When your muscles get sore, you need a remedy that will alleviate pain fast. That’s especially true if you are like me—a former athlete pushing forty and looking to extend their days working out at the gym. If you search the internet for muscle relief, you will see how watered down the market is. Which gel or cream is right for you? Which ones are ultimately the most effective? 

We all have those concerns when we decide on pain relief for our muscles. But how do we know what works and what doesn’t? As a new(er) father of two boys and self-proclaimed weekend warrior athlete, I know what it takes to find a remedy for fast relief. 

And I think I may have found my winner. This article will explain the benefits of an effective pain relief gel no matter how hard you push your body. 

But first…

Best Pain Relief Gel/Cream for Sore Muscles: What to Consider

When it comes to your aches and pains, you want to be sure you are getting the best product for your money. If you ultimately decide against my pick for the best pain relief gel for my sore muscles, I still want to equip you with the proper knowledge so you can make the right choice yourself. I have taken a look at these variables when making my choice, and you should do the same. 

Gel vs. Cream?

Choosing between a gel or cream shouldn’t be too hard since they’re similar. Gels tend to be less greasy than creams and allow you to wear clothes over the area in which you applied the pain reliever. Counterirritants, which give off hot and/or cold sensations, and menthol, which cools the skin, are found more in gels as well. One potential drawback of a gel is the possibility of drier skin where it is used.

Creams are less greasy in relation to certain ointments but tend to be greasier than gel. Creams would be a better option at home after a shower, while gels would be better suited for use on the go.  

Smell

I mentioned the menthol, or methyl salicylate component of a pain relief gel, which can give off a strong smell when applied. I actually love the minty menthol smell, probably because of college, where I spent more time in the training room than I would like to admit after practice. To some, though, this smell is an overwhelming deal-breaker. Make sure you know what you are getting into when you apply a pain reliever, and don’t overwhelm your nostrils.

Ingredients

Like most of the food we eat, our pain relief gel shouldn’t have more ingredients than it needs. My pick for best pain relief gel has only four active ingredients—you won’t be assaulted with toxic chemicals that have no relation to relieving your sore muscles. Read the labels for effective and natural ingredients like menthol and peppermint oil for safe, long-lasting relief. 

Mess

Does your pain reliever apply with ease and a lack of gooey mess? Do you find yourself washing your hands every time you put it on due to excess gel and/or residue? There are plenty of options out there that can be applied with zero mess. 

Best Pain Relief Gel for Sore Muscles: Our Pick

Neptune ICE Pain Relief Gel

As a former college athlete who still loves to stay fit and active at almost 40 years old, it is essential that I can relieve my aches and pains after a tough workout. I’m also a parent of young children. If I’m not playing catch or pushing them on their bikes, I’m picking up food and toys off the floor. Neither athletics nor parenting are easy on the body.

I am thankful Neptune ICE came into my life when it did. I use it almost every night after my shower. It helps me fall asleep with little to no pain and soothes my back and shoulders while I sleep. Neptune’s four tenets of relief—Numbing, Inflammation, Soothing, and Relief—allow me to wake up a new person. That’s great, because a leg drop from my four-year-old is usually how muscle pain happens. 

The packaging for Neptune ICE caught my eye initially. Its promise of “four active ingredients” was encouraging as well. The padded hands-free applicator under the cap makes for simple use. I just rub it in using the soft padding, leaving no mess anywhere. It is fast-drying, so I can throw my shirt on almost immediately. It doesn’t dry out or irritate my skin, though. My wife is a converted fan as well: she uses it whenever the kids wear her lower back down. 

What We Like:

  • Fast application with no mess
  • Slightly minty smell that doesn’t overpower
  • Almost instant relief that lasts for hours 
  • The perfect combination of hot and cold for a relaxing end result

What We Dislike:

  • A hands-free applicator could be a challenge with hard-to-reach areas

Other Options

Maybe a gel isn’t your thing? Try out these other options with differing methods of application.

Biofreeze Pain Relief Spray

While I am not a spray fan, I concede it may help with hard-to-reach areas of your body. Biofreeze will help relieve your pain, while its spray technology ensures an even spray. 

IcyHot Max Pain Relief Cream

Another trusted brand in pain relief is IcyHot. Their cream can help alleviate any pain that may persist after a tough day in the gym or on the worksite. Many creams can get sticky and stain your clothes, but people have had good experiences with IcyHot’s cream. Give it a try if gel isn’t your cup of tea.

Final Thoughts

Neptune ICE has changed the way I physically approach my life. I used to worry about my aches and pains at the end of the night, but I now know that falling asleep won’t be an issue. I rarely wake up in the middle of the night with more pain, and you can forget about soreness when you wake up. Let Neptune ICE change your life, too, and try a bottle. Your body will not regret it!

Where is the worst muscle soreness that you suffer? Let us know your sore spots and how you take care of them in the comments section below!