Have you looked at pain relief patches and wondered if these things actually work?

Well, we’ll guide you through a list of the most effective patches available today so you can make your own mind up.

We know you’re likely to have plenty of questions, too. We’ll answer all those as well, so you should finish up knowing what pain relief patches do and whether they’re suitable for you.

To kick-off, we’ll dive in with our favorite all-natural patch then work up to our overall winner, Luminas.

Decide for yourself, which makes the best fit for your needs. Keep things personal, and you’ll maximize your chances of getting the best pain-relieving patch available. Just remember pain patch or patches aren’t made to resolve chronic pain.

Top Pain Relief Patch Reviews


  1. BioFreeze Patch: Best for Natural Pain Relief

Our Rating: 3


  • Patches per pack: 5
  • Size: 5.5 x 3.94 inches
  • Active ingredient: Menthol

These menthol pain relief patches contain no NSAIDs, so you get no steroids or chemicals and an all-natural remedy.

Ideal for athletes seeking cold numbing from strained muscles and joints associated from athletic training, BioFreeze is recommended by sports trainers and clinical professionals.

Patches won’t come away even if you’re working out hard, and they’re flexible enough to stay in place on awkward areas of the body.

The deeply-penetrating menthol offers a potential solution against a range of pain from stiff muscles and joints to backache and arthritis.

Key Benefits

  • Starts working almost immediately
  • Flexible fabric a great choice for athletes
  • Backed by pharmacists, therapists, and trainers
  • pain-relieving attribute


2.  Tiger Balm Patch: Best for Inflammation


Our Rating: 4.5


  • Patches per pack: 2
  • Size: 3.93 x 5.5 inches
  • Active ingredient: Tiger balm

Tiger Balm is a staple of the best eastern medicine around. The hydrogel formulation in these patches gets right into your skin in a few minutes flat. Avoid topical steroids and go the natural route instead.

These patches briskly stimulate circulation while delivering a warm and soothing effect. Whether you have an irritated area of skin, inflammation or back pain, these all-natural patches help offer temporary relief.

Lastly, these Tiger Balm patches are stretchable. They respond well to placement on the back, and you won’t stain up your clothing either.

Key Benefits

  • Hydrogel rapidly penetrates skin
  • Non-staining so wear under clothes
  • Can reduce irritation and inflammation
  • Pain relieving agents


3. Icy Hot Patch: Best for Athletes


Our Rating: 4.5


  • Patches per pack: 5
  • Size: 3.94 x 7.88 inches
  • Active ingredient: Menthol and camphor

These medicated patches from Icy Hot serve up a mint sensation with menthol and camphor. Get that refreshing mentholated blast and attack any pain you’re experiencing head-on.

Icy Hot is suitable for many applications from addressing muscular aches and pains, joint pain, to relieving sprains and bruises. They can also help combat cramps or arthritis pain.

Numbing effects last for up to 8 hours thanks to the way menthol acts as a topical analgesic.

Key Benefits

  • Can numb the skin for up to 8 hours
  • Stays firmly in place with no mess
  • Offers some help with pain relieving from arthritis


4.  SalonPas Patch: Best Budget Choice


Our Rating: 4


  • Patches per pack: 5
  • Size: 2.76 x 3.94 inches
  • Active ingredient: Methyl salicylate and levomenthol

SalonPas contains the NSAID medicines methyl salicylate and levomenthol.  SalonPas pain patches help systematically relieve a range of pain.

Make sure you are not allergic to NSAID and do not use these patches for more than three days running.

From aches and strains, to bruises and sprains, apply these super-thin, highly discreet patches on any part of your body. The active ingredients work effectively against inflammation.

If you’re looking for powerful potential pain solution without relying on a prescription, give these patches a shot. The best thing? They’re the most affordable patches on our list!

Key Benefits

  • Clinically-proven to relieve pain for up to 12 hours
  • Contains NSAID to counter inflammation
  • Stretchable so no problems when applied to joints


5.  Luminas Patch: Best for Overall Pain Relief


Our Rating: 5


  • Patches per pack: 24
  • Size: Medium (1.5 x 2.75 inches) and Large (2.75 x 4 inches)
  • Active ingredient: Magnesium, turmeric, ginger

Our overall favorite, these pain relief patches provide around-the-clock rest whether you’re suffering from chronic or acute pain.

There are no NSAIDs in this all-natural formula. The manufacturer uses proprietary technology. Luminas is charged with ions of 200 ingredients for powerful pain solution without resorting to topical steroids.

These patches are more expensive than much of the competition, and some users have been underwhelmed with results.

Key Benefits

  • Works in minutes and lasts for 24 hours
  • Ideal for chronic or acute pain
  • All-natural and charged with healing ions

Pain Relief Patch Buying Guide

How to choose the best pain relief patches

The best way to choose the right pain relief patches for you is to ask your physician.

A qualified doctor should hopefully explain the root cause of your pain and clear up whether you have an underlying allergy.

It’s best to consult your doctor, so they can help you decide which patches are best for your specific situation.

The painkiller Fentanyl is a highly addictive opioid [1].

Let your doctor know if you or anyone in your family has ever

  • Abused alcohol
  • Street drugs
  • Been addicted to drugs
  • Suffered from depression
  • Anxiety or any other mental illness.

This is crucial since some pain relief patches contain this pain-relieving ingredient.

What are the advantages/benefits of pain relief patches?

