Whilst making lifestyle and dietary changes may help to reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms, it is highly likely that, at least some of the time, you will still need to take appropriate medications to reduce pain and inflammation and improve joint function. I believe that an integrated approach that combines a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, stress management and complementary therapies with appropriate medications is the most effective way to manage the symptoms of Arthritis.

This article gives an overview of the over-the-counter and prescription-only medications commonly used for the relief of OA and RA symptoms, including simple analgesics (painkillers); NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which include selective COX-2 inhibitors; steroids; DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs); and biologic drugs.

Not everyone will suffer side effects from taking medications and there may be others in addition to those listed, so always read the leaflet that accompanies the medication and discuss any concerns with your pharmacist or GP before using it.

You can report a suspected adverse reaction to a drug on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website (see Directory). Always inform your GP or pharmacist if you are taking any vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements, as these may interact with medications or reduce their effectiveness.

Remember that there are other self help solutions available to deal with pain including accupuncture and prolotherapy, amongst others.

Practical self-help treatments to relieve pain and stiffness are also included in this article, and it ends with a brief overview of the surgical procedures available on the NHS if your quality of life is being severely affected by arthritis pain or if your joints are so damaged you are unable to carry out simple everyday tasks