Since you’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What caused my arthritis?
2. What drugs can I take if I frequently have stomach problems with pain relievers?
3. Would prescription medication be appropriate for my osteoarthritis?
4. What are some appropriate exercises for me to try?
5. Will stretching and flexing the joint help it feel better?
6. Why does the weather affect my symptoms?
7. Does physical activity help osteoarthritis...
Medicine that you put on your skin (topical)
may relieve pain for a short time.3 These include topical NSAIDs,
capsaicin, and pain-relieving creams.
What to think about
Before you take medicine
Here are a few things to think about:
Medicine doesn't cure arthritis
or slow the time it takes for
cartilage to break down. But it can help reduce pain
and stiffness, which can make it easier for you to move.
Medicine should be used along with other
treatments, such as exercise and physical therapy, to help keep your joints
working and moving well.
If you have
certain health problems, you may not be able to take some kinds of pain
medicine. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a history of bleeding in your
stomach or another part of your digestive tract. And tell your doctor if you
have a stomach
ulcer, kidney problems, or
heart failure, or if you take a blood-thinner
Effects of medicines
Medicines that work for some people don't work for others. Be
sure to let your doctor know if the medicine you're taking doesn't help. You
may need to try several kinds of medicines to find one that works for
Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Here are a few things to think
The medicine you take may cause
side effects. Your doctor may suggest that you first try
acetaminophen, because it has
fewer side effects than any
other pain medicine used for
Most studies suggest that
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work
better than acetaminophen for arthritis. But for some people, acetaminophen may
work as well as NSAIDs for mild to moderate joint pain. And studies show that
acetaminophen is better than no treatment.4
If you can't take NSAIDs,
and if other treatments haven't worked, your doctor may prescribe
opioids. When taken as prescribed, they can be a safe
and effective way to relieve pain.
Because you'll likely take medicine for a long
time, you'll need to see your doctor for regular checkups to look for any side
effects that may develop from long-term use. He or she may prescribe medicine
that can help prevent stomach ulcers, which may develop when you take pain
medicine every day.