Best Back Pain Patches – The Ultimate Buying Guide 2023

Mar 1st, 2023
IF YOU’VE EVER suffered from back pain, you understand how difficult it can make everyday tasks like sitting at your desk, performing on stage, or exercising. Luckily, there are various treatments that can help alleviate pain and make you more comfortable, including the most efficient back patch for pain.

What Are Back Pain Relief Patches?

The idea behind back pain patches is simple: They contain topical anti-inflammatory, and when you attach the patches to the affected areas, the ointment is able to penetrate exactly where it is needed most.

Pretty much anyone, especially those with muscle strains, sprains, arthritis-related joint pain, stress-induced tight spastic muscles, back pain resulting from major strain, and neck pain caused by whiplash benefits the most. 

The patches can be a convenient and effective alternative to oral medications, as they can be easily applied and removed and do not need to be taken by mouth. 
There are a variety of different back pain relief patches available on the market, containing different anti-inflammatory ingredients, including:
  • Capsaicin. The active ingredient in these patches, capsaicin, comes from spicy peppers, which may make them feel hot to the touch. It works to relieve back pain and muscle soreness by blocking the communication sent from the affected nerves to the brain, thus preventing the sensation of pain.
  • Diclofenac. This non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug aids in alleviating pain and decreasing inflammation. It does this by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins in the body, which are substances that may be produced at the site of an injury and can cause pain.
Lidocaine patch
  • Lidocaine. Lidocaine is a numbing agent that can be placed on a sore back through an adhesive patch. Lidocaine patch helps to relieve the discomfort and alleviate muscle soreness by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.
  • Menthol. Menthol is an active herbal ingredient that is taken from peppermint plants. Back pain relief patches containing menthol feel cool to the touch and the patch also has a cooling effect on the painful area and which makes the nerves less sensitive.
  • Methyl salicylate. This active ingredient is also found in evergreen plants and is nicknamed ‘healthy hemp’. Like menthol, it has a cooling sensation on the skin. This type of patch acts as a counter-irritant which means that it works by creating different sensations that help to distract the body from the pain it is feeling.
If you choose to wear topical patches for targeted relief. Follow the instructions carefully. Don’t wear the patch for longer than is recommended, and Do not wear the patch for longer than the specified time, nor apply more than the recommended number of patches at once.

How Did You Choose The Best Back Pain Patches?

With so many different types of a back pain relieving patches on the market and a whole range of different brands available, we chose 8 key points to help us find the top four brands to recommend to you.

1. How effective is the patch?

This is always a tricky question as the answer can be subjective – what works for one person, may not work for the next. Our research revealed that certain back pain relieving patches were consistently effective – with the added bonus of being fast-acting. The use of others though had either little or no positive benefits.

2. Supporting scientific evidence

Some of the manufacturing companies are able to support their claims with evidence gleaned from clinical trials undertaken in laboratory conditions. When a company can provide supporting data, this ensures customer confidence.

3. Comprehensive information

One of our key points was to check the accuracy of the different brands in their customer information.  It is essential that customers are given a full list of the chemical ingredients used in their product – and importantly in exactly what quantities and proportions.

4. Do they give details of active ingredients?

It is very important that brands provide their customers with plenty of clear, concise information as this builds customer confidence. Because the active ingredients used in a product are key to its effectiveness, we wanted to see the clearly details of which ingredients are in the products.

This information is needed by doctors when checking if the product is safe for their patient to use – especially if they are on other medication or have an allergy to certain drugs.

5. Being truthful about benefits?

It is important that companies are truthful about the effectiveness of their back pain relief patches, for what type of back pain are they best and also for how long the patch will relieve pain. 

Many appealing advertisements for these products do claim to offer customers a life that is free of back pain, but as yet, no one product has been found to be that effective! 

6. Is the patch easy to use?

Many people would appreciate a product that is straightforward and uncomplicated to use. Many of the patches are simple to use, and it’s only required to be used on clean and dry skin. The application is also easy. You can wear the patch all day without noticing it and then peel it off.

We have carefully selected only the best patches in the world, regardless of whether they are difficult to use, fall off easily, or are a hassle to apply. It is important to note that not all patches are the same and some may require more complex treatments.

7. Are there any side-effects?

We didn’t choose patches that can cause any side effects. When some patches were reported to have some minor side effects, we completely avoided them.

8. Are they value for money?

The back pain relief patches available on the market come in a range of prices. We were looking for affordable patches but also tested the quality of the patches to ensure that they represented good value for money. 

How the Back Pain Patches Work?

