Best pain relief for arthritic knees

SoniaR Member Posts: 35
edited 22. Jan 2021, 11:32 in Living with arthritis

Hi all, I’m 63 and I’ve had knee pain for many years, and after xrays it showed OA in both knees and one hip. Had a hip replacement 4 years ago and all is well. At that point the knee replacement op’s criteria changed and because I am overweight they won’t do my knees, despite the hip replacement being a success. I was referred to a Pain Clinic and had a knee nerve block done on one knee. It made no difference whatsoever. The Pain Clinic said they would write to my doctor to advise appropriate pain killers, which they still haven’t done (I have chased it up by email but there is no option to speak to a member of staff). My doctor has prescribed Naproxen, but I’m still in pain. I wonder what pain relief you are on successfully? I cannot stand or walk without pain and now use a Mobility Scooter. Would love to hear your comments.



  • duffer
    duffer Member Posts: 46

    I've been advised not even to take 1 ibuprofen a day! GP said paracetamol was an alternative - well we all know it doesn't work for OA. Versus Arthritis recommended Root Ginger (tasteless) pills - awaiting arrival from Holland & Barrett - (Sat) - I've tried CBD oil without success - cost me £40 a month. Right now I just put up with the pain because there isn't any choice. Never been offered naproxen and I wouldn't dare even think about it as the warnings on all this stuff is getting so scary. I was fine on my 1 ibuprofen......just gave me enough pain relief to move around first thing in the morning. Oh well - one day they'll come up with something. Incidentally the lovely person on Versus Arthritis said as much exercise as you can is also beneficial - I force myself to walk round and round the house for at least 500 paces (250 yards) - got to keep active apparently. Anyway I'll be a different person when I'm on root ginger I hope. Thinking of all of you and you are so brave. Helen.

  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    Maybe turning to something less intrusive might help!, it works for me. Heat from a hot wheat bag, just keep using them, take them to bed with you, wake up and use them. Painkillers, your body will soon become us3d to them, try an analgesic ointment at the same time as some heat.

    I find that using a decent pair of shoes with cushioned soles and supportive insoles from the hospital work in keeping the weight bearing joints in a line and not changing helps. I have only one pair of shoes at a time.

    so, think of a total approach to include all your weight supporting joints, including your spine, do exercise, don’t overdo it, find your own limits. You will not find just one thing that works but a multiple approach does work.

    its a grin, honest!

  • Lynndilou
    Lynndilou Member Posts: 4

    I agree with the advise from airwave in regard to the decent pair of shoes and hospital insoles I have boots and shoes which are a good fit and move the insoles between my pair of boots and then shoes

    also I know there is no medical evidence to prove hot water helps however a hot shower in the mornings seems to ease my joints enough to get me moving.

  • SoniaR
    SoniaR Member Posts: 35

    Thank you all for your replies. My knees are bone on bone as I have no cartilage ouch!

    Yes Duffer I tried CBD oil, what a waste of money! Tried it for 2 months and didn’t touch the pain, Naproxen is an anti inflammatory rather like Ibrupofen. As my knees are bone on bone, I cannot walk at all without pain so exercise is painful and exhausting. I’ll certainly try root ginger. Thank you.

    Airwave tried Voltoral which sadly didn’t touch the pain. Any standing or walking causes me a lot of pain so exercise is a problem for me.

    Lynn I have a hot shower every morning which I find painful (all that standing!) and leaves me exhausted.

  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    You don’t have to stand to shower, a stall or fitted seat will help. That’s one thing sorted!

    it’s a grin, honest!

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,755

    Hi @SoniaR

    If you haven't yet seen it, there is a great section on the web site for gentle knee exercises that you might like to try:

    Also, you could take a look at Let's Move with Leon, a great general exercise programme you can do in your own time in your own way.

    Do let us know how you get on with coping with the pain.

    All best wishes


  • Kazmac57
    Kazmac57 Member Posts: 4

    Hi there,I also have OA in my knees,neck and hips and am on cocodamol the naproxen made me put waight on,I also use hot and cold pads and ibuprofen gel which do work,but now it’s getting so that it’s not as good as it was,the pain is keeping me awake at night 😥

  • Linmal
    Linmal Member Posts: 1

    Hi everyone I was recently diagnosed with mild OA in my knee but have been in a lot of pain. I'm taking Naproxen and paracetamol which seem to be holding it at bay during the day. However, the minute I get into bed it's a different story! I'm finding it really difficult to get comfortable and seem to be waking every time I turn over.

