Runner holding sore leg knee pain from running or exercising jogging injury or cramp

Q. I took Celebrex for over 10 years for arthritis but it eventually lost effectiveness. My new insurance company would not cover Celebrex unless I tried three other medications: meloxicam, ibuprofen and naproxen.

My doctor suggested fish oil and it provided significant relief, about what I had experienced with Celebrex. Then I read your article about gin-soaked raisins and tried them too. I now have less joint pain and discomfort than I ever did with Celebrex.

A. Joint pain can be challenging because all the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs) that are prescribed have side effects. Ibuprofen, meloxicam and naproxen can be hard on the digestive tract, to put it mildly. They all have the potential to trigger life-threatening perforated ulcers.

Heart Hazards with NSAIDs

All these drugs you have mentioned, including Celebrex, may also raise blood pressure and increase the risk for cardiovascular complications. An analysis of data from Denmark confirmed this risk for all NSAIDs except naproxen (Annals of Internal Medicine, online Jan. 15, 2013). The FDA has not given naproxen a clean bill of health, however. As far as the FDA stands, all NSAIDs pose a risk of heart attacks and strokes. These potentially life-threatening reactions can occur within a few weeks of starting an NSAID. That is a high price to pay for relieving joint pain.

Another drug, prednisone, can cause insomnia, hypertension, diabetes, swelling, osteoporosis and cataracts.
Fish oil and gin-soaked raisins offer much less risk. Some people, like you, find they can be quite helpful.

We summarize the pros and cons of medications and offer details about many non-drug options in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. In it, we also discuss other anti-inflammatory foods and spices, such as turmeric, tart cherries, boswellia, ginger, grape juice and pineapple to help ease joint pain.

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  1. Dee

    We have bought the correct gin and raisins to try for our arthritis, but don’t know the recipe for preparation as well as amounts of each, storage, and other pertinent information. Would appreciate any help to get us started. We are in our 70’s and prefer to try a non-narcotic approach. Your comments have been inspiring and give us hope.

  2. fyg

    A plant-based diet should help with arthritis. This diet removes foods that cause inflammation.
    I used to suffer from a bulging disk in my neck and after I went on the plant-based diet (vegan) I have absolutely no pain whatsoever. Drugs have too many side-effects so go vegan instead.

  3. SarieD

    I have arthritis in my knees and hands, and I found relief taking gluten and all products containing wheat from my diet. Its amazing, the relief I have found. If I eat any wheat or gluten the arthritis returns. Dr William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly advocates taking wheat out of our diets for many reasons, specifically the wide ranging effects wheat has on our bodies, and I have followed his advice. I highly recommend trying this approach.

    • Mary

      Dr. Perlmutter also recommends removing wheat from our diets. So far I have reduced only.


    Yes, I believe in Cod Liver oil, and Omega3. Both help. Right now I’m taking Instaflex too. They prescribe 3 a day… I take one. Can’t use my walker all day, use a chair. But can stand a do a few things and use my walker, of which I wasn’t doing at all. Wanted knee replacements, but at the time got ill and to skip that process. Was doing that ill on, ill off stuff and never got my knee replaced. Only know that Cod Liver Oil and Omega3 help. And I’m in bad shape. Try it. Good Luck

  5. cpmt

    I am diabetic, prednison increases the sugar to dangerous levels (500+) for me (and my doctor didn’t know this side effects !!!). BETTER eat or drink CHERRIES, its juice, frozen, in can/jar etc…ALSO ginger and cinnamon are anti inflammatory


    how many gin soaked raisens do I have to eat daily to help with arthritis?

  7. Mary

    What is the best fish oil for joint pain and how much should be taken?

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