Musculoskeletal disorders

Arthritis

(Osteoarthritis)

  • Also known as
  • Wear-and-tear arthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease

About Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis include

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Injuring a joint

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods, including medical history, a physical exam, x-rays, or lab tests.

Treatments include exercise, medicines, and sometimes surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Symptoms of Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Reduced motion in your joints
  • Can occur in any joint, but usually affects your hands, knees, hips, or spine

Top Medications for Arthritis according to our users

Button Group. All currently active

All Medications for Arthritis

  • Pain reliever > Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)

    • Arthrotec
      (Diclofenac / Misoprostol)
      Prescription only

      Arthrotec (Diclofenac / Misoprostol) is an okay medication used to treat pain and swelling caused by arthritis. However, because of the risk of heart attack, it's recommended to limit the amount you take.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
    • Cambia
      (Diclofenac potassium)
      Prescription only

      Cataflam (Diclofenac Potassium) is an okay medication used to treat pain and swelling. However, because of the risk of heart attack, it's recommended to limit the amount you take.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Powder for oral solution
    • Voltaren
      (Diclofenac sodium)
      Prescription only

      Voltaren (Diclofenac Sodium) works well for pain and causes less upset stomach than other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Extended release
      • Cream, gel, or ointment
      • Eye drops
    • Celebrex
      (Celecoxib)
      Prescription only

      Celebrex (Celecoxib) works well for treating pain and causes less upset stomach than other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Ibuprofen
      Prescription or OTC

      Advil (Ibuprofen) works well for mild to moderate pain and inflammation, but it doesn't last as long as other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Chewable tablet
      • Oral suspension
    • Meloxicam
      Prescription only

      Mobic (Meloxicam) works well for treating pain and causes less upset stomach than other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Liquid
    • Naproxen
      Prescription or OTC

      Aleve (Naproxen) works well for mild to moderate pain and inflammation, and it lasts longer than other NSAIDs.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Delayed release tablet
      • Liquid
    • Indocin
      (Indomethacin)
      Prescription only

      Indocin (Indomethacin) works well for mild to moderate pain and swelling, but it shouldn't be used long-term since it has some serious side effects.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
      • Liquid
      • Suppository
  • Pain reliever > Prostaglandin E1 analog

    • Arthrotec
      (Diclofenac / Misoprostol)
      Prescription only

      Arthrotec (Diclofenac / Misoprostol) is an okay medication used to treat pain and swelling caused by arthritis. However, because of the risk of heart attack, it's recommended to limit the amount you take.

      Was it worth it?
      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release
  • Pain reliever > Salicylate

  • Pain reliever > Acetaminophen (APAP)

    • Tylenol
      (Acetaminophen)
      Over-the-counter

      Tylenol Regular Strength (Acetaminophen) reduces fever and relieves pain well, but it doesn't lower inflammation and swelling.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release tablet
      • Chewable tablet
      • Dissolving tablet
      • Gelcap
      • Liquid
      • Suppository
  • Pain reliever > Opioid

    • Fentanyl
      Prescription only

      Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an excellent pain reliever, but should only be used by people who've tried other opioid pain medications and still need more relief.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Patch
      • Patch extended release
      • Dissolving tablet
      • Mouth spray
      • Lozenge
      • Buccal tablet
      • Nasal spray
  • Anticoagulant > Anti-platelet

Medication side effects for Arthritis

These are some of the most common side effects from clinical trials for abdominal pain.

  • Meloxicam: 5%
  • Voltaren: 21%
0 of 100

At this end, no one is expected to have abdominal pain

100 of 100

At this end, almost everyone is expected to have abdominal pain

Tips, success stories, and coping strategies for Arthritis

What tip would you give someone like me who was just diagnosed?
  • Take as little oral meds as you need to be functional.
  • Do water walking. Very effective for OA
  • find a cheap tai chi class and practice it daily
  • Watch for long term stomach, liver, kidney side effects/damage
  • Keep the inflammation down
What’s your best coping strategy?
  • stretching
  • stretching gently
  • Practicing tai chi-day 1 there was improvement
  • Ultrasound guided cortisone injection
  • Exercise
Besides medications, what else has worked for you?
  • daily yoga, preferably with optimists
  • daily gentle exercise, esp walking
  • not all exercise helps-tai chi is best, works physical AND mental
  • Massage
  • Exercise