    Has anyone got any tips for things which might help?

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,679

    Hi @Linmal

    I see you have recently been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of your knee and are really struggling at night.

    I imagine you have looked at most of the information on this thread, but will quickly add this link:

    There are things you can do to make night times easier. Many of us take our pain relief before bed so that we can 'get off' in relative comfort. There are medications (prescription only) which are slow release and can last 12 even 24 hours.

    Many of us (myself included) sleep with a pillow between our knees or under the knee if we sleep on our backs which can help.

    I'll leave you now to meet our members

    Best wishes


  • Northernhippy


    Im new here but have been living with OA for over 10 years. I don’t find any oral pain relief to be helpful once the cartilage is gone, total knee replacement is the only real option. I had one knee replaced 3 years ago now. I also had barriers placed before me regarding weight & age but I kept at them, telling the surgeon how badly my mental health was being affected by my life grinding to a halt.

    I make my own pain relief balms which I massage into my hands & knees a couple of times a day. I’ve found elder leaf & dandelion to be a good combination for the pain in the warmer months. Over winter I add wintergreen which helps warm my joints.

    like others, I too use a knee pillow at night, though this is more to combat the terrible cramps.

  • Saltmarsh
    Saltmarsh Member Posts: 42

    Paracetamol can give some relief if the full dose of 2 x 4 times a day, and continue to allow build-up. It's a shame you were stopped taking the small dose of Ibuprofen that helped you so much. Was that from a Dr.? Just in case it was from being nervous of side effects, you can also be prescribed (/buy) a tummy protector, usually Omeprazole. I take it, then my meal, then the anti-inflam. There are some good tips here. Northernhippy's ointment sounds fascinating - perhaps she would tell us more? I couldn't do without my orthotic insoles, there is a lot of trouble taken to keep weight off necessary areas. I think you would enjoy a perch seat in the shower. Occupational Therapy can provide free. If you ask them to visit you, they will tell you about everything they could offer to help you, they're really super.

    I do wish you well. Pain is all-consuming. Maybe another discussion with your GP is called for, re- next steps. He should be fully apprised of your suffering. Good luck.

  • Mishkins68

    I am now 53yrs old and started with knee pain at least 10yrs ago. Had a meniscus tear which I had an arthroscopy which resulted in a partial meniscuspy. That was relatively pain free for a couple of years before the pain returned. I have now been in the waiting list for a left knee replacement over 2years and recently found out my right knee is now in the same condition and will also need a total knee replacement. I currently take meloxicam 15mg as I can’t tolerate any nsaids. I am still in constant pain and at the point of it affecting my mental health. I work full time and on my feet 10hrs a day, but I’m not getting any help.

  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 704

    Hi @Mishkins68 and welcome to the Versus Arthritis forum. 

    I note that you have suffered with knee pain for many years and now await a knee replacement operation. You have persistent pain which is understandably a situation that is challenging to manage particularly when your job involves being on your feet for long periods. 

    I hope that joining the forum helps you get through this difficult time and that other forum members are able to offer you advice and support based upon their own experiences. 

    These links to our website may be useful:


    You may also find this link to a recent discussion as regards waiting for a knee replacement of interest to view/join:

    I hope that you find joining the forum beneficial. 

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Janzie
    Janzie Member Posts: 2


    I have been told I have mild arthritus in my left knee, It has reduced my walks and exercise. But I will not be beat. I do knee exercises with Jay on versus arthritus and swim. I am gradually pushing myself to walk a bit further every day. But I could do with a pain killer, not to take all the time but some days (when it rains..weirdly) it is painful. I am Jan I am 66 and hate the fact I am getting older. 🤨

  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 780

    Hello @Janzie welcome to the online community

    You have been diagnosed with mild arthritis on your knee and are asking members about painkillers to help with your pain on an occasional basis. As you will see on the above links to other members there is a lot of online information and some helpful advice from members who are experiencing a similar situation to you.

