17 Best Muscle Rubs (2022)

muscle rub

A good muscle rub can help to relieve the pain caused by a workout-related injury, with certain rubs even having properties that will aid in the healing process. In this article, OriGym has broken down the 17 best muscle rubs on the UK market and will explain how they can benefit your body. 

The term muscle rub is commonly associated with only muscle rub creams, whilst other forms such as gels, oils, and roll-ons are often ignored. Here at OriGym we can tell you that whilst all these products fall under the same umbrella of muscle treatment, they all work in different ways. 

Before we jump into the article, if you are interested in treating and preventing injuries, take a look at OriGym’s Sports Massage Therapy course. 

Otherwise, download our prospectus to find out more about the range of courses that you can study with us!

What is a Muscle Rub?

What are Muscle Rubs?

Before we delve into the debate of the best muscle rub in the UK, it is worth addressing what muscle rubs actually are and whether it is worth adding to your cosmetics bag.

Regardless of whether it's a muscle rub gel or another substance variation, all products are used to treat minor aches and pains within your muscles and joints. Such pains include arthritis, backaches, and general sprains. 

Each variation of sore muscle rubs operates by initially cooling the skin around the damaged area, before making it warmer. However, if you’re specifically looking for a muscle rub that can prompt only a cooling sensation, then we would recommend purchasing a rub that contains menthol. 

If you find yourself questioning ‘how does muscle rub work?’, then you should know that using these muscle rubs won’t treat the acute inflammation at the heart of your injury. Rather, the sore muscle rubs simply cause the aforementioned cooling and warming sensations to occur against your skin, which helps to distract your mind from the pain caused by your initial injury. 

In short, muscle rubs can’t permanently resolve severe medical issues such as chronic pain, but they can make living with said pain more manageable. In addition to this, the act of rubbing the cream/gel/oil into your skin can reduce the pain of injured muscles, and even loosen up any tight or stressed areas. 


The 17 Best Muscles Rubs

For those still wondering how does muscle rub work? In this section, we will address not only the best muscle rub products but also the function of each one. Note that while they are all sold as muscle rub treatments, the way in which work may vary. 

Here at OriGym we believe in providing options for everyone, which is why we have tried to ensure the following list reflects a variety of needs and price ranges. You should not only be able to find a muscle rub that you can afford but one that works in a way that will benefit your health and specific preferences.  

#1 - The Feel Good Lab Natural Pain Cream

Price: £19.80

Natural Muscle Rub

This natural muscle rub comes in the form of a cream and has been developed by The Feel Good Lab, in collaboration with pharmaceutical experts of America. 

What sets this muscle cream apart from others is that the advertisements state that it is developed using only all-natural ingredients. Boasting this, The Feel Good Lab shares that the ingredients within the Natural Pain Cream have been historically known to naturally reduce pain within the body, such as turmeric, magnesium and yucca to name but a few. 

When it comes to purchasing medications that boast about natural ingredients and remedies, it is common among buyers to be skeptical of the effectiveness of the treatment. However, if you intend on purchasing this natural muscle rub, you can rest with the peace of mind knowing that it has been certified by the United States Food and Drugs Association (FDA), which backs up the claims of its medicinal effectiveness. 

The Natural Pain Cream is regarded as one of the best muscle rub creams on the market today due to the fact it encourages health and wellness within your body. It does this through the use of a specific concoction of ingredients that all offer benefits for the body. 

For more information on natural ingredients and their beneficial properties, why not have a look at OriGym’s article on Coconut Water.

In addition to offering ingredients that are good for you, the brand behind this muscle rub also highlights a list of ingredients that are not included within its formula - providing peace of mind to customers with allergies or sensitive skin. 

If you fall under either one of these categories, please note that all of the following ingredients are not used in the making of this muscle relaxant cream, meaning you can use it without the added fear of a reaction: 

  • Parabens 
  • Petroleum 
  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance 
  • Phthalates 

If all that is not enough to convince you of the effectiveness of this medical treatment, then you’ll also be interested to know that this muscle rub cream has been further certified and approved by publishing outlets such as CBS, ABC News, and Bustle. 

Discover why the Natural Pain Cream is regarded as one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief, by purchasing a bottle from The Feel Good Lab’s website. The cream is available in 3 sizes: (100ML, 200ML and 300ML).

#2 - Muscle MX Recovery Cooling Balm 

Price: £28.30

Muscle Rub Brands UK Image

When it comes to purchasing the best muscle rub for back pain, or a number of other nagging issues that continue to creep up, we recommend using the Recovery Cooling Balm from Muscle MX. 

