Pain: How do you deal with the severe pain... - Arthritis Action

Arthritis Action

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How do you deal with the severe pain of arthritis flare up ? I take cocodamol , use voltarol gel and it's doing nothing for the pain . I can't take anti inflammatories and desperate for relief and sleep . Pain is spine , hip and down into knee . Any suggestions welcome x

18 Replies

It is a fact that exercise does help with arthritis. However, its understandable that when in reat pain that seems to prevent you from doing simple things, the last thing we want to do is move or exercise. I wish I could help with acceptable advice but the only thing I can suggest is to contact your doctor and ask if you can attend a pain clinic. Their job is to try to help balance drugs to help you have a reasonable life. There are much stronger kinds of medication available like opiods but they will have severe side effects.I hope you find a doctor prepared to listen and help you.

Thank you for your reply , I exercise as much as able , having two bouncing dogs !!! I think the idea of a pain clinic maybe a good onexxx

Hi really sorry you are in such pain I can only suggest also constantly using heat where the pain is - I have an electric heat pad, hot water bottle and wheat bag. Try taking your codeine/ paracetamol, rubbing your gel in and the heat treatment then relax by reading, listening to music or watching something trivial and allowing yourself to drift to sleep if possible. This is the best way I can handle a bad flare up . I know exercises is essential for OA but I know that when I have a flare up that rest is best or the pain will be so bad that it will cause my nerves to be so on edge and make my fibromyalgia flare up,

I am lucky that I have always walked a lot and at other times I have continued to do so regularly which helps.

The other really important factor to help O A is to keep to a good diet and ensure you are not overweight so you are not putting undue stress on your bones,

By the way are you on strong enough codeine/ paracetamol- the over the counter ones do not work for me.

Thinking of you take care and try and relax 💕

Thank you for your reply , I try very hard to engage my brain to help block out the severe pain but find it so hard to concentrate . I do need to loose the weight I have put on during" lockdown " Normally we eat healthily but admit during this flare up things have gone to pot ! I take 500 / 30 cocodamol . It does help to know that others understand where those at home do not !!

I know it doesn’t lessen the pain but like you I feel it’s a relief to speak to someone who understands. We feel like every time we Yelp ( which we try to stifle) when something that we do hurts that other people think it’s a cry for attention when actually it’s just an involuntary reaction which we are made to feel guilty about .I used to take 2 of 30/ 500 but but ONLY at severe times I have just asked the doctor to reduce my dose to try 15/500 (which I can double up) I stress that I only take them when it is absolutely necessary. I also take amitriptyline 10 at night.

I have been prescribed numerous painkillers ( including pregabalin and gabapentin) which have really helped in certain circumstances but they all have side effects, Over the last year I have decided to establish what works best for me whilst taking the least medication possible.

One thing I didn’t mention is I usually have injections in both knees which really really help but due to COVID I have not been able to have them this year.

Sending best wishes for a pain free Christmas and New Year

You are not on your own

Keep in Touch x

I take Cocodomol but I am wondering what strength Cocodomol you take. The non prescription stuff is useless for me .......... my GP prescribes Cocodomol 30/500. Maybe there are stronger ones ........ I don't know.Back in the day my knee pain was resolved by having knee replacement surgery. Sorted, no trouble now. However the OA is now in both shoulders but luckily is not full on all the time. Aggravated by weather changes. I'm better than the Met Office at weather forecasting 😂

Have you ever thought of getting an assessment done by an Osteopath or Chiropractor. Sometimes the source of the pain is not always what we think it is and it then transfers along various nerves to " appear" in other places.

Apart from that I go along with the points made by the other two posts.

Good luck,


Thank you for your reply. I take the 30/500 cocodamol too but not with great effect . Like you I also have AF so treatment is limited . Good suggestion is Chiropractor which I will follow up on xx

Prescription co-codemal, not over the counter stuff and heat patches for me. The heat patches that stick direct to your skin. I also have a hot wax bath for my hands. None of its perfect but it all helps a little bit.

Thank you , I spend the day hugging a hotwater bottle xx

The best thing that works for me is to take Golden Paste which is turmeric, coconut oil and black pepper. There is a Facebook group which is very, very helpful called Turmeric support group. Just put in on the search at the top of the page on Facebook. This group has helped me so much and it will you too. It will give you the recipe for Golden Paste and any support you need. Lovely administration and members who will turn your life around.

Thank you , I will look into Turmeric .

Hi there you are doing all the tried & tested things. Warmth helps some or cold packs . But rest is necessary too during flare ups. Take care and stay safe, maybe the GP might have some ideas of alternate pain killers too.

Thank you , my GP is useless which is why I try to deal with situations myself , only seeing him when I have no choice . Xx

Know the feeling , have not seen my Gp for nigh on 12 months even the nurse is by phone too. we learn to DIY our health until we cannot anymore. Hope your pain is begining to subside a little today. xx

HEy, I use CO-COdamol too

I use a prescribed opioid for pain which is a combination of arthritis and the side effects of a drug I have to take to prevent cancer returning.Along with the butec patches (the morphine derivative) I take ibuprofen though I prefer co-codamol as it’s slightly more effective (but binds you up!). Gels do nothing for me. My husband has a different type of arthritis and takes magnesium which helps. I take turmeric which helps with back and hip pain and glucosamine with chondroitin which is good for my arthritic feet (my toe joints are immovable. )

I also try to walk 10000 paces a day. I eat a lot of veg and fruit.

The website Arthritis Action gives hints and tips.

Spine , hip and knee , I suspect there is some thing more than osteoarthritis going on ( this " flare " has been on going for weeks ) . Unfortunately my GP is dismissive and unhelpful . Can't change Gp as no other choice here in rural Devon .

I used to have flares almost every month, no amount of meds, pain killers, balms etc worked. Now hardly get any. And don't take any RA meds.

I controlled it by a total change in food and was able to lead a full active life. With 5mg prednisolone.

Also introduced MSM which helps with inflammation, pain and brain fog!

Am now 2.5mg prednisolone a day and hoping I can slowly wean myself off this too. Email me if you want to know specifics, the main change started with cutting out sugar, wheat and milk totally...then many other dos and don'ts. In short...Intermittent Fasting, raw food, paleo diet.

Now down to just a normal diet minus the foods that I worked out contributed towards my flares!



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