Do you suffer from joint pain? If so, finding the right treatment can greatly improve your quality of life, especially if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis pain. Whether your discomfort is caused by illness or injury, varying degrees and levels of pain require special courses of treatment for each individual. Following are five of the top join pain medications that may be effective for you—they are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, topical pain medication, supplements, and injections.

Top 5 Joint Pain Medications

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • Acetaminophen
  • Topical pain medications
  • Supplements
  • Injections

Don’t wait to find the best joint pain relief for your condition. Read on to learn more about each type.


NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are designed to reduce inflammation. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are over-the-counter NSAIDs used to block prostaglandins, which is the substance that enhances pain on your nerve endings, creating inflammation. NSAIDs help reduce the stiffness that follows joint pain. They are a popular medication for treating joint pain; they work quickly, inexpensive, and generally have very few side effects, if any. They’re often used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis pain.


  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cost Effective
  • Delivers relief with minimal side effects


Tylenol, Anacin aspirin free, and Daytril are brands of non-narcotic pain relievers with the active ingredient of acetaminophen. These over-the-counter pain relievers are some of the most used medications worldwide. Tylenol, and the other acetaminophens, having little anti-inflammatory effect, they are still effective in relieving joint pain. After years of studies, scientists don’t know for sure how acetaminophens relieve pain. One theory is that acetaminophens increases the body’s pain threshold-which in turn reduces the feeling of pain by the body.


  • Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in Tylenol
  • Most used OTC drug
  • Effective in relieving joint pain

Topical Pain Medications

Over-the-counter topical pain medications have active ingredients that are absorbed into the skin. They’re useful when treating several types of joint pain, including pain from psoriatic arthritis. There are a variety of ways to apply them on the skin; creams, gels, sprays, and patches. Capzasin and Zostrix are two examples of the capsaicin creams that deplete the nerve cells of a chemical that sends pain messages. Capsaicin creams can be more effective when coupled with NSAIDs. Some people may have to wear gloves to apply due to the chili pepper sensations of burning and stinging. Side effects are minimal and the burning and stinging sensations usually subside after a couple of weeks of usage.


  • Variety of applications
  • Capsaicin creams are fiery like chili peppers
  • Topical creams paired with NSAIDs can bring greater joint pain relief


Glucosamine and chondroitin are two joint pain supplements that are derived from substances naturally found in healthy cartilage. It has been proven through medical research that glucosamine sulfate alone-or combined with chondroitin sulfate-relieves joint pain. Vitamin D is now classified as a joint vitamin and it has been shown in several studies that vitamin D may be the key to absorbing calcium which is important for strong and healthy bones.


  • Supplements made from natural substances in healthy cartilage
  • Glucosamine sulfate effective for serious joint pain
  • Vitamin D added to absorb calcium for the health of bones and joints


Corticosteroids is medicine injected into the joint to alleviate pain and swelling. The amount of shots that you can receive in a year are limited by your physician-due to the fact that too many may be more harmful than beneficial. The relief from these injections is effective but short-lived. It has been founded that by following up with a good exercise routine and diet-after the injection-will make it last longer and even in some cases the pain will subside altogether.


  • Injected into the joint to relieve pain
  • Limited to 2 or 3 a year
  • Pairing the injection with a good exercise routine is more beneficial for pain relief


By far these treatments have not exhausted the medications used for the many variables concerning joint pain. But the best approach for help is to start out with the minimal medication. Work through the methods until you and your doctor find the right combination for your needs.