Aspirin can help reduce osteoarthritis pain, inflammation, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that supports and cushions the joints wears away, causing bones to rub against each other. As the cartilage becomes increasingly damaged, chemicals called prostaglandins are released, which cause nerve endings to send pain signals to the brain.
Aspirin is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that stops prostaglandin production to reduce pain. Aspirin may cause stomach bleeding if used for long periods of time or combined with alcohol. Some medications, such as blood thinners, should not be combined with aspirin.