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Joint pain and how to relieve it

Woman holding knee
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Joint pain and glucosamine supplements

If you’re looking for joint pain relief then you’ll be glad to know that it's available in many forms, from glucosamine tablets to exercise supports and gels. Finding the best relief for you can be a bit of a minefield. That’s why we’re taking you through the options available and what might work best to ease your joint pain.

What are the benefits of taking glucosamine?

Glucosamine is used to treat conditions caused by the breakdown, inflammation and loss of cartilage. When taken regularly, it may be effective at providing some pain relief for people with various types of osteoarthritis.

Some studies have even shown that there is a suggested link between those who take glucosamine supplements and lower risk of heart disease.

What can I do to relieve aching joints?

  • Exercise - a great way to strengthen the muscles around your joints and in turn reduce joint pain
  • Eat a healthier diet – it has been said that joint pain such as arthritis can be eased with a healthy diet packed with vitamins for joint health like omega-3, vitamin D and C. If you are looking to lose weight, this can also really help ease pressure and pain on your joints
  • Use pain relief gel – Anti-inflammatory gels such as Flexiseq are specially formulated to ease joint pain and reduce stiffness
  • Use anti-inflammatory cream - applied topically to skin, these creams can help to relieve joint pain
  • Try supports - If you experience joint pain when exercising, you can use straps or supports to ease pain. Find out more about looking after your joints when you exercise here
  • Take joint health supplementssupplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin are said to help ease joint stiffness and pain
  • Try over the counter pain remedies – Ibuprofen, including flarin can help to relieve swelling around the joints, as well as easing stiffness and reduce your pain
  • Lose weight - did you know that every pound of excess weight exerts around 4 pounds of extra pressure on your knees? If you would like to know more about how to begin losing weight and perhaps alleviate your knee joint pain, read our healthy weight loss guide

Do glucosamine supplements help with joint pain?

Glucosamine, chondroitin and msm (methylsulfonyl methane) are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to ease joint pain. Many people take these supplements in a bid to ease their symptoms and support the natural processes of their body.

Glucosamine sulphate

Sometimes spelt sulfate, it's found naturally in the body. Glucosamine is a building block for many parts of your joints, including tendons, cartilage, synovial fluid and ligaments. If you have joint pain you can use glucosamine to help keep joints healthy and boost the body’s natural levels of glucosamine.

Glucosamine supplements are made from shellfish or vegetarian options are available; and the tablets can be bought from LloydsPharmacy online and instore or supermarkets.


Similarly to glucosamine, chondroitin is a natural substance found in the body that helps cartilage to retain water. Chondroitin is usually combined with glucosamine to provide joint supplements that support joint pain and offer relief.

What are the side effects of taking glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a safe supplement when taken as suggested. However, the following have been listed as possible side effects:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Heartburn
  • Skin reactions
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea

If you experience any of the side effects after taken oral glucosamine, please speak to your doctor.

Who should not take glucosamine?

If you’re allergic to shellfish you should not take glucosamine, as often this supplement is derived from the shells of shellfish. If you have a chronic health condition make sure to check with your GP before starting glucosamine.

What vitamins are good for your joints?

If you eat a healthy balanced diet you should be able to get all of the vitamins your body needs to function. However if you experience joint pain you might want to consider taking extra vitamins and minerals to help support your joints.

These vitamins for bones and joints include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in naturally oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, these can be helpful for those with inflammatory arthritis
  • Vitamin D helps to maintain strong bones and healthy muscles. Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bones.

What is the best joint supplement?

Finding the best joint pain reliever for you can take a lot of trial and error, what works for one person may not work for all. Many people take glucosamine for its anti-inflammatory affect, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are also believed to help to control inflammation.

Do joint supplements really work?

There’s not a clear answer for whether joint support supplements help to ease pain. Studies suggest glucosamine supplements have minimal effect on relieving joint pain. But many people take them regularly in the hope to ease stiff joints.

How long does it take joint supplements to work?

Studies have found that vitamins for joint pain and stiffness such as glucosamine and chondroitin either don’t work or there’s not enough evidence to say they do.

Are joint supplements worth taking?

Whether you take vitamins for joint pain is completely up to you, however you should be able to get all the vitamins you need from a healthy, varied and balanced diet. If you’re thinking of taking joint supplements talk to a pharmacist or GP, they’ll find what’s right for you.

Which foods aggravate arthiritis?

Some people find that certain foods make their arthritis worse, and that cutting them out help. These foods include citrus fruits such as oranges and vegetables such as potatoes tomatoes and chillies. However Arthritis UK do not recommend that you cut these fruits and vegetables from your diet as they contain important nutrients.

I have a swollen knee, what can I do?

If you're experiencing swelling around your kneecap, this could be because you have a build-up of fluid on the knee. This effusion indicates that there is a problem with your knee and if it is accompanied by pain or other symptoms you should visit you GP. Before you see the doctor you should practice RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to help treat your knee.

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