What to Take For Knee Pain

Knee pain can come in a variety of forms and for several reasons. Sometimes the pain may be fleeting, and at other times, you feel the painful effects for extended periods.

Every step can feel excruciating as you walk and try to move. Thus, perhaps you are wondering if there is a medication that you can take to provide pain relief.

At OrthoNeuro, we know how stressful it can be to find the best medication for your personal needs that will not only bring relief but will also not interfere with any other medications you may currently be taking.

Our board-certified specialists located throughout Greater Columbus can provide you with the assistance you need to alleviate your knee pain. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!

A man deciding what medicine or supplement to take for relieve his knee pain.

What Is a Common Cause of Knee Joint Pain?

The most common cause of knee joint pain is a degenerative joint disease known as knee osteoarthritis (OA). Knee osteoarthritis results from a progressive loss of articular cartilage due to daily wear and tear on your knees. Rheumatoid arthritis can also be a source of discomfort.

Medications That Effectively Help With Knee Joint Pain

Thankfully, there are medications that have helped to effectively relieve pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter drugs that have proven to be very effective in managing pain and other osteoarthritis symptoms.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, NSAIDs are the most effective oral medicines for osteoarthritis. Some common examples of NSAIDs include:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen

While these medications can be effective in relieving pain and reducing swelling and inflammation, it is important to note that many negative side effects are associated with their use. This is especially true if they are taken long-term or at high doses.

Consulting your specialist prior to the start of taking these medications will prove to be very beneficial. Your specialist can help you choose the best option for your personal circumstance.

Are There Additional Supplements That Others Have Taken?

There are additional widely marketed supplements that others who experience knee discomfort have taken. These supplements include Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are components of the human connective tissue found in the cartilage and bone in your knees and other joints. These supplements claim to treat knee pain, improve joint function, and slow down the development of osteoarthritis.

However, some studies have shown that these supplements have little effect on knee pain, while others show that they have no effect at all. With that in mind, many still are willing to give them a try because they have few harmful side effects.

What Medications Have Proven Less Effective When Dealing with Knee Joint Pain?

While finding relief may be at the top of your list, you will want to take some precautions because not all medications have proven their effectiveness when it comes to dealing with this condition.

Doing thorough research will help weed out the medications that may not be as beneficial as you would like. There are other supplements that some have used to relieve their knee pain that are not as well known.

To help narrow down your search, below you will find a few of these supplements:

  • Vitamin D and vitamin E
  • Collagen
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA)
  • Tumeric/curcumin
  • Willow Bark
  • Boswellia serrata
  • Pycnogenol

Although there has been very minimal testing done on their effectiveness, it has been noted that some people seem to show minor benefits. However, the majority offer little to no benefit when it comes to decreasing their knee pain.

The good news is that some of these supplements can provide other health benefits that extend beyond the knee, and there is also little evidence of them producing any harmful effects.

We know this is a lot of information to take in, so we have provided a table to help you visualize everything.

Medication/SupplementReported Effect(s)Study Results
NSAIDs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc.)Reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffnessStrong support for all reported effects
GlucosamineReduce pain, improves joint function and slows progression of osteoarthritis (OA)Little or no effect on joint function and progression of OA. Possible reduction in pain
Chondroitin SulfateReduce pain, inflammation, improves joint function and slows progression of osteoarthritis (OA)Little or no effect on joint function and progression of OA. Possible reduction in pain
Omega-3 fatty acidsReduce pain, inflammation, and stiffnessInconclusive
Vitamin D and EReduce pain, slow progression of OAInconclusive
CollagenReduce pain, slow progression of OAInconclusive
MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)Reduce inflammation, formation of collagenInconclusive
HA (Hyaluronic Acid)Joint lubricationInconclusive
Willow Bark ExtractReduce pain, inflammation, and stiffnessInconclusive
Tumeric/curcuminReduce inflammationInconclusive
Boswellia serrata extractReduce inflammationInconclusive
PycnogenolReduce inflammationInconclusive

Will These Medications Cure My Knee Joint Pain?

Unfortunately, none of the medications listed above have proven to cure the pain that you feel in your knees. Although they are not direct cures, some of them may provide enough relief which can enable you to move and function with ease on a daily basis.

Additional Non-Surgical Treatments That Have Proven Effective

There are additional non-surgical treatments that have been proven to be an effective way to reduce pain and have helped many. These non-surgical treatments that can reduce knee pain include:

  • Exercise — Low-impact exercise increases the range of motion in your knee without adding further stress on your joint.
  • Weight loss — Losing weight will reduce the amount of pressure being put on your knees.
  • Physical therapy Physical therapy will help you learn how to move and complete exercises in a way that does not intensify your discomfort. Your physical therapist will tailor a specific program for you and adapt it to your needs as your symptoms change.
  • Bracing — Bracing helps support and stabilize your knee, thus making it easier to move.

What Should I Do if the Suggested Treatments Are Not Providing Any Relief?

In severe cases, your specialist may recommend knee injections or even surgery to reduce your discomfort.

Knowing what medication to take or what other non-surgical treatment options are available can be challenging. Fortunately, though, with the proper assistance, pain relief is possible!

Schedule an appointment in Columbus, OH with one of our expert board-certified specialists at OrthoNeuro today. We’ll be by your side every step of the way!

Special thanks to Oliver Wang for writing the original piece entitled “What To Take For Knee Pain.”

Medically reviewed by Dr. B. Rodney Comisar

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