Ibuprofen Vs. Acetaminophen For Joint Inflammation

15 March 2021
 Categories: , Blog

If you have rheumatoid arthritis or another degenerative joint disease, then you probably experience chronic joint inflammation, which not only causes swollen joints but also joint pain. Your physician will develop an individualized plan of care based on your current state of health, past medical history, and your level of pain.

Many people who have joint pain and inflammation rely on over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Before reaching for one of these drugs, consider the following differences between the two as they pertain to joint inflammation.


Ibuprofen is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It inhibits the release of pain-inducing chemicals known as prostaglandins, and in addition to its pain relief properties, it also helps suppress inflammation. In addition, if you have rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disorder, you might not only suffer from joint inflammation and pain but also systemic symptoms such as fever.

It is thought that ibuprofen is more effective than acetaminophen in reducing fevers. If, however, you have been diagnosed with acid reflux disease or if you experience digestive problems, then acetaminophen may be the better choice for you because it may be less likely to cause stomach upset and reflux symptoms. 


Unlike ibuprofen, acetaminophen is not a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Instead, it is classified as an analgesic. Although effective in relieving joint pain, acetaminophen is ineffective at reducing joint inflammation. Furthermore, it may be ineffective for people who experience morning stiffness of the joints as a result of arthritis.

Morning stiffness is one of the hallmarks of arthritic conditions and is very common in those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. While acetaminophen is considered safe, it may be contraindicated in people who have liver disease or who drink alcohol in excess.

Acetaminophen-related liver damage may be the result of taking more than the recommended dosage or from taking the recommended dosage with alcohol. If you have a history of liver diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease, or if you have elevated liver enzymes, talk to your doctor before taking acetaminophen for your joint pain. 

If you have joint inflammation and pain, make an appointment with your primary care physician. After a comprehensive physical examination, they will develop an effective joint inflammation treatment plan to help manage your symptoms. Also, based on your medical history and preexisting health conditions, your doctor will determine which pain relief medication is the safest choice for your situation.