Made from CBD (or cannabidiol), this sore muscle rub works hand in hand with your body’s own endocannabinoid receptors to support overall wellness. These receptors are found on the surface of various cells throughout the nervous system, immune systems, and vital organs. The specific job of these receptors is to help regulate biological processes such as pain, with treatments such as the Recovery Cooling Balm aiding in this process. 

In recent years, CBD oils have become a popular medicinal treatment, however, there are still some misconceptions regarding the ingredient found within this muscle joint rub that we feel needs clearing up. 

For starters, CBD is a natural compound found in the hemp plant, and in no way can it cause any sort of hallucinations. This misconception is often drawn by individuals who confuse this compound with that of THC. 

OriGym has multiple listicles which delve into the benefits that all-natural products can provide. One of these is the 17 best natural energy drinks, which highlight beverages that aren’t packed with caffeine and other harmful chemicals.

Much like the previous entry on this list, Muscle MX also guarantees that this is a natural muscle rub, thanks to the ingredients that go into its manufacturing and development. But what's more, the website also states how the muscle rub is long-lasting, perfect for a post-workout massage, and fast-acting, too. 

When looking at the reviews for this muscle joint rub, it is immediately apparent just how popular the muscle balm is among Muscle MX customers. When commenting on the quality of the Recovery Cooling Balm, customers state that this particular CBD balm is good for targeting areas of your body plagued with pain.

For example, one customer explained how they used the balm to target areas around their spinal cord where chronic pain would often strike. The same reviewer claimed that this sore muscle rub was effective both before and after spinal surgery, helping to ease and target any pain that they endured, with soothing properties that helped lower the need for painkillers.

#3 - Balmy Fox Muscle Rub

Price: £10.75

Best Muscle Rub for Athletes

The Muscle Rub from Balmy Fox is yet another example of a natural muscle rub, which targets pain whilst also improving your health and wellness. Not only is this muscle rub used to target pain, but it can also help to reduce inflammation, thanks to ingredients such as arnica and hemp oil. 

For those who purchase this muscle rub, Balmy Fox states on their website that you can expect to see anti-inflammatory results after just a couple of days. For a full list of ingredients which were included within the manufacturing of this muscle relaxant cream, press the link above to check it out for yourself. 

Balmy Fox is one of the best muscle rub brands you can support from an ethical standpoint, as their company use a percentage of their profits to support global charities such as: Impossible to Ignore, World Land Trust and Plastic Oceans. 

So, if you’re interested in using one of the best muscle pain relief creams the UK has to offer, you’ll not only be benefiting your own life, but the lives of others across the world. 

If the idea of supporting Plastic Oceans excites you then we can assume you’re interested in reducing plastic pollution. Luckily for you OriGym has a listicle dedicated to the 15 best running water bottles, all of which are entirely unique and can be reused multiple times. 

When it comes to customer reviews it’s easy to see why this particular cream is considered to be one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief. Customers from all around the world have applauded the effectiveness of the muscle cream, along with its scent and the speed of the delivery. Likewise, many of the online reviewers commonly agreed upon the idea that this is a great gift option for other people in your life. 

If you’re looking for the best muscle pain relief creams in the UK today, then OriGym cannot recommend The Muscle Rub enough. 

#4 - Avena Active Muscle Rub 

Price: £7.99

Muscle Rub Cream

When looking for a muscle relaxant cream, we want the reassurance that the product we are applying to our skin features only ingredients that will benefit our body. With the perfect balance of botanical oils and beeswax, Avena provides this reassurance in the form of an all-natural rub, designed to ease and soothe muscle pain. 

Avena guarantees that this is one of the best muscle rubs for athletes, with the company’s website recommending its use either before or after an intense workout or competition. 

When applied prior to any physical outings, the protecting balm can help to warm up your muscles, effectively getting them ready for the activity they’re about to endure. Whereas if the balm is applied post-workout, it offers a soothing massage which we would recommend incorporating into your warm-down routine.

Triathlon athletes in particular regard Avena as one of the best muscle pain relief creams in the UK. These athletes know what they’re talking about, as they put their bodies through intense workouts during both competitions and their everyday training. 

If you’d like to learn more about triathlons, we would recommend reading OriGym’s article detailing triathlon’s history, which specifically highlights the intense work needed to complete one of these races. 

As a natural muscle rub, Avena’s balm incorporates specific ingredients known to benefit key areas within your body. For example, the cosmetic grade sweet almonds and sunflower oil work to combine with the beeswax in order to soothe pains that are specifically located within your joints. 

