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How Do I Choose the Best Joint Pain Medication?

Ginger tea can alleviate joint pain and inflammation.
A man with joint pain.
There are a number of different types of joint-pain medications.
Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Joint pain is a common complaint in patients of all ages, with more joint pain being reported as a person ages. This is often due to conditions such as arthritis, which cause swelling and inflammation of the joints. Fortunately, there are several choices available when searching for a joint pain medication to help ease the pain. These choices include over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as herbal treatments for those who prefer a more natural joint pain medication.

Over-the-counter medications are often able to ease joint pain enough to allow a person to continue with most normal activities. The most popular joint pain medication that can be purchased without a prescription is in a class known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium are all NSAIDs and may have various brand names. Prescription NSAIDs are also available for those who do not respond well to non-prescription strengths. It is important to consult a physician before taking these medications, as certain people, including those with kidney disease, may not be advised to take this type of joint pain medication.

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In cases of moderate to severe joint pain, narcotic pain relievers may be prescribed by a doctor. Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed medication for this purpose. Side effects such as constipation may occur when taking narcotics, so the patient may be advised to increase fiber and fluid intake. In some cases, a steroid medication such as cortisone may be injected directly into the painful joint by a physician.

Natural remedies, such as herbal dietary supplements, are rapidly becoming popular choices by people who prefer a more natural joint pain medication. Cayenne pepper is a popular natural joint pain medication. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is a chemical known as capsicum and has been used for hundreds of years throughout the world to treat joint pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter creams and ointments are available to rub into the skin near the painful joints. Some patients also like to add cayenne pepper to various recipes for internal consumption to help prevent the joint pain.

Garlic, ginger, and peppermint are other popular choices when considering a natural joint pain medication. Garlic is thought to improve blood circulation, thereby easing the inflammation that often causes painful joints. Ginger is also believed to be a natural anti-inflammatory agent and can be added to the diet or taken in the form of a capsule or tea. Peppermint oil can be rubbed on painful joints, although some patients with sensitive skin may experience a rash or burning sensation when using peppermint.

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