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Does aspirin help osteoarthritis pain?

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.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

You may take aspirin for those pounding headaches and sore muscles after a weekend of gardening or swinging the clubs, but this common pain reliever can also help control osteoarthritis pain. Is it the best choice? Probably not for most people. Aspirin can cause stomach bleeding, even at low doses. You may already be taking a baby aspirin every day to lower your risk for heart attacks. If that's the case, taking aspirin to relieve joint pain could be a problem.

Finally, although aspirin has been around for many years, there's surprisingly little research on its benefits in people with osteoarthritis. If you take aspirin for joint pain, ask your doctor if it's okay. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.