But that does not limit this balm to being solely a muscle joint rub. With an added infusion of rosemary, Avena’s balm can also help with anti-inflammatory issues, as well as relieving pain caused by cramps or muscle spasms achieved through increasing circulation and lowering blood pressure. 

Finally, the addition of lavender in the balm aids in the soothing of joint pain and is commonly recognised as the most popular essential oil. 

When it comes to muscle rub brands, some of you may have questions relating to the ethical stance around animal testing. We are happy to report that Avena has not tested this or any of their products on animals, nor do they purchase ingredients from companies who partake in such practices. 

With all this in mind, if you’re keen to invest in the best muscle rubs for athletes we cannot recommend Avena’s Active Muscle Rub enough. If all the above points weren’t incentive enough to purchase, this particular balm is also included in the 3 for £19.99 deal that Aveena runs. 

#5 - The Oil Hut Muscle Rub Oil 

Price: £12.95

Sore Muscle Rub Image

As we have previously discussed, muscle rub cream is not the only efficient way to treat sore and damaged muscles. Oils can also be used as muscle rubs, which is evident with the Muscle Rub Oil by The Oil Hut.

The company’s website highlights how this oil is a muscle rub for shoulder pain, as well as being effective for back issues such as sciatica. In addition to this, many customers also use this oil in order to treat pulled hamstring and calf muscle, this makes the oil the ideal rub for athletes who encounter damage particularly to these areas. 

This Oil Huts’s muscle rub for shoulder pain and nagging back issues is available in a 100ml bottle and offers a soothing blend of 100% natural essential oils, including rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint and camphor. 

Whilst you can apply this oil directly onto your skin through the pump top lid, many Oil Hut customers choose to incorporate this muscle rub into their bathing routine by either pouring some into their bath water or rubbing it into themselves whilst in the shower. 

This treatment also falls under the category of heat muscle rubs as it provides a warming sensation for users who massage it into their skin. Once this sensation is activated you should feel your injured muscles become re-energised, thanks to its soothing blend of all-natural ingredients. 

While we’re on the subject of oils, if you’ve ever wondered what the beneficial properties of cod liver oil are, you’ll be pleased to know that we have created a detailed article on the subject, which seeks to highlight how the oil can benefit multiple aspects of your life.

#6 - Neal’s Yard Warming Salve Muscle Rub

Price: £10.00

best muscle rub gels

The natural world around us is full of plants and herbs that have warming or soothing properties, and some of the best muscle rub gels take advantage of this to offer muscle rubs without synthetic chemicals or additives.

All products from Neal’s Yard use 100% responsibly sourced and organic ingredients to create an excellent selection of natural remedies, including sore muscle rub gels that don’t harm your skin or the environment. 

This particular blend is full of energising and warming ginger that works to soothe muscle pain. Along with ginger, this muscle rub uses rosemary and lavender oils to soothe and relax your muscles. They also make the salve smell amazing, so you can use it during the day without worrying about chemical smells following you around.

The avocado and olive oil base helps to keep your skin smooth and moisturised so you don’t need to worry about chemicals drying out your skin with prolonged use.

Neal’s Yard is UK based, and has definitely become one of the leading natural muscle rub brands around the world. They’ve been proudly carbon neutral since 2008, use 100% renewable energy sources for their Dorset eco-factory, and are committed to providing quality products that are sustainable and environmentally conscious.

#7 - Fisiocrem Joint and Muscle Pain SOLUGEL Fisiocrem 

Price: £14.85

Muscle Cream

When it comes to muscle rub cream that works specifically on joints, Fisiocrem is an incredibly popular brand that many may already be familiar with. 

Whilst some of the muscle rubs featured within this list label themselves as either a liquid heat muscle rub or a rub that is designed for cooling properties, Fisiocrem falls under neither of these categories. Rather, Fisiocrem is a therapeutic gel that is specifically designed to reduce the pains and contractions associated with muscle spasms and joint pain.

If you suffer from any types of reactions to perfume or have a strong aversion to particular fragrances, you’ll be pleased to know that this sore muscle rub is entirely odorless. As well as being perfume/fragrance-free, the rub is also free of harmful products, such as parabens and hydroxybenzoate.

Fisiocrem may be the perfect muscle rub for runners, as it has been noted by Amazon customers to work particularly well on your knee joints. 

Running is a high-impact sport and your legs encounter a surprisingly significant level of strain during the process. Ensure that your legs are treated and well looked after during your warm-down routine by gently massaging this muscle cream into your knees, calves and ankles. 