    I admire your strength of spirit " I will not be beat" and your walking and swimming exercises which will all be beneficial to your overall sense of physical and mental wellbeing. Getting older is a given and we all cope with life's ups and downs as best we can. Even on wet days! You might be interested in the link about the research between arthritis and weather

    As some of the members above mention the medication they take, you may want to discuss the best one to suit you with your local pharmacist or GP. Let us know how you get on, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Take Care


    If it would be helpful to talk to someone ring the Helpline 0800 5200 520

    Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m.

  • slinks
    slinks Member Posts: 8

    Hi I’ve just found you - I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (inherited connective tissue disorder) and was first diagnosed with arthritis back in 1991. I have had multiple surgeries to stabilise or replace various joints (toes, wrists, knees, hips) I’m currently recovering from a total fusion of my right index finger.

    I use a combination of most of the self-help tips, such as hot baths and sleeping with pillows to prop your hips & knees in the correct alignment, plus prescription medication (gabapentin) alongside over the counter paracetamol. I have dogs and a horse so I am active outdoors most days which helps me cope mentally, constant pain makes you really depressed

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,679

    Hi @slinks

    I am very pleased that you have found us! It sounds as though your multiple joint surgeries puts you in an excellent position to help other who are about to or have just had surgery. A thread about your upcoming surgery might really help future people facing index finger operations.

    I wonder whether you have spotted this while browsing the site:

    It sounds as though you have plenty of techniques to cope with your pain. You are so right linking long term conditions such as yours to Mental Health issues. This is a good link by two people talking about that issue:

    Keeping active as you do is so helpful.

    I look forward to seeing your posts in future.

    Best wishes


  • slinks
    slinks Member Posts: 8
    edited 8. Mar 2022, 21:03

  • pzh20
    pzh20 Member Posts: 2

    I take a range of pain killers including Amitriptyline at night which helps me not to wake up when I turn in my sleep as well as Naproxen. I also take Oramorph during the day along with another Naproxen

  • Linda135
    Linda135 Member Posts: 4

    I was prescribed Capsaicin cream last November and have been applying it to my arthritic knees four times a day until about a month ago when the pharmacist told me it was no longer available due to a manufacturing issue. Has anyone else been using it and now not able to get supplies? I found it was slow to have an affect but certainly helped me after a few weeks and I'm really missing it now as I wasn't happy on naproxen. I've phoned every pharmacy within 25 miles and no one has any!

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 743

    Hi @Linda135

    I'm in the same boat - I have 2 outstanding prescriptions for capsaicin cream with my local pharmacy. I raised a discussion about capsaicin cream here last year with a couple of options - Ralvo patches and a home made recipe I found online.

  • JerryWS
    JerryWS Member Posts: 2

    Hi @Linmal , I was diagnosed with mild OA about 4 years ago and was referred for physio. The essence of what the physio said was that I should exercise to strengthen the muscles around the knees and this would stabilise it and reduce pain. At that time I struggled to get comfortable in bed without a knee pillow, and took paracetamol sometimes supplemented with ibuprofen. Since then I have exercised regularly, ranging from squats (as low as I could manage with my clicking knees, which wasn’t very low), walking and using an exercise bike. It takes time to build the strength as movement is limited to start with, but I now do 30 minutes on the exercise bike on most days, can walk freely, and don’t take any pain killers except on very bad days, perhaps once a month. From my experience I would say it does work, but takes time and you need to stick with it. Hope this helps.

  • Tom
    Tom Member Posts: 522

    Hi, @jerryws and welcome to the forum. Your first post is a response to a post already on the forum; thank you for that. What you write is an endorsement of the benefits of sustained, but not excessive exercise – always listen to your body.

    Keep us up to date with your story.

    Tom, Moderator.

  • elainejo
    elainejo Member Posts: 2

    Hi I've been told I have oesteoarthritis I was finding it hard to sleep still do but it has been made easier by having a leg pillow well worth the money if you turn in your sleep it turns with you

  • Sharon_K
    Sharon_K Member Posts: 460

    Hi @elainejo

    welcome to the online community it is lovely to have you here. If you have any questions please feel free to start a new discussion for yourself. Our community is very knowledgable and supportive. If you just want to have a general chat you might like our Cafe

    Best Wishes