August 10, 2009 --The sports creams many people reach for to relieve aches and pains may actually provide little help. The review from the Cochrane Library looked at 16 clinical trials investigating topical remedies containing salicylates, a group of compounds, including aspirin, used to ease aches, inflammation and fever. Many familiar sports rubs such as Aspercreme, BenGay and Icy Hot contain one or more of these salicylates, often in combination with other active ingredients such as menthol.
But researchers say they just don't work. They believe ibuprofen and other products that contain the hot pepper compound capsaicin may be better bets for pain relief.