For the most effective results when using this muscle cream, we would recommend gently massaging it into strained or contracted areas, around your muscles or joints.

For alternative joint treatments click here for our article dedicated to knee compression sleeves

Whilst this muscle relaxant cream is sold in many different shops across the UK, we have chosen to specifically link to Amazon as it is the most accessible outlet for all readers. 

#8 - This Works Body Muscle Therapy 

Price: £18.00

Best Muscle rub for Shoulder Pain Image

Muscle massage therapy no longer has to be restricted solely to muscle relaxant gels and creams, as with the Perfect Body Muscle Therapy you can use the roll-on application to deeply massage injured or strained areas.

Designed to mimic a massage therapist’s rollerball, this treatment is considered to be one of the best muscle rubs for back pain. This is owing to the fact that when attempting to tackle back pain, we can sometimes struggle to treat specific areas that are just out of our arms reach. 

If you’re someone who enjoys this sensation, then naturally you’re going to want to invest in a massage ball. Thankfully, we have you covered with OirGym’s cultivated list of the 17 best massage balls on the market today.

With this muscle rub, you can effectively massage areas that would be otherwise difficult to treat. However, this does not limit the Perfect Body Muscle Therapy as a product solely for back pain; This Works claims the rub to be one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief in general, directing their customers to target joint pain, as well as headaches, by applying the message ball to their temples. 

This Works also brands their product as one of the best muscle rubs for athletes. If you visit the gym frequently or simply live an active lifestyle, the massage roller application can be greatly beneficial to your post-workout routine; consider the rub to be the treat that your muscles and joints deserve after all the work they’ve put in. 

Whatsmore, on top of all of these benefits, this sore muscle rub also smells amazing! Infused with therapeutic ingredients such as black pepper, sweet almond oil and aloe vera, this rub is for those looking for a therapy treatment that is not only effective but leaves you smelling pleasant in the process. 

Many customers share in the sentiment on the company’s website that the Perfect Body Muscle Therapy is one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief, with one user even labeling the rub as a ‘therapist in a bottle’.

Other users praised the effectiveness of the roll-on application, stating that they believe this helps the process of easing muscle pain, more so than general or even prescribed muscle relaxant gels and creams. 


#9 - Tiger Balm Ointment

Price: £6.90

How Does Muscle Rub Work?

Arguably one of the most recognisable muscle rub creams to feature on this list, Tiger Balm is a globally renowned brand that possesses many beneficial properties, with the most obvious being an effective remedy for muscle aches and pains.

This heat muscle rub offers temporary relief to areas that have been inflicted with pain or spasms. For the most effective results, it is advised to apply the muscle rub to the targeted area and gently massage it in, you’ll know when the rub has begun to activate when you feel the heat on and around the targeted area of skin. 

The developers behind Tiger Balm recommend using this muscle cream up to 4 times a day and advise their customers to stay away from water both before and after general application.  

This heat muscle rub comes in two different variations, we have linked to Tiger Balm Red, however, Tiger Balm White is also available for purchase. The only differences between the two muscle balms are the ingredients, with Red containing menthol and camphor and White containing menthol and methyl salicylate. 

The inclusion of camphor is what makes Tiger Balm Red a liquid heat muscle rub, as camphor offers both a cooling and warming effect on skin by increasing blood circulation. 

Fun Fact: one of the alternatives uses for Tiger Balm Red is that it can be used to treat damaged or infected toenails, a benefit which in large part is down to camphor used in the balms manufacturing - for this reason, we emphasise that you do not use Tiger Balm White to attempt to treat toenail issues.

Tiger Balm White’s methyl salicylate is made from mint extracts and works by constricting muscles to help decrease joint pain. This ingredient can also be used to help with colds and congestion issues when inhaled.

If you’re eager to see the hype surrounding Tiger Balm, then click the link above and purchase this liquid heat muscle rub for yourself. However, if you want alternative heat treatments, we also recommend reading this article relating to the benefits of saunas

#10 - ANNABIS Activecann Warming Hemp Massage Gel 

Price - 13.99

Muscle rub UK

This next entry on our list of the 17 best muscle rubs is one that may particularly appeal to the vegan market and those who are looking for a muscle rub brand that puts beliefs and ethics at the forefront of production. 

Available in two sizes 75ml and 100ml, this unique warming hemp product is all-natural and greatly benefits any aches and pains that are plaguing your body. 