Four components

Topical pain relief patches for the relief of back pain comprise four components:
  • The protective film - This is a thin layer that protects the special membrane on the inside of the patch when it is being stored and must be carefully removed before use.
  • The adhesive - the adhesive is used to bind the different components of the patch together and also to adhere the patch securely to the skin.
  • The medication - The drug ointment is securely suspended in the membrane that touches the skin. 
  • The membrane - this is a soft fabric that is impregnated with the drug ointment and specially designed so that it slowly releases the drug onto the skin for easy absorption into the body

Four absorbing Stage

The medication in the topical pain relief patch is absorbed in four stages:
    1. Apply. The back pain patch is applied to the skin in the area of pain;
    2. Release. The release of the medication by the membrane begins and the medication softens the stratum corneal (the outermost layer of the epidermis);
    3. Penertrate. As a result of this, the pores on the epidermis skin open and the medication begins to permeate through the skin into the bloodstream;
    4. Targed Relief. The active ingredients in the patch begin to bring targeted relief.

Precautions For The Use Of Back Pain Patches

It is well worth taking some time to decide which type of back pain patch will suit you best and to discuss your ideas with your doctor. It is good to understand how the patches work and the precautions that you need to take when wearing them:

  • Follow the instructions on their use carefully. Only use the patch for the specified time as this can cause side effects.
  • Treat the patch very carefully and do not tear or cut it as this will negatively impact its effectiveness and can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Do not expose the transdermal patch to excess heat of any kind as this can alter the speed with which medication is released onto the skin. 
  • Do not wear the patch on your skin for more than 24 hours. Remove gently and discard carefully. If you need to apply another patch do so in a different area. 
  • If you experience any skin irritation or an allergic reaction when wearing the patch, remove it immediately and seek medical advice. 
  • When requesting a prescription for back patches, always mention what other medication you are taking as well as any vitamins and other health supplements. 
  • Never use the pain relieving patches on children or if you have a fever. 

Back pain relieving patches are very effective and can be used safely if you follow the directions for using them and the precautions. If you are concerned about any aspect of their use it is best to seek medical advice first.

How To Use a Back Pain Patch?

10 points for the best results with your back pain-relieving patches:
  1. Read Instructions. Before applying a patch to your skin, always read the instructions carefully as they give details of where to apply the patch and for how long.
  2. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before you begin.
  3. Wash and gently pat dry the area where you are going to apply the patch - if you cannot reach it easily - ask for help.
  4. Check that the skin where you are going to apply the patch has no cuts or any irritations.
  5. Carefully opening the packet so that you do not damage or tear the patch.
  6. Remove the protective film from the patch - as directed in the instructions. Many patches have protective films with two halves, so you apply the first half of the patch to the skin, before removing the second half of the protective film.
  7. Apply the patch to the clean area of skin gently and then gently rub the whole patch with your fingers to ensure that it is properly attached.
  8. The patch should be completely smooth on your skin.
  9. When wearing the patch, do not expose it to heat from direct sunshine, a heating pad, an electric blanket, etc as this will impact the performance of the pad.
  10. When you want to remove the patch, do so gently and fold the patch in half and dispose of it thoughtfully - away from children and pets. Carefully wash your hands afterward.

Final Word On Best Back Pain Patches

If you are seeking an easy way to relieve your back pain and make things more comfortable for you, back pain-relieving patches are a quick and easy answer – and an affordable solution to your health problem. 

We have assessed a wide range of pain-relieving patches and using our strict criteria we have drawn up a list of the top brands that have proven to bring pain relief to thousands of users. Please check out our next article about this.

FAQs for Back Pain Patches

Q1. What is pain?

Pain feels different to each of us and we can all tolerate different levels of pain. Pain can be a sharp and stabbing sensation, dull ache, pricking, or stinging and their severity is determined by what is causing the pain.  Some pain lasts just a brief period – acute while other pain can last years – chronic pain.

Q2. How does pain relief actually work?

When the body is in pain, the nerves in the area that is hurting, send numerous messages to the brain, and in response, the brain sends messages all over the body telling it to react to the pain and this is why often the feeling of pain is not localized to just the hurt part of the body.

Q3. What is acute pain?

Acute pain is a short sharp pain that passes within a few hours – such pain is experienced when you shut your finger in a drawer

Q4. What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is long-lasting pain that often can only be controlled by medication. Pain is defined as ‘chronic’ once the person has been suffering from the same pain for more than 12 weeks. Often chronic pain lasts many years and although it cannot be cured, it can be well managed using pain relieving patches.

Q5. Can acute pain change into chronic pain?

