For some joint pain, topical pain relievers work as well as pills and they don't carry the risk or stomach irritation or blood loss. Here's some that have been through extensive evaluation.
No Prescription Needed:
Capsaicin It's the compound found in hot peppers and it works on blocking pain messages to the brain. One brand is Capzasin-P
Salicylates They're in the aspirin family and they work on pain and inflammation. Aspercreme and Bengay are two popular ones.
Hot and Cold Sensations: These numb the pain. Icy Hot is one.
Voltaren Gel and Flector Patch These decrease pain and inflammation.
Any topical preparation can cause skin irritation and should immediately be stopped if this occurs.