This muscle relaxant gel is like no other to appear on this list, with an ingredients list that includes the likes of hemp oil and hemp seed extracts, and rich Omega 3-6 unsaturated fatty acids. Whilst on the subject of its contents, the warming properties of this gel comes from the addition of hot pepper extract and cinnamon, which are sure to induce a significant warming sensation that is unmatched within the market. 

ANNABIS claims to offer one of the best muscle rubs for athletes to use before a big competition or intense workout. Alternatively, the company also recommends that you apply the rub after your workout in order to soothe your energised muscles into a state of relaxation. 

When it comes to the recommended time of dosing of this heat muscle rub, ANNABIS clearly states that the gel works best when applied twice daily during a three-hour period. Please note that the company strongly advises against the use of their Activecann Warming Hemp Gel on children below the age of three.

Additionally, due to the intensity of this liquid heat muscle rub, it is also not recommending for users with sensitive skin. 


Here at OriGym we believe in providing content for everyone and if you do live a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based lifestyle, then you may also want to check out the following articles

#11 - Oomeo Lavender Muscle Rub

Price: £4.15 - 11.45

Best Muscle Rub for Back Pain

If your muscle aches are keeping you up at night, then Oomeo’s Lavender Muscle Rub may be the solution to all your problems. Branded as being one of the best muscle rubs for shoulder pain, the lavender based rub will not only relax your muscles but will also provide you with a great night's sleep.

Lavender is one of the key ingredients to feature within OriGym’s list of the 30 best natural mood boosters. If you want to find out more information regarding the benefits of lavender and other natural alternatives to improve your mood, click on the link provided to read our article. 

Inspired by the beautiful lavender fields of the Mediterranean, this muscle relaxant gel contains lavender essential oil, skin-nourishing apricot kernel oil, and virgin olive oil, to create the perfect everyday muscle rub. 

Due to the intensity of the essential oils used in the manufacturing of this muscle balm, Oomeo suggests using a small dose of this rub, only adding to it if you feel it is completely necessary. 

When it comes to muscle rub brands, those that use all-natural ingredients and oils are considerably popular. If you only wish to support such brands, you’ll be pleased to know that Oomeo’s Lavender Muscle Rub is completely natural and free from parabens, petroleum, preservatives and artificial fragrances and colours. 

Whilst the natural muscle rub offers calming properties and isn’t as dangerous as other medical-grade muscle rubs, it still comes with some safety recommendations that must be adhered to. 

For starters, you should not use this rub on children under 12, nor should you use it if you’re currently pregnant. This is due to the essential oils that are used in the rub making, you should also always consult your Doctor before using any essential oils if you’re on any kind of medication.

Here at OriGym we would also recommend that you do a small patch test on your skin before applying it in generous amounts in order to see how your skin reacts. 

In addition to being an effective muscle treatment, reviewers also seem to agree upon the notion that this muscle relaxant gel is beautifully fragrant and was effective in its second purpose of aiding sleeping patterns. 

#12 - Radian B Muscle Rub

Price: £3.89

Muscle Joint Rub

As we continue to pressure the question: what is the best muscle rub cream?, we would be remiss without acknowledging one of the most popular muscle rubs the UK has to offer, Radian B. 

What sets this rub apart from others to appear on the market? Well, one of the key differences between this treatment and others to appear on this list, is that this muscle cream can also be used to treat inflammation and itching. 

Traditionally, it is recommended that you avoid putting any kind of sore muscle rub on these areas as there is a risk of causing an infection. However, Radian B is perfectly safe to use in this manner, due to the fact that this muscle cream contains a combination of menthol, camphor, methyl salicylate and capsicum oleoresin. 

Menthol can relieve itching and cause the blood vessels on the surface of your skin to widen which, in turn, causes a sensation of coldness followed by a pain reduction. So, not only is Radian B considered to be one of the best muscle rub creams for reducing inflammation, but it can also successfully act as a cooling agent to help with strains and injuries.

Menthol is not the only beneficial property of this muscle rub cream, as camphor, methyl salicylate and capsicum oleoresin also act as counter-irritants that help to reduce redness and heat. 

With all this in mind, it is understandable why many runners regard Radian B to be one of the best muscle pain relief creams the UK can offer, as it can stop irritation caused by repeated episodes of chafing. 

Don’t let itching or pain stop you from working towards your goals, instead tackle these issues head-on through the use of Radian B. When you look at the review for this muscle rub cream on Amazon, you can see that many customers also applaud the effectiveness of the treatment, with many examples of how the cream has been used to treat a variety of injuries such as sciatica and broken arms. 