These patches are ideal for anyone with gastric problems who can’t tolerate harsh medications in their esophagus and stomach.

If you suffer from acid reflux and swallow a tablet, the pain can be excruciating.

Taking tablets regularly can be a chore. As one tablet wears off, the pain comes back. But, with a patch, it releases into the bloodstream steadily over 24 to 72 hours, depending on the size of the patch you use.

This way, you’ll get constant pain solution over time rather than the pain coming back and you having to take another pill.

Other benefits are specific to each particular patch. Some are better designed to help counter the pain from arthritis, while others are more effective for acute pain. Refer to the specific patches above for more benefits.

Attributes that differentiate these products

The main thing to look for is the active ingredients. You want to know whether these ingredients work, and if they’ll successfully lessen your pain. Also, you need to check that you are not allergic to the ingredients.

Pain patches typically contain Diclofenac (an anti-inflammatory present in SalonPas patches), Lidocaine (a powerful local anesthetic), or Fentanyl (an opioid) among others.

Which one you decide to use will depend on the cause of your pain and any allergies or intolerances you might have.

You should also be aware of what dosage is administered with a patch as there is potential for accidental overdose, particularly with Fentanyl patches.

Some patches emit a mentholated cooling or heating sensation to the skin for maximum pain, while others don’t. You might want to try BioFreeze Patch, which contains menthol.

The cool/heat sensation mimics the heat packs or ice packs often used for pain relief. This is ideal for those that workout or anyone with a physical job.

Some pain relief patches contain camphor. This acts as a cooling/heating agent (Icy Hot Patch is a fine example).

What’s the best way to use pain relief patches?


The best way to use pain relief patches is to apply them to clean, dry skin. Make sure the skin isn’t broken or injured.

Wash the area where you’ll apply the patch. Remove the film from the patch and stick to the skin in the affected area.

Leave it there for however long the pack instructions are always recommended to read before applying.

If your pain doesn’t improve, you can always apply a second patch. That said, always check the pack for dosage, you don’t want to run the risk of overdose.

If the patch irritates the skin, you may have an allergy to the patch. Or medication, in which case you should remove it immediately and seek medical attention.

What is the strongest over-the-counter Lidocaine patch?

Lidoderm is a prescription drug. Lidocaine patches are for patients suffering from shingles, a debilitating nerve pain condition. This condition can last for months or years after a shingles infection.

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic patch that’s applied to the affected area. It works by dampening the signals between the brain and the nerves.

Lidocaine patches with 5% are said to be fast-acting and are usually effective within a few hours.

Are pain relief patches safe?

Side effects are possible with all pain relief patches, so it’s advisable to use with caution.

Sometimes the patches themselves can cause a burning sensation, skin irritation, redness or blisters.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can potentially increase heart attack, stroke, or bleeding in the stomach.

Regardless of whether it’s administered through a patch or tablet, it’s best to discontinue any patches containing NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [2]) after a few days.

Lidocaine can potentially cause side-effects like skin rash, thirst, nausea, vomiting, racing pulse, and swelling. Overdose can also cause symptoms like seizures, slow heart rate, and even loss of consciousness.

Fentanyl has the potential to cause side effects such as agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, seizures, hoarseness, or difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Naloxone [3] is an antidote medication used to bring people back from Fentanyl overdose.

Is menthol or Lidocaine better for pain?

Menthol is a natural pain reliever derived from the mint plant. It’s been used for centuries as a soothing agent.

You find menthol in cooling mints and soothing skin gels for sunburn and bites. Since menthol is natural, many people prefer to use this over lidocaine. Lidocaine can potentially have side effects.

Lidocaine is perhaps a bit more effective in terms of pain relief, but there’s more risk of side effects than with menthol.

Overdose of Lidocaine can sometimes cause seizures or loss of consciousness while there’s no such risk with menthol.

Do lidocaine patches really work?

According to the Cohn Pain Management Center at New York University School of Medicine, yes they do [4].

A study on the efficacy of 5% Lidocaine pain patches on moderate to severe pain found that they are effective in reducing pain.

Other research also found that lidocaine is effective in reducing lower back pain [5]. So yes, they really do.

How many hours can they last?

It depends on the patch. Some last between 8 and 12 hours, others last from 12 hours to 72.

Best practices with pain relief patches

  • Use on clean dry skin
  • Don’t apply to broken skin
  • If a patch starts to irritate your skin or starts a burning sensation, remove it and seek medical advice

Prerequisites/precautions for using this type of product

Fentanyl patches can be dangerous even after they’ve been used. They should be disposed of immediately and flushed down the toilet.

If the patch is accidentally picked up by a child or pet, seek emergency medical help immediately.

Diclofenac epolamine can interact with certain medications. You must notify your doctor if you are taking anticoagulants, aspirin, beta-blockers, diuretics, or digoxin.

Lidocaine can react with medications. Some to keep in mind are Norpac, flecainide, mouth pain medication, moricizine, procainamide, propafenone, quinidine, and tocainide.


While it was tough to pick a winner from these patches, we feel the Luminas Patch performs best overall. All-natural with no NSAIDs, these versatile patches can help with a range of pain, both chronic and acute.

This might not be the most appropriate patch for your needs, though. Take another look at our buying guide and at the other patches.

We outline and double down on what makes the best fit for the pain you’re experiencing. Before you go, don’t forget to bookmark our site and we’ll see you soon!