Joint pain sufferers know how important it is to find relief from constant inflammation or swelling.

With more than 100 forms of arthritis, selecting the right treatment for the job is not always easy. Find strength in knowing which over-the-counter (OTC) remedies can help alleviate your swollen, stiff, and aching joints by reviewing our resources focused on pain management.

Causes and Symptoms of Arthritis

The causes of most types of arthritis are not known. However, there are several risk factors that could increase a person’s chance of developing arthritis, including:

  • Age – The risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, increases with age
  • Gender – Arthritis occurs more often in women than in men
  • Weight – Being overweight puts extra stress on the joints that support a person’s weight
  • Work factors – Jobs in which the worker keeps doing the same movements over and over, or does a great deal of heavy lifting, can cause stress on the joints and/or injury

Arthritis symptoms may vary depending on the type of arthritis you have, but common symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Stiff and swollen joints
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Decreased range of motion

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in or around one or more of your joints, it is best to speak with your doctor. Doctors usually diagnose arthritis based on medical history, a physical examination, X-rays, and blood tests.

Arthritis Treatments

Arthritis Treatments

While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to control your pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain your physical function and quality of life. Speaking with your doctor and understanding the specific type of arthritis you have can help to determine what you should include in your personalized arthritis treatment toolkit.

Additional Information
Additional Information on Arthritis Treatments & OTC Ingredients

Arthritis Treatments

  • Weight loss – Losing weight can help alleviate stress and pressure on your joints
  • Exercise – Regular exercise and activity can help keep your joints loose and flexible
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapists can work with you to identify stretches, exercises, and movements to help alleviate stress and pressure in your joints
  • Ice and heat – Alternating the application of ice and heat to your joints can help alleviate arthritis pain

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can provide temporary relief from minor arthritis pain.

OTC pain relievers come in many forms. Some are taken orally in pill, capsule, or liquid form, and include medicines containing acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. Our Pain Reliever Assessment will help you identify personal risk factors that you can discuss with your healthcare professional to find the right oral OTC pain reliever for you.

There are also OTC topical pain relievers, which are applied to the skin. Common active ingredients in these medicines include diclofenac sodium, capsaicin, menthol, and methyl salicylate.

When taking OTC pain relievers, it is important to understand that each medicine has potential side effects and interactions with other drugs. Always read the Drug Facts label on the medicine’s bottle or packaging to determine whether you have any risk factors related to the medicine’s active ingredients.

OTC medicines can provide safe and effective relief for mild to moderate pain. However, they aren’t meant to treat chronic pain conditions on a consistent or long-term basis, unless as directed by your healthcare professional.

Other examples of OTC arthritis products:
  • Store brands (ex. Walmart's “Equate” store brand or CVS Health's store brand)
Safe Use Tips

Safe Use Tips for 

Arthritis Treatments

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.

Safety Tips for 


When to Talk to a Healthcare Professional

When you first notice pain in a joint, it is common to think it is due to an injury. However, if your symptoms persist, it is time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you have symptoms beyond pain, such as warmth, redness, and swelling around a joint, see your doctor sooner rather than later.

Your doctor can diagnose arthritis and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. No matter what treatment your doctor recommends, seek medical help right away if the pain becomes intense, your joint suddenly becomes inflamed or deformed, or you can no longer use the joint at all.