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How to Effectively Manage Chronic Arthritis Pain

Pain caused by chronic arthritis can be debilitating. According to the CDC, half of all adults suffering from arthritis—more than 30 million Americans—experience persistent pain resulting from their condition. This chronic pain affects both men and women of all ages, although it is more prevalent among older patients.

If you suffer from chronic arthritis pain, you know how it can adversely affect your life. In addition to the typical effects of arthritis (swelling, tenderness, and stiffness), chronic pain can cause you to refrain from many everyday activities and dramatically affect your quality of life and emotional health.



What can you do to manage chronic arthritis pain? Standard over-the-counter medications can sometimes help and should be the first treatment option. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often used to treat mild to moderate pain, although it’s not a good long-term solution for chronic pain.


Many providers prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), alone or in conjunction with acetaminophen, to combat arthritis pain. NSAIDs are available as tablets, capsules, creams, gels, and injections. Some can be purchased over the counter, while others need a prescription. NSAIDs are often effective with mild arthritis pain, and they tend to reduce swelling. However, long-term use or overdosing can cause indigestion, stomach ulcers, headaches, and other side effects.


Some patients find that over-the-counter nutritional supplements can help alleviate arthritis pain. In particular, the omega-3 fats in fish oil often have a positive impact on those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, while glucosamine and chondroitin have been shown effective for reducing osteoarthritis pain. Curcumin, found in the turmeric spice, is also known for reducing inflammation and its associated pain.

Exercise and Weight Management

Many adults with arthritis can reduce the associated pain by losing weight. Exercise and weight loss not only ease arthritis pain but also improves people’s overall quality of life.

Steroid Injections

Another approach to reducing arthritis joint pain is the use of steroid injections. Injecting a steroid such as hydrocortisone or prednisone directly into a joint can reduce inflammation and its associated pain. Unfortunately, the effects of steroid injections wear off over time, necessitating repeated injections over a period of months.



Knee pain caused by osteoarthritis can be reduced by a procedure called viscosupplementation. This is an FDA-approved injection of hyaluronic acid into the affected joints, which reduces the inflammation that causes the pain. The effects of this procedure can last from six to twelve months.

Nerve Blocks

For arthritis that causes pain in the spine or limbs, a nerve block can offer effective relief. With this treatment, a local anesthetic, either alone or mixed with a steroid, is injected directly into a nerve. This stops the conduction of pain signals along the nerve and, if combined with a steroid, helps calm the inflammatory tissue.

Regenerative Therapies

Regenerative therapies, such as prolotherapy, involve injecting substances found naturally in the human body to trigger its healing response. These substances, such as saline, dextrose, and lidocaine, cause mild inflammation that stimulates the body to produce healthy new cells and repair damaged tissue. This process is not an immediate cure; it can take four to six weeks for the patient to see increased mobility and reduced pain.

Opioid Medications

When arthritis pain becomes chronic and severe, these treatments may not provide sufficient relief. For chronic arthritis pain—pain that lasts more than three months—patients may need stronger relief through opioid medication. Opioids work by attaching themselves to pain receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals. This can effectively manage the persistent effects of chronic arthritis pain.

Because of the risk of addiction and other side effects, opioids must be prescribed and taken carefully. The providers at Valley Medical and Wellness are trained to effectively manage opioid use to battle chronic pain from arthritis and other conditions and know to prescribe opioids such as Suboxone that have fewer side effects and are less addictive than other painkilling drugs.


Let the Pain Experts at Valley Medical and Wellness Help You Manage Your Chronic Arthritis Pain

The chronic arthritis pain management program at Valley Medical and Wellness is designed to help patients regain maximum function without developing a dependence on opioids. We consider each patient’s specific needs, customize the type and dosage of medication, and closely monitor each patient’s progress over time.

If you seek relief from chronic arthritis pain, let Valley Medical’s friendly and experienced pain management experts guide you to a normal life without pain. We have clinics in five convenient locations to serve patients across Minnesota, including Burnsville, Minneapolis, Woodbury, Rochester, and Bemidji. To learn more, call us at (612) 444-3000.



Michael Miller Michael Miller Michael Miller is a Business Process Writer at Valley Medical and Wellness. He's an established writer with more than 200 books and thousands of articles published over the past three decades. He writes on a variety of topics, from healthcare to technology to music. He is also a member of the Interstellar Foundation, dedicated to telling the story of humankind via NASA spacecraft traveling beyond the solar system.

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