22,836 members26,546 posts

Advise for managing on OTC painkillers


I've posted here before on my troubles getting a diagnosis since all my bloodtest and imaging are negative.

It seems I finally found a rheumy who are willing to listen and start all over trying to figure out what causes my joint pain and stiffnes :-)

However for the past 2 months I've been on oral prednisolone (low dose 7,5mg), which have reduced the pain and stiffness and given me enough energy to cope with fulltime work.

In order for it not to mask any symptoms my rheumy have asked me to stop them and manage on paracetamol and ibuprofen. I understand her reasoning for this and is willing to do almost anything to move on and get some treatment. However I also need to be able to work and manage the everyday. So if anyone have any tips on how to cope with the pain while on OTC painkillers please share :-)

I have prevously tried Codein, which didn't seem to have any great effect and tramadol, which helped with the pain but unfortunately made me constantly dizzy so I couldn't cope with them.

6 Replies

I find that I can cope better with the pain with a range of methods other than looking for relief from medication which I don't find very effective.

A balance of work and rest (look at the Spoons Theory?), using relaxation techniques to reduce muscular tension, correcting my posture when sitting, walking and working, using distraction techniques, and using methods such as a TENS machine, hot and cold bathing, massage etc to relieve the pain I have.


Thanks a lot. I find that working full time I am exhausted when I get home from work and often consider if i have enough energy to cook dinner and actually eat it. Though I know rest helps it is not possible during the day.

I am also trying to keep working full time for as long as possible. I don't know how it is in the UK being from Denmark myself. But here the system is just awful if you are on sick leave, even part time. Countless meetings with social workers who just believes you don't want to work, usually scheduled during work hours (if you work part time) telling you how important it is for you to attend, since they need to "help" you stay in the work place.... well how about not scheduling meetings when I supposed to be working then....sorry for the rant. I know that if I go on part time sick leave I will just have to add stress on top of everything

Not sure if it is the disease itself or just from being in pain all the time that takes all my energy.

I do find the pain more intolerable if I don't take the painkillers. Though I know they are not good for me I do already miss the steriods and it is only the first day without them. It will be a long three months on just OTC.


"I have prevously tried Codein, which didn't seem to have any great effect and tramadol, which helped with the pain but unfortunately made me constantly dizzy so I couldn't cope with them."

The only times I took Tramadol I fell over and/or was sick within 40minutes of taking it so I have some empathy with your response to it.

May I ask how much codeine was in the medication you tried? Many of the codeine preparations contain 10mg/500mg codeine:paracetamol. There are preparations that contain more codeine and they seem to work well for some people but in the UK those are prescription only but it might be worth discussing with your GP.

In addition to whichever of AgedCrone's suggestions might be relevant to your circumstances, do you respond well to regular sauna or does it aggravate your symptoms?


In Denmark Codein is only a perscription drug with no paracetamol in it.

I wasn't to bad on tramadol but couldn't drive due to dizziness and after a few days developed nausea. Just felt seasick constantly

Ahh yes Sauna is a brilliant idea. Het is great for my joints


Tramadol is known to make one nauseous but if you take it with paracetamol you don't get the nausea.

I like ice for pain. Hands and feet are my worst areas also turmeric capsules are anti inflammatory and givjng up gluten may help you.

I hope you get some answers soon. You may need to have some time off sick.




I am not good with ice for the pain. Even when my joints feels warm I need heat :-)

Thanks for your kind wishes, I do hope I don't have to take time off sick, I really want to avoid the stress of it


You may also like...