Do topical creams and gels help with muscle pain?

Traditional muscle rubs containing salicylate – an aspirin-like compound – do not help much, according to a recent review by British researchers for the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit that provides up-to-date information on health care research. But American doctors say that newer topical NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) containing diclofenac may be more effective.