OTC-drugs for treating chronic joint pain

Osteoarthritis is the world’s most common joint disease. When this disease develops, it means that the cartilage has broken down in one or more joints in the body. As a result, the person affected may suffer from pain and stiffness. It was previously thought that osteoarthritis was caused by the joints becoming worn out, which resulted in those affected giving up any physical activity. Nowadays, we know that physical activity combined with pain relievers can ease the symptoms. Stronger, prescription-based medicines should not be used to treat osteoarthritis. Instead, the joint pain that comes with osteoarthritis should be managed with OTC-drugs (over the counter). These should also be in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

It is possible to have osteoarthritis and still be basically free of any symptoms. When the symptoms come, their onset is gradual. The initial symptoms usually start off with stiffness, pain, and difficulty in moving certain joints. Many people notice that they start finding it difficult to tie their shoelaces or button their shirt or blouse in the morning, depending on which joint has been affected. It is important to start treating osteoarthritis right from an early stage. Training exercises and certain lifestyle changes may then prevent the disease, ease the pain, and make it possible to retain mobility.

Exercise and OTC medicines for treating osteoarthritis

Physical activity is essential for anyone affected by osteoarthritis. Its effectiveness has been proven in both treating and preventing osteoarthritis. Anyone affected by the disease easily becomes inactive as movement and exertion can cause them pain. However, inactivity only results in a greater risk of obesity and of heart and vascular diseases. Studies have also shown that the state of the joints’ cartilage deteriorates further if they are not used. Personalized exercise programs designed specifically for osteoarthritis can be provided by a physiotherapist. Other options are osteoarthritis classes and online treatment provided by Joint Academy.

However, many of those affected need to have their pain relieved before they can start doing exercise. As there is not really any actual medication available specifically for osteoarthritis, very often over-the-counter pain-relieving pills are used. It is important to know that these pills only dull the worst pain temporarily – they cannot cure the disease. NSAIDs are often excellent OTC medicines to take for osteoarthritis. NSAID stands for ”Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs”. Most NSAIDs have both an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect. This means that they are often effective with osteoarthritis. However, these OTC medicines for treating osteoarthritis should only be used for short periods and always be taken according to recommended doses. When the pain is relieved, it is possible to start or continue with physical activity.

Suitable OTC medicines for treating osteoarthritis

Since osteoarthritis is a chronic disease and its treatment can take a long time, it is important to use medicines with as few side-effects as possible. The most effective option for pain relief in the case of osteoarthritis are NSAIDs. They can be taken for short periods.

Suitable OTC NSAIDs are medicines containing ibuprofen or diclofenac. OTC medicines containing ibuprofen are, for instance, Ipren, which is available in both tablet form and as a gel. Medicines containing diclofenac are, for instance, Voltaren, which is also available in both tablet form and as a gel. You should bear in mind that NSAIDs should not be taken if you have heart disease, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, take medicines to prevent clots (anticoagulants) or have a gastric ulcer. But these medicines should only be taken in consultation with a doctor in the case of high blood pressure. Even healthy individuals can get side effects. This mainly takes the form of indigestion if NSAIDs are taken for long periods. Therefore, they should be taken with caution and only in the case of noticeable discomfort.

Pain relievers for treating osteoarthritis

Providing pain relief is an important part of treating osteoarthritis If anyone affected by the disease is in too much pain, they cannot do any physical activity and they will become inactive. Inactivity aggravates the disease, not to mention having other adverse effects. Therefore, it is important to start treating osteoarthritis with medication at an early stage, which means, in this case, taking anti-inflammatory medicines to retain mobility. Usually, taking OTC medicines is sufficient for treating osteoarthritis. Stronger medication, such as morphine and other opioids, should be avoided, on the one hand, because they are highly addictive and, on the other, because they are very ineffective when it comes to relieving pain from osteoarthritis.

Continue reading about specific exercises for osteoarthritis.

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