for Joint Pain

While topicals are effective for localized symptoms, internal herbal remedies may be a better choice for systemic or widespread inflammation. Topicals are ideal for:

  • Acute flare-ups
  • Localized pain
  • Situations requiring immediate relief
  • Preventative pain relief 

In contrast, internal remedies are better for:

  • Long-term pain management
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Underlying health issues affecting multiple joints

Types of TCM Pain-Relieving Topicals

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a holistic approach to treating joint pain. Along with acupuncture, diet, and supplements, TCM has a rich tradition of using topical healing remedies to ease pain and encourage healing. Here are some of the most common ways we can use herbs outside the body for fast and natural pain relief:

  • Herbal Oils: Herbs are steeped in oil and used to massage over joints to enhance circulation and reduce pain.
  • Herbal Tinctures: Concentrated herbal solutions in water, alcohol, or another liquid are easily applied to the skin for quick absorption.
  • Compresses: Herbal powders can be steeped in hot water, then applied as a warm compress to reduce joint swelling. A modern and convenient method of compress is the pain patch.
  • Balms: Thicker than oils or tinctures, balms combine herbs with waxes and oils to create a protective layer over painful areas. You can make your own herbal balms by mixing herbal oils with a neutral balm, like vaseline or shea butter. 

10 Top TCM Topical Treatments for Joint Pain

TCM topical products can be a secret weapon in your pain relief toolkit. But which one is right for you? Here are ten of the most popular and effective topical treatments for every kind of joint pain:

  1. Kwan Loong Pain Relieving Oil
    Kwan Loong Oil is a top choice due to its fast-acting relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints. It is particularly effective for joint pain associated with simple backache and arthritis. Apply the oil directly onto the skin over the painful area and massage gently to promote healing blood circulation and warmth.
  2. Po Sum On Medicated Oil
    Po Sum On Oil is used to warm, invigorate, and circulate. It is a key formula to have on hand for a range of issues, from relieving coughs and headaches to managing abdominal and muscular pain. For joint pain, its warming herbal formula helps to relieve discomfort from arthritis and muscle fatigue. Massage it into the painful area to help relax the mind and body.
  3. Mobility Muscle and Joint Rub
    This rub combines several Chinese herbs to form a soothing balm for chronic joint pain, such as that caused by arthritis. When massaged into the skin, it helps reduce inflammation and enhance mobility in stiff joints. This is a great preventative balm to use before a workout or long day of activity.
  4. Yunnan Baiyao Pain Patch
    This pain patch is infused with the powerful formula, Yunnan Baiyao. When taken internally or applied to open wounds, this formula can stop bleeding. But, as a patch, it also quickly stops pain and encourages tissue recovery. It is especially useful for joint pains due to sprains or arthritis. As a patch, it offers a convenient and mess-free way to release pain-relieving medicinals over several hours.
  5. Yunnan Baiyao Spray
    This spray version of Yunnan Baiyao is suited for those who prefer a no-touch application. It is a great choice for joint pain related to sports injuries or on-the-go arthritis relief. The spray provides quick, cooling relief, and its astringent properties help reduce swelling and stop pain.
  6. Woodlock Medicated Oil (Wong To Yick)
    Woodlock Oil, or Wong To Yick, is a herbal medicated oil that helps to relieve pain from rheumatoid arthritis or minor injuries. Choose this for deep-seated joint pain and muscular tension.
  7. Zheng Gu Shui
    Translated as “Bone-Setting Water” or “Correct the Bone Water,” Zheng Gu Shui is ideal for sprains, strains, and general joint and muscle soreness. It works by promoting blood circulation to the area and can be used before or after physical activity to prevent stiffness and pain.
  8. Shu Jin Lu External Analgesic Spray
    Shu Jin Lu Spray is a top choice for those with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The spray also makes it easy to cover larger or hard-to-reach areas. First, you’ll feel a cooling sensation, then it slowly warms to reduce pain and swelling.
  9. 701 Dieda Zhengtong Yaogao Pain Patch
    Another pain patch option, the 701 Dieda Zhengtong Yaogao Pain Patch targets both acute injuries and chronic conditions like arthritis. It sticks to the skin and releases its herbal components directly into the painful joint over a sustained period. This is a great choice for keeping pain levels low throughout the day.
  10. Dau Xanh Con O – Eagle Brand Medicated Oil
    Eagle Brand Medicated Oil is a versatile oil that can be used for arthritis or musculoskeletal pain. It has a cooling effect which is best suited to inflamed or hot joints. It is ideal for mild to moderate joint pain, and can be massaged into the affected areas several times daily.

Want Joint Pain Relief? Try Topicals

Living with joint pain can be frustrating. But before you reach for another painkiller to get rid of the pain for a moment, why not try giving your body the chance to heal and get rid of joint pain for good?

Chinese herbal medicines for joint pain and topical pain relief treatments can help you get relief with natural solutions. These treatments not only target the discomfort but also work towards healing the underlying imbalances that contribute to your pain.Ready to embrace a life with less pain and more movement? Explore our selection of Chinese herbal supplements and topical treatments specifically designed for joint health.

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