Improving your bone strength and overall well-being can stop the need for muscle rubs, as the healthier, you are the less likely you are to sustain an injury. OriGym has provided a list of the 19 best vitamins for the immune system which details what you can consume in order to improve your health.

#13 - Ellimans 100m Universal Muscle Rub

Price: £7.99

Liquid Heat Muscle Rub

If you’re after a liquid heat muscle rub that is reliable and effective, look no further than the Universal Muscle Rub from Ellimans. This lotion has been used to treat aches and pains for over half a century and is a go-to muscle relaxant for households across the world.

Ellimans has been known to relieve pains caused by backache, sciatica, lumbago, fibrositis, and rheumatic pain. Once applied, the Universal Cream spreads a warming sensation across the body, radiating from the area in which you applied it to. 

If you’re using Ellimans’ to treat backache which resulted from an injury sustained in weightlifting, we encourage you to follow up this read with our guide on common weightlifting injuries and how you can prevent them.

In addition to treating pain, many cite Elliman’s as the best muscle rub for athletes, with the most effective results being noted when massaged into the legs and arm muscle groups.

When it comes to athletes, the recommended time of dosing is to use both before and after your workout for the most effective results. However, if you wish to use the Universal Muscle Rub as a pain treatment, apply twice a day at times at your own discretion. 

Online reviews of this Ellimans’ highlight exactly why it is considered to be one of the best muscle pain relief creams in the UK and across the world. Reviewers cite the beneficial effects of this treatment, with some saying that they have relied on this cream to treat muscle pain above all else for more than 45 years. 

For many reading this list, when presented with the question of ‘what is the best muscle rub cream?’ Their priorities will lie in a product that possesses a reliable reputation and longevity in the market. It goes without saying that if these are features you look for in medical productions, then Elliman’s Universal Muscle Rub offers one of the best options on this list.

So, why not see what all the fuss is about and try this muscle rub cream for yourself. We promise that your muscles will thank you, once they feel the benefits of this warming treatment.

#14 - Remedinature Rugby Players’ Muscle Rub

Price: £12.98

Best Muscle Pain Relief Cream UK

Within this list, we have already covered some of the best muscle rubs for runners and other athletes alike, but this muscle cream is specifically designed for all the rugby players out there. 

We all know that rugby is a highly physical sport where injuries occur at a greater rate, but this cream is specially designed to ease the pain caused by any tackles or under kicks. 

This is a natural muscle rub made specifically with ingredients that are formulated to benefit a rugby player's body. These ingredients include:

  • Helianthus Annuus (also known as the Sunflower)
  • Cera Alba (beeswax) 
  • Prunus Dulcis (almonds) 
  • Rosmarinus Officinalis (rosemary)
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (english lavender) 

The recommended application frequency for this muscle relaxant cream is 4 times a day, and should be applied by massaging it well into areas such as joints, hands, and feet until there is no residue left on the top layer of your skin. As the Amazon description for this muscle rub clearly states, a little goes a long way, so don’t worry about applying the muscle cream in a heavy amount. 

Through the Amazon reviews, we can see why the Rugby Player’s Muscle Rub is considered to be one of the best muscle rub creams on the market today. Many of the reviewers have shared how they felt such a personal connection with this treatment, stating how they truly believe it was made by rugby players, for rugby players.

Even the scent of the cream invoked a sense of nostalgia for one customer in particular, who claimed that everything about this muscle rub screamed ‘old school rugby’. 

Within this article, we have discussed many of the best muscle rubs for athletes, but it’s very rare to find any sort of rub that has been specifically designed to accommodate the physicality that rugby requires.

Whether you’re a rugby player yourself or looking to buy this for someone as a gift, we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed in the quality of this muscle cream. 

When playing a high-impact sport such as rugby, you may be more likely to sustain serious injuries. ACL injuries are quite common in athletes, and if you want to know how you can avoid this type of injury, read our article dedicated to methods of prevention that you can put in place to stop ACL injuries from occurring

#15 - Voltaren Arthritis & Pain Relief Gel 

Price: £9.50

Muscle Relaxant Gel Image

Muscle rub gels often go overlooked with many customers favouring cream-based counterparts, however shining examples such as Voltaren prove that gels can be just as effective at treating chronic pain and injuries. For example, this entry within our list is specifically designed to help tackle the pain caused by arthritis. 

If you suffer from arthritis and are looking for exercises that can be performed safely, it may interest you to know that Yin yoga can offer beneficial properties as detailed in this OriGym articleOne quick Google search will highlight why Voltaren is regarded as one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief; while other treatments will require you to apply multiple doses throughout the day, this muscle rub gel promises day-long pain prevention.

