Video Q & A:

Pain Relief


What over-the-counter medications help manage chronic pain?

Expert:   Linda Russell, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery »

You shouldn't depend on over-the-counter medications to relieve your rheumatoid arthritis pain, but they can help in some situations. Find out what those situations are in this video.

Transcript: Before you were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you turned to your drugstore for pain relief. In a pinch, you still can. NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, do treat the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. The most common are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. These drugs will help your symptoms, but do NOT treat or manage your condition. They can help when you need extra relief during particularly severe flares. AND, you can use them while you’re waiting for more heavy-duty medications to take effect. But those heavy-duty medications SHOULD be your primary treatment of choice. DMARDs, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, are the only meds out there that can relieve pain AND stall the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. NSAIDs ONLY treat mild to moderate pain, not the disease itself, which is why you should never RELY on them to help you cope with RA. Plus, they may cause ulcers and gastritis in the long-term for some patients. To learn more about RA treatment, watch additional videos in this series. More »

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