Supplements and Medications

Supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin are commonly used by patients trying to treat arthritic pain. Studies have been somewhat inconclusive at this time regarding their benefits.9 Topical medications are often suggested due to decreased risks of drug interaction and serious side effects. Topical medications often used include lidocaine ointment/Lidoderm patches, Voltaren gel, and capsaicin. Tylenol is typically the first medication used to try to treat arthritis pain, given it is generally well tolerated. The maximum dose recommended is 3 g per day divided into at least three doses. If Tylenol is not effective, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Mobic and Celebrex are attempted. Tramadol can also be helpful. Narcotics are usually used for acute flares and for patients with end-stage arthritis failing other treatments.6

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Some patients find acupuncture, chiropractic maneuvers, and massage beneficial for arthritis pain, however, studies are conflicting about long-term benefits.10

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