It is important to understand that there is no medication that will prevent osteoarthritis or that will reverse the changes of osteoarthritis once they occur. There is no good scientific evidence that any supplements, shark cartilage, chondroitin sulfate or similar types of “natural” compounds have any effect on the underlying osteoarthritis. While some people may report some improvement in their symptom while taking those, it is thought to be due mostly to the “placebo effect”.

In the early symptomatic stages of osteoarthritis the symptoms of pain can effectively be managed by simple analgesics (various forms of acetaminophen) and/or anti-inflammatories. Initially you can take those “over-the-counter” types at your discretion for the occasional increase of the pain. If the pain lasts longer you may benefit from scheduled dosing of those types of medications. You need to consult with your family physician for ongoing monitoring of the effects of such treatment.

Many patients will use various anti-inflammatory rubs, gels or ointments on their arthritic joints. Those compounds may temporarily ease the discomfort of an arthritic joint but generally speaking their benefit is mild at most.

Please note that for the other forms of arthritis, especially the inflammatory ones there may be other forms of treatment. Always consult with your treating physician before deciding on any form of treatment.