As one of the best muscle rubs the UK has to offer, it will please you to know that this gel is approved by the FDA and is sold over the counter as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. As the name of this gel implies, it is predominantly used to treat arthritis and other pains located within the joints of hands, knees, and feet.

Whilst Voltaren is a perfectly safe muscle relaxant gel to use, it does come with a few safety precautions that we feel you should be aware of before purchasing. First and foremost, always ensure you wash your hands following the application of the gel to your skin. However, this should be the only water that your skin comes into contact with for at least an hour after applying, meaning you should also avoid showering during this time. 

In addition to this, you should avoid going in direct sunlight following the use of this gel and always keep Voltaren in a room temperature-controlled environment.

The reviews for this rub highlight Voltaren as one of the best muscle rubs for back pain, many of which also reflect the beneficial properties of the gel in treating shoulder pain, arthritis and general aches and pains within the joints. 

#16 - Sombra Professional Therapy Sombra Warm Therapy 

Price: £14.60

Muscle Cream

Securing a place as one of best muscle rubs for back pain, Sombra Warm Therapy is an all-natural treatment that you can rely on to tackle pain whenever it should strike. For most effective results, it is recommended that you apply this to your targeted areas at least 4 times a day.

When it comes to natural muscle rubs, you want a substance that doesn't contain harmful ingredients that could potentially damage your skin; that’s what makes Sombra so effective. Not only does it have a natural orange based scent, but it’s completely alcohol-free and won’t leave a greasy residue on your body.

For other all-natural ingredients that offer benefits to your skin, why not check out OriGym’s article on the benefits of green tea

Within this list, we have discussed many of the best muscle rub creams, as well as determined that sometimes the quality of the muscle rub alone isn’t enough to brand something as ‘the best’. For something to truly achieve this tagline may require an ethical mantra and moral production. 

For those of you out there who are looking for muscle rub brands that are vegetarian friendly and do not test on animals, you’ll be pleased to know that Sombra falls under this category as no animal products are used in the making of the Warm Therapy. 

Instead, the contents of this muscle rub cream are some of the most desired ingredients on the health market today, including:

  • Menthol 
  • Aloe Vera
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract 
  • Rosewater 
  • Vegetable Glycerin 
  • Witch Hazel 

So, if you’re after an all-natural muscle joint rub, then we would highly recommend giving Sombra Warm Therapy a test. Online reviewers swear by its effectiveness, complimenting everything from the benefits it holds to sufferers of fibromyalgia, to the orange based scent. 

Whilst Sombra offers an incredibly effective muscle rub cream, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a big safety precaution that you must adhere to: only apply this cream in small amounts, as it is a liquid heat muscle rub, it has been known to cause discomforting sensations if applied in heavy doses - so take caution in application.

#17 - The Badger Store Organic Sore Muscle Rub

Price: £12.00

Best Muscle Rub Cream image

Concluding our list and rightfully earning a place as one of the most popular muscle rubs in the UK is Badgers Organic Sore, Muscle Rub; offering a soothing warmth for anyone who needs an effective remedy that will tackle muscle pain. 

As the name of this sore muscle rub implies, it is a heat-based treatment that works to distract your mind from any kind of pain thanks to a soothing warmth radiating from the application point on your skin. In addition to this, Badger’s Sore Muscle Rub is also known to be incredibly effective for athletes as it helps to loosen joints before and after a workout.

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your flexibility in a safe and efficient manner check out OriGym’s ultimate guide. 

Badger Organic Sore Muscle Rub is also known to be one of the best muscle rubs for back pain. Many online customers claim that it is particularly effective for targeting lower back muscles, along with stiff or uncomfortable hips.

Much like many of the other entries on this list, Badger’s recipe makes it a natural muscle rub containing organic ingredients such as:

  • Cheyenne Pepper 
  • Ginger 
  • Beeswax
  • Cardamon 
  • Lemongrass 

Naturally, due to the heat of many of these ingredients, safety whilst using this muscle joint rub is paramount. Apply in small amounts when you initially begin using this treatment, this will allow you to determine how you will react to the warming properties. 

In addition to this, you’ll be pleased to note that this natural rub also contains a delicate fragrance that will help to kindly soothe your mind along with your joints.

The Amazon reviews for Badger’s Organic Sore Muscle Rub highlight why it is considered to be one of the best muscle pain relief creams the UK has to offer. Many of the reviews back up the claims made by the manufacturer, by proving that it helps to ease the pain in joints such as knees and hands.

