Tylenol/Acetaminophen Alternatives for Arthritis Pain

Learn about alternatives to Tylenol and other pain reliever pills for arthritis. 

White pills spilling out of an orange bottle

Osteoarthritis can be painful. However, before you pull out the bottle of Tylenol from your medicine cabinet, take some time to learn about other pain relief options available to you. Continue reading to get informed on Tylenol alternatives for arthritis pain. 

Arthritis Pain Management

If you have arthritis, you know that managing arthritis pain can be tricky.  Symptoms can vary depending on the day, the time, and possibly even the weather. Joint pain is one of the main symptoms of arthritis.1 For individuals facing arthritis, managing pain is a top priority. Joint pain can hold us back from doing some of the daily activities we love, like walking the dog, gardening, or cooking up a delicious meal for the family. That’s why arthritis pain management is so important. By learning about the different ways to alleviate arthritis pain and finding the most effective treatment for your symptoms, you can live your life the way you want to live it—without pain standing in your way.

As far as pain management goes, it’s not one size fits all. Different methods work for different people. Some individuals choose to use Tylenol to treat arthritis pain, but Tylenol might not be the right option for every person. In this article, we will explain a few Tylenol alternatives, including natural remedies like exercise and Voltaren Arthritis Gel, the first full strength over-the-counter NSAID gel designed to treat arthritis pain.

Tylenol for Arthritis Pain

Many people are familiar with the brand Tylenol. If you were to look inside your medicine cabinet at this very moment, you might even have a bottle on hand. But what is Tylenol exactly, and is it an effective form of arthritis pain treatment? Tylenol is simply a brand name for acetaminophen. Acetaminophen belongs to a class of medications called analgesics and antipyretics, which help treat pain and reduce fever.2 From headaches to muscle aches to menstrual pain, acetaminophen is used to alleviate pain in a number of situations. Sometimes, people use acetaminophen to help with pain caused by osteoarthritis.2

How effective is Tylenol (acetaminophen) in treating arthritis? According to Osteoarthritis Research Society International, analgesics can help relieve mild-to-moderate arthritis pain, but they do not reduce inflammation associated with OA.3

Research on acetaminophen for treating OA pain is mixed. While some doctors recommend acetaminophen for treating osteoarthritis pain, new findings suggest it may not be the right option for every individual. Treatment guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) conditionally recommend acetaminophen for patients with knee, hip, and/or hand OA.4 However, the guidelines also note that acetaminophen may be ineffective, and that few patients experienced important benefits while using the drug on its own.4 However, if you are intolerant of NSAIDs or have any allergies to NSAIDs, Tylenol may be your best option for pain relief. The American College of Rheumatology notes that for people who can't take NSAIDs, acetaminophen may be appropriate for short-term and episodic use for arthritis pain.

Tylenol Alternatives

If you have questions about Tylenol and whether or not it is the best option to treat your arthritis, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Familiarize them with your health history, including any allergies you have and any other medications you’re currently taking. With support from your doctor, you can figure out the best treatment for your arthritis pain.

Below, we've listed other options to help you control your arthritis pain, including lifestyle modifications and other OTC arthritis pain relief medications.

Help Relieve Arthritis Pain with Alternate Methods

Sometimes, there are small changes or additions you can make to your everyday routine to help alleviate arthritis pain. Depending on the severity of your pain and how frequently you experience pain, these alternate remedies are a good place to start:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re obese, losing weight can help reduce any extra pressure you’re putting on your joints, which will help increase your mobility and minimize your pain.
  • Exercise often. While you may want to avoid high-impact exercises like running and jumping which can worsen your pain, activities such as swimming or a nice brisk walk can help you reduce pain and maintain a healthy weight. Some people enjoy relief from exercises like yoga and tai chai.
  • Apply heat or ice to painful spots. Using heat pads or ice packs can help you reduce arthritis pain. Try both methods to find out whether or not one (or both) methods work for you.
  • Switch up your footwear. Wearing shoes that fit properly is important when you have arthritis. You may find that inserts, or even custom-made orthotics, help alleviate the pain you’re experience in your joints.5

Other Over-the-Counter (OTC) Arthritis Pain Relievers

As far as OTC medications go, there are different options available, depending on you and your specific health concerns. Products that contain counterirritants such as menthol or camphor create a cooling or heating sensation on the skin. They work by distracting your brain from your arthritis pain. Some arthritis pain relief products contain capsaicin, a substance found in chili peppers! Capsaicin works mainly through counter irritation too by creating a heating sensation on the skin. Overtime, it also helps desensitize the nerves.

NSAIDs treat both pain and inflammation caused by arthritis by blocking the production of pain signaling chemicals called prostaglandins.6 Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel is a topical NSAID designed to treat arthritis pain. It’s the first full strength over-the-counter NSAID gel for arthritis pain relief, and it’s FDA Approved to be used up to 2x longer than Tylenol.*

Voltaren Arthritis Pain gel, now available without a prescription, was previously doctor prescribed in the US for 10+ years and is clinically proven to be an effective non-steroidal pain reliever with a proven safety profile. Learn more about Voltaren today.

* 21 days vs 10 days for Aleve and Tylenol before consulting a doctor

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