Unable to take nsaids for pain so what now??!!

Orange Member Posts: 1
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:11 in Living with arthritis

Hello I have not posted before but I am desperate for some advice, my mother is 84 she is in agony with her arthritis now more than ever. All she has is a cream to rub in from the doctors. She’s tried some patch’s but said they make her feel weird and don’t work, she cannot take nsaids because of previous stomach ulcers. She’s barely moving about now because of it. Has anyone else got any relief when they can’t take NSAIDs?


  • CarylW
    CarylW Moderator Posts: 233

    Hello @Orange

    I am pleased you have found our online forum. We are a friendly group who will always try and help with support and help when you ask.

    I understand that your 84 year old mother is in a great deal of pain from her arthritis and is unable to take NSIADS. I am sure some of our members will come up with some help for you, but in the meantime I am posting below a link to information on our website which I hope will be a starting point for you.

    Do keep in touch with us and let us know how your mother is.

    Best wishes


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

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hello @Orange, very sorry to hear about your mother's pain.

    There are some natural supplements your mother could consider taking as anti-inflammatories. There are lots available from health food shops and online, in fact a bewildering choice but the following are known to be proven:

    Capsicum and Peperine


    "Tart" Cherry juice

    All available in capsule form

    Alternatives to painkillers like Co-Codemol could be CBD (derived from Hemp), in capsule or gummies form.

    A TENS machine (gentle electric shock therapy) provides instant relief and some folks say the effects can last for hours afterwards. These are freely available in good pharmacies, Lloyds stock a good range.

    Some gels she can rub on may also help - I rate FlexiSeq highly which helps reduce stiffness, crunching and grinding, Capsaicin Cream (which is difficult to find if your mother's GP won't prescribe), Red Tiger Balm and max-strength Voltorol gel.

    It's a case of trial and error but I find with my pain under control, at least a little, I can get out and about and any movement is not only good for my poor old knees but good mentally and physically.

    Hope some of these may help


  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 391

    hi @Orange

    I also cannot take NSAIDS and have had a mixture of medication for my arthritis.

    Gabapentin - primarily used for Epilepsy but is a good alternative for pain relief and you can increase your dose to cover the pain. I've just weaned myself off mine after being on it for about 10 years as it stopped being effective for me.

    Tens machine - I have one from Boots which has different modes on it, tens, ems, massage and two cables each with two pads which you attach to the skin where the pain is - about 5 cm apart. I swear by mine. I do find that an I-Phone cross body bag or similar is perfect to keep the machine in both when it's in use and not in use.

    Codiene - I have had 30 mg of codeine which I took 2 every four hours with paracetamol also every four hours but halfway between the codeine doses when the pain is bad.

    Some people swear by Amitryptline - had various types of those types of drugs and didn't work for me.

    Currently I'm using morphine patches which stay on for a week - they're the lowest dose ones and don't kill all the pain but when it's bad I just boost it with paracetamol or tramadol.

    Tramadol - I was on this long term until it stopped being effective so I just use it to boost the patches when necessary now.

    The best advice I was given when waiting for surgery years ago was to manage my pain by taking a regular dose of whichever drug worked for me as preventative medication.

    There are so many alternatives for NSAIDS I would go with her to the doctors and make sure she gets something other than 'just take paracetamol'. Paracetamol is brilliant if/when it works for pain on a regular basis but if it doesn't you need to insist on trying something else.

    You haven't said where her arthritis is causing the most problems - if it's hands related I did reply to somebody else over the weekend with suggestions for dealing with hand arthritis.

    I hope you manage to find something that works for your mum - if you haven't thought about a power of attorney for her it might be worthwhile when speaking to the doctors on her behalf. Some of them will flatly refuse to discuss her medical problems without.

    Love n hugs

    Trish xx