In addition to this, the reviews also show Badger to be one of the best muscle rubs for runners and other athletes, with many commenting on how it helped with a variety of ailments caused by varying practices. 


How to Use Muscle Rubs

Muscle Rub for Back Pain Image

Now that we have in part answered the question ‘how does muscle rub work?’ Let's turn our attention to how you use muscle rubs.

If you do decide to invest in one of the best muscle rubs for pain relief from this shortlist - which we strongly encourage you to do so - apply to your skin only and ensure to keep it away from your eyes, mouth, nose and genitals.

If any of the rub does get into any of these areas, make sure you rinse thoroughly or alternatively wash your hands as soon as the rub has been applied to avoid any side effects. 

You should apply a thin layer of your chosen muscle relaxant gel or cream to the injured areas and then massage it gently into your muscle, no more than 3-4 times a day. If you’ve been prescribed a muscle rub from a medical professional, the amount you apply may vary depending on the severity of your injury. 

Some websites may recommend tightly bandaging these sore muscle rubs around your injured area. However, this will actually be counterproductive and may in fact increase the likelihood of side effects. This is merely one of the safety requirements you should take into consideration whilst using this method of treatment.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Using Muscle Rubs

What is the Best Muscle Cream?

#1 Avoid Exposed Areas of Skin

Whilst using any kind of muscle cream or gel, we must stress that you do not apply it to any area of skin that is exposed or irritated (e.g. sunburnt, cut or scraped). If these areas are the ones that are causing you pain, we would recommend consulting a medical professional for alternative methods of treatment, in order to reduce the risk of causing any unwanted and unnecessary skin infections. 

#2 Do Not Apply If Your Skin is Warm

Heat can also be a factor that causes unwanted side effects whilst using muscle joint rubs. If you have just participated in any activity which can increase the temperature of your skin, such as bathing in hot water, swimming in direct sunlight or just general exercise, then wait until your skin cools before applying the medication. 

Furthermore, for optimum results when using muscle rub treatment keep other forms of heat-based pain relief such as hot water bottles away from the injured areas. 

#3 Seek Advice Before Treating Children

It is recommended that before using muscle relaxant gels or creams on anyone between the ages of 2-12, that you seek the advice of a medical professional. In addition to this, it is advised that under no circumstances should you use any of these medical treatments on children younger than 2. 

Are Muscle Rubs Safe For Pregnancy?

Are Muscle rubs safe during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, many women report issues relating to back pain, arthritis and muscle strains, but avoid using any kind of muscle relaxant creams or gels out of fear that they will be hazardous to their baby. 

If you fall under this category and are questioning ‘are muscle rubs safe for pregnancy?’, we can offer you a detailed explanation into whether these treatments are suitable for pregnant women. 

In short, the answer is yes - pregnant women are allowed to use muscle rubs, be they over the counter or medically prescribed, as they typically don’t contain products that could be harmful to the fetus. 

Most of the muscle rubs (including those that featured on our list) are made with menthol, camphor and methyl salicylate, all of which work as counterirritants, causing these icy/hot sensations to occur throughout the body to distract the mind from the pain. 

These ingredients are all non-toxic and, despite the fact you’re applying them on the top layer of skin there is a minimal systemic absorption rate, so from a maternal and fetal toxicity standpoint, the risk of using muscle rub products is low.

If you want to further ease your mind, we would recommend looking for a natural muscle rub, which will typically contain no added chemicals or medications.

However, pregnant women have been noted to have sensitive skin, so before using any sore muscle rubs, we would recommend doing a patch test in order to see how your skin reacts. To minimise any type of adverse reaction, wear gloves when applying the rub, thoroughly wash your hands following the application process, and most importantly don’t touch your eyes or face. 

In addition to this, before using any kind of over-the-counter muscle rub brands, please consult with your doctor. 

Before You Go!

We hope that you have found our list of the 17 best muscle rubs to be informative and helpful. There is a multitude of different treatments available, so when faced with a question such as ‘what is the best muscle rub cream? there is, unfortunately, no direct answer, rather each answer is subjective and what is beneficial to one person may not be to another. 

Whether it's a cream, oil, or gel, each muscle rub will have different effects and is undoubtedly made with unique ingredients, so it’s so important that you find one that’s right for your needs.

We here at OriGym would like to advise you one last time to use this product safely, avoid contact with the eyes and face, and always do a patch test before applying generous amounts. 

If this article has inspired you to jump in a brand new career in the fitness industry, take a look at the different personal trainer courses OriGym currently has on offer. 

Otherwise, download our free prospectus to see the full range of courses available. 

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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