If you have had acute pain that has not gone away and has not been treated, it will be classed as chronic pain and it is definitely time for you to seek medical attention. Sometimes peripheral nerves are damaged and it is these that cause the pain to become chronic from acute.

Q6. What is pain management?

Pain management is the method used by medical professionals to manage pain so that it is bearable – even if they cannot find a way to cure it. There are a number of ways in which pain can be successfully managed using medication, injection therapy, and psychological therapy. All of these treatments are carefully tailored to the patient’s individual needs.

Q7. After how long should you seek medical help for lower back pain?

If the pain is excruciating, it is important to seek immediate medical advice. If you have been suffering from a moderate level of pain for 12 weeks or more, it is time to seek help from your doctor.

Q8. Are pain-relieving patches addictive?

Back pain relieving patches cannot become addictive because the medication they contain is non-addictive. Many pain-relieving patches are made - like the menthol ones- are made with natural plant-based natural substances.

Q8. Can you get side effects from using pain-relieving patches?

If you follow the instructions when using the pain-relieving patches, there should be no side effects. It is important to discuss using the pain-relieving patches with your doctor if you are taking other medication, vitamins, or health supplements. It is also important not to leave the patches in place on your skin for more than the recommended length of time. 

Q9. What is mental pain-blocking?

Some ingredients found in a pain-relieving patch work by stopping the nerves in the painful area from sending messages to the brain about the pain or they can make the nerves less sensitive to the pain. In both cases, this action helps manage the pain effectively.   

Q10. How do nerve blocks work for pain relief?

Nerve blocks are an anesthetic that is used to target the nerves to either stop or reduce the signals that they are sending to the brain and this helps to relieve pain.

Q11. How does a pain-relieving patch work?

Pain relieving patches (transdermal patches) have a special membrane that is infused with medication or herbal pain relief ingredients. 

This membrane is then placed on the skin in the painful area and it works by steadily releasing its active ingredients onto the skin where they permeate into the body and reach the nerves to manage the pain by dulling the nerves or stopping them from sending messages about the pain to the brain.
Normally pain relief patches work great for the pinched nerve and muscle sprains.

Q12. Do pain-relieving patches work quickly?

When you apply the pain-relieving patch to your skin, you should start to feel some relief after 60-90 minutes and the active ingredients will continue to work for several hours after the patch is removed. Some pain-relieving patches on the market do state that they can bring instant pain relief.

Q13. How quickly do pain patches degrade?

The pain relief patches are specially designed to work for a certain length of time. They have a special membrane that is infused with active ingredients that starts to work as soon as it comes in contact with the skin. Each type of pain-relieving patch is different so it is important to read the directions carefully to understand how long the patch must be kept in place on your skin. Some of the latest transdermal pain relieving patches are reusable.

Q14. Can you shower wearing a pain-relieving patch?

It is important to read through the instructions for your chosen pain relief patch as they vary. Many pain-relieving patches must not come into contact with water so check the instructions carefully.

Q15. Are pain relieving patches easy to use?

All pain relieving patches come with full instructions for their correct use and these should be read first. Most pain relieving patches are applied to clean dry skin with clean hands and simply smoothed into place on the skin. It is important to check in the instructions how long the pain relief patch should stay on the skin before being removed.

Q16. Do you need to do a patch test first?

It is not possible to do a patch test with a small piece of the patch on your skin before applying the whole pain-relieving patch to your skin. This is because it is very important not to cut or damage the pain-relieving patch in any way as this will affect its performance. 

It is important to only apply the patch to clean, dry and undamaged skin. If the skin becomes irritated or sore whilst the pain relief patch is in place, gently remove the patch and seek medical advice.

Q17. Can anyone use pain-relieving patches?

It is important to always check with your doctor first before using pain relief patches if you are on medication or are taking vitamins or other health supplements. Pain relief patches cannot be used by pregnant or nursing mothers.

Q18. Can you use pain relief patches if you are taking medication?

Always seek your doctor’s advice before you use pain relief patches. Your doctor needs to discuss the options if you are already taking medication or vitamins and other health supplements. Your doctor will help you choose the most appropriate type of pain relief.  

Q19. Can you exercise when you have a pain relief patch on your back?

The instructions with your chosen pain relief patch will explain whether you can exercise or play sports with the patch on your skin or whether you should only have minimal movement when the pain relief patch is on your skin. If you have any questions, best to check with your doctor first.

Mike Jones

Senior Editor - Product Reviews
Don't waste your time scouring the internet for the thousands of relief products out there. I'll give you the rundown on what works and what is a waste of money.