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The Best Over-the-counter Anti-inflammatory Drugs for Joint Pain

Anti-inflammatory Drugs
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Though joint pain, which also goes by the name arthritis. Arthritis is the inflammation or swelling of a joint or more than one joint. The severity of the condition varies from individual to individual, as does the pain. It can be from a dull, aching throb or a sharp, excruciating pain. 

People use many different types of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to treat their joint pain. Let’s look at some over the counter anti inflammatory drugs that can help you with joint pain.

Best OTC To Use for Joint Pain

Let’s delve into them to find out which is the best anti-inflammatory drug for you.

  • Aspirin

Aspirin (its medical name is acetylsalicylic acid) comes under the classification of a family of related drugs called salicylates. Aspirin treats mild fever and is able to relieve low to moderate pain. 

Side Effects of Aspirin

Every medicine, when ingested by a person, can have side effects based on the individual’s health and other health conditions or problems that they may have. Heartburn, nausea, stomach pain, indigestion, and vomiting are common side effects of aspirin. Prolonged use of aspirin can also cause constant stomach aches or irritation, which can lead to the development of ulcers, and in severe cases bleeding in the stomach. You can reduce the gastric side effects by taking the medication with milk or some food. 

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Other possible reactions to taking aspirin may be:

  • Allergic reactions include swelling of facial features, hives, wheezing, asthma, etc.
  • Excessive bleeding and bruising
  • Loud ringing in the ears 
  • Slight deafness

In case of any of these symptoms, you should stop taking your medicine and contact your doctor immediately. It is also better not to take any other medicine during this time unless your doctor recommends it. 

When Should You Avoid Taking Aspirin?

If you are aware that you are allergic to it, then it is a definite no. You should also avoid using aspirin under certain circumstances like:

  • Having stomach ulcers, since the aspirin will likely make them worse
  • Have issues of bleeding like thrombocytopenia
  • Are scheduled for having surgery
  • Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen (its medical name is Tylenol). It operates similarly to aspirin and works towards treating fever and pain on a relatively moderate scale. 

Acetaminophen Side Effects

The medication tends to have fewer side effects if consumed with proper instruction and care. But even then, you have to bear something in addition. Especially when you take more than what you were recommended, things can go south. And taking it with alcohol puts you at risk of liver damage and even failure. 

Acetaminophen is a highly potent drug, so take care as not to mix up the dosage of the medication since the mistake can prove fatal. Consult in advance with your doctor whether you can or should take acetaminophen and, if so, how much. 

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDS are the most effective when it comes to anti-inflammatory OTC drugs. They are able to relieve pain that stems from arthritis, as well as reduce the stiffness and swelling that flares up. Additionally, you can also use them to cater to systemic inflammation

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These medications work in a similar pattern as the other two. There are a plethora of NSAIDS, but they all require a prescription. As of now, there are currently two NSAIDS that come under OTP: 

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)

Side Effects

As they are potent drugs, they raise the risk of a heart attack or a stroke, especially if they are taken in high doses for an extended period. Other risks include indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and nausea. These are pretty similar to that aspirin. And like aspirin, the side effects are somewhat dulled when taken with food or some beverage. No alcohol; avoid drinking alcohol with your medication. 

Other side effects may include:

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • swelling of feet
  • stomach ulcers or bleeding within the stomach
  • headache

When to Avoid NSAIDs

If you find yourselves allergic to this drug, don’t take it. Even if you are in pain, the side effects you will have will be far worse. Family history of hypertension or heart disease, liver cirrhosis, asthma, thin blood, gastric problems, etc. You are recommended not to take any NSAIDS unless your doctor or personal healthcare consultant allows it. This also merits if you are pregnant, especially if you are in your third trimester. 

The Way Forward

We are well aware that joint pain can be a frustrating and challenging condition to manage. Still, several effective OTC anti-inflammatory drugs can help to alleviate symptoms and improve mobility. In case of adverse reactions, talk to your doctor if you’re taking ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or a topical cream or gel. You can manage joint pain and maintain a high quality of life with the right treatment plan and lifestyle changes.

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Now that you know the basics of joint pain medicine, be careful with what you pick, and remember to consult your doctor first!