Joint pain is an unfortunate fact of life for many people, and is one of the most common chronic complaints that any of us have to deal with. Sadly it is also one of the most unpleasant and can make our every movement painful in the joints that it affects. Not only that, but it can also effect mobility by limiting your movement in the joints where your joint pain exists, and it can lead to generally worse health as a result of your immune system being constantly subdued. At the same time you are likely to find that your mood, health and even your sleep are affected by the pain.
However not everyone who experiences joint pain needs to think of it as inevitable and there are often many ways it’s possible to improve the pain and return your joints to full mobility. In other cases even if you are not able to completely stop the discomfort you might find that you are able to reduce the pain and to improve mobility to some degree. With any chronic pain, often it is a matter of doing research and just not giving up, and of finding the specific thing that will help your problem.
In the case of joint pain then one of the things that can really help is to use medication, and depending on the nature of your joint pain, and your own preferences, you are likely to find some kinds of medication more useful than others. Here we will look at some of the best medications for joint pain that you can try and that will hopefully help you to prevent the pain and discomfort and regain movement to some degree. We will categorize them by how they work and by which aspect of the pain they will address.
Pain killers will not improve the condition of your joint, and nor will they help to prevent the route cause. What they can do though is to help you deal with the pain and make it less distracting. The best pain killers (or analgesics) are aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen. It is also possible though to get some of these in cream form which you apply topically to the area of the joint pain which can then help to affect that area more strongly. Meanwhile you may also find that if you speak with your doctor then it is possible to be prescribed with some stronger versions of your medications such as codeine or diamorphine. These work by blocking the pain signals to the brain.
These are medicines that help to reduce swelling. This is important because too much swelling can result in further damage to the joints. There are two different types of anti-inflammatory medication and these are split into the categories of ‘non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ (NSAIDS) or steroids. NSAIDS are the most commonly prescribed type of medication for arthritis. Over a long period they begin to have effect, but they can also cause stomach problems. Common NSAIDS are indomethacin, naproxen, ibuprofen, fenbufen, piroxicam and diclofenac.
A new kind of NSAIDs are ‘cox-2’ inhibitors, and these have been found to be successful particularly in treating certain kinds of arthritis such as osteoarthritis.
Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs meanwhile include such medicines as cortisone, and these are synthetic hormones (meaning they are crafted in a lab) that can mimic the body’s own. In this case the steroids are designed to reduce swelling, though they can upset the hormone balance in patients over a long period of time and this is why they are not normally prescribed unless for severe arthritis.
Disease-modifying medicines, also known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (or DMARDS) are drugs that are used for the treatment of certain types of arthritis. Specifically these are used to treat those cases of arthritis where the immune system is causing the condition. These include rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. They aim to help improve the function of the immune system and thereby prevent it from causing these types of arthritis. Some examples of DMARDs are methotrexate, sodium aurothiomalate, penicillamine, azathioprine and sulfasalazine.
Biological Response Modifiers
Biological response modifiers, also known as BRMs, are a recent kind of drugs that were previously only reserved for severe rheumatoid arthritis. They are now used more early in the disease however due to their effectiveness.
These work by inhibiting proteins called cytokines. These are the messengers in the body that communicate information regarding inflammation. These include infliximab and adalimumab, but are unfortunately expensive and given only via injection or infusion.
There are many different supplements that you can buy in health stores and while some of these are plain scams, others can be highly effective. One of the benefits of many of these supplements is that they are natural and this means that they tend to have fewer side effects. Some of these substances can also be found in your diet and you may have luck in making sure to include these in your meals. Here we will look at just a few of these supplements.
Glucosamine: Glucosamine is a natural substance that is found in cartilage. The role of glucosamine is to prevent the breakdown of cartilage. This is important because the breakdown of cartilage, particularly between the knees, is one of the common causes of joint pain. It was found that by using glucosamine along with chondroitin twice a day it was possible to improve joint pain even more so than using the popular pain killer acetaminophen.
Chondroitin Sulphate: Often taken alongside glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate is a compound that is important for the formation of the joint matrix structure.
Calcium: By consuming calcium you are able to strengthen your bones and thereby prevent some of the degradation that can lead to joint damage and ultimately joint pain.
Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. This has been shown in studies to help improve flexibility in joints while at the same time reducing inflammation.
S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe): SAMe is a compound that helps to increase the number of chondrocytes AKA cartilage cells and at the same time improves cartilage thickness and reduces damage from cytokine. It has also been used as an antidepressant.
Ginger: Ginger is believed to be a natural anti-inflammatory.
When using herbal and natural remedies however it is important to check carefully and to read the ingredients and how they work and to do your research online. Supplements such as homeopathic remedies have no basis in science and have been demonstrated in no studies to help reduce swelling or pain or to improve movement in joints.