Father and son drinking coffee with collagen protein while talking about what to take for knee pain

What To Take for Knee Pain: The Road to Relief

Suffering from knee pain can limit your mobility and take away your sense of independence, so knowing what to take for knee pain is vital. While there isn’t one cure-all medication, there are simple and effective things you can take for knee pain that can make a big difference in your quality of life.

Understanding what helps knee pain will assist you in living more comfortably and getting back on your feet – and there are a few routes you can take. We’re here to provide some clear information about your options. So if you live with knee pain, and are ready to solve it, you’re in the right place.

Before we dive into a list of what helps knee pain, let’s first discuss what causes knee pain in the first place. 

What causes knee pain?

Although today we’ll focus on what to take for knee pain, it’s important for you to understand the types of knee pain, as treatment can look very different depending on your knee problems. 

Knee pain caused by a fall or accident may feel different to chronic knee pain, and the road to recovery may look different as well. Even being overweight can contribute to knee pain, as it puts extra pressure on your knees as you move.

Some common causes of knee pain include:

  • Overuse of the joint
  • Arthritis
  • Baker’s Cyst
  • Infection in the joint
  • Bursitis
  • Torn cartilage
  • Sprain or strain on the joint

To know which type of knee pain you have, you’ll need a doctor to take a look at your symptoms and make a formal diagnosis. You can make an educated guess about where your knee pain might come from using information available online, but your diagnosis isn’t official until it comes from a medical professional. 

If you have knee pain, the first step should be booking an appointment to start your road to recovery.

Why is knee pain more common as we age?

It’s something we all notice. Our knees start to creak and burn more as we get older. But why?

As we get age, our bodies become slower to recover from injuries. One explanation for this is a decline in collagen production that supports our joints. Starting around the age of 25, we make less and less collagen naturally - this means we have fewer resources to repair ligaments and cartilage. 

Coupled with the fact that the cartilage in our knees doesn’t contain blood vessels, this is why cartilage is slow to heal when we hurt or overuse our knees. 

So if fighting knee pain is an uphill battle as we age, what are we supposed to do about it? 

Finding relief from knee pain

Now we know a little more about where knee pain comes from, it’s time to discuss what to take for knee pain. What we’re focused on specifically is relief for knee pain without surgery.

There are three thought processes for pain relief, and it’s worth noting that they’re not mutually exclusive. Most people who successfully reduce their knee pain use a combination of these methods for the best results.

When talking about what to take for knee pain, the most popular treatments are:

  1. NSAIDs (non-steroid drugs)
  2. Vitamins and minerals
  3. Collagen protein supplements

Let’s take a look at examples each in turn. We’ll be looking at what each one of these treatments actually is, what it claims to do, and the necessary precautions and side effects involved in taking them. 

We should note that our presentation of these treatments should just be considered as a starting point for a conversation between you and your doctor about your knee pain. 

As we’ve mentioned, knee pain can come from a variety of sources, and each circumstance is different. Any real treatment plan should only come after a diagnosis from a medical professional.

With that said, let’s look into our list of knee pain supplements and medicines.

What to take for knee pain

Here are our top recommendations on what to take for knee pain:

Pain medication

NSAIDs are non-steroid drugs, and the principal intention of this medication is to mask pain. Note that these drugs reduce knee pain by masking it, rather than curing it. The job of any painkiller is to provide comfort, and this is often, but not always, achieved through reducing inflammation.


What does it do? 

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug commonly used to reduce pain, usually through reducing inflammation. 

What is the recommended dosage?

For adults, the usual dose of ibuprofen is one or two 200mg tablets or capsules – three times a day. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a higher dose of up to 600 mg to take 4 times a day.  

Precautions and side effects:

Following your recommended dose is important, but regular users of ibuprofen for pain relief still may experience side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, digestive changes, headaches, and an increased risk of stomach ulcers and kidney problems.

It is not recommended to take ibuprofen for extended periods of time. 


What does it do? 

Acetaminophen is a medication that controls pain and fever, but unlike ibuprofen it does not do this via reducing inflammation. Instead, it helps to block the pain response in your central nervous system. It’s an important drug for controlling chronic pain, especially in older adults, which is why it makes our list of what to take for knee pain.

What is the recommended dosage?

For regular strength tablets, you are meant to take 2 tablets every 4-6 hours while symptoms last. You should never exceed 10 tablets in 24 hours, unless directed by your doctor.

Precautions and side effects:

Unlike ibuprofen, acetaminophen is not considered to irritate the stomach and intestinal lining. However, it does come with other side effects. Excessive use of acetaminophen is connected to liver damage.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are a cornerstone in the general maintenance and upkeep of the body, and allow the body’s most important processes to take place. While there are a wealth of vitamins and minerals, these are the ones most relevant to joint health:

Vitamin D

What does it do? 

Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption, which is important for building and maintaining strong bones. It may slow the development of osteoarthritis by keeping joints healthy, which is why it makes the list of what to take for knee pain.

What is the recommended dosage? 

Our bodies can get their vitamin D from sunlight, so going outside if you live somewhere bright may be all you need. If you are supplementing vitamin D, 10 micrograms daily is the recommended dose

Remember that vitamin D is also present in our diets, especially in foods like oily fish, red meat, and egg yolks. 

Precautions and side effects: 

As with all vitamins, there are no dangerous side effects considered to be connected to vitamins when taken in the correct dose.


What does it do? 

An important mineral, calcium also supports bone health. Taking calcium may help prevent, or at least reduce, the discomfort associated with osteoporosis, which is why it is a popular choice for what to take for knee pain. Calcium also supports overall health by helping to take care of our organs.

What is the recommended dosage? 

700mg is the daily recommended dosage of calcium, and it’s best if this comes from food. Calcium is always connected to milk, as it’s a good source of the mineral. But calcium is also found in leafy green vegetables and soy products.

Precautions and side effects: 

Calcium, if taken in the correct dosage, shouldn’t present any serious side effects.


What does it do? 

Found naturally in a variety of foods such as almonds, beans, beef, milk, and more, magnesium helps over 300 enzymes to carry out a range of chemical reactions. It makes our list of what to take for knee pain because some of those chemical reactions build protein and bone, keeping our joints healthy.

What is the recommended dosage? 

The daily recommended dosage of magnesium is about 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women.

Precautions and side effects:

As long as you stay within the recommended intake guidelines, there are no strong side effects connected to magnesium.

Vitamin C

What does it do? 

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is probably the most well-known vitamin. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis – creating the protein that strengthens and protects our joints

Additionally, it can control infections and help to heal wounds, making it a wonderful choice of what to take for knee pain. 

What is the recommended dosage?

The recommended dosage of vitamin C is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women. You can supplement vitamin C, but you can also find it in many fruits and vegetables.

Precautions and side effects: 

As with all vitamins, there are no dangerous side effects considered to be connected to vitamin C when taken in the correct dose.

Collagen supplements

We learned earlier how collagen is a key building block in the knee joint, as its strong protein structure is needed to pad out our cartilage and to strengthen our ligaments and tendons. That’s why many people take collagen for ligaments, even if they don’t have knee pain. It can actually help with injury prevention!

What is collagen?

You may not be familiar with collagen, but it’s actually the protein that’s present all over our body. It’s an incredibly useful bionutrient that reinforces and gives tensile strength to cells in our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, organs, and even blood vessels!

What does collagen do?

Can collagen cure knee pain? No – just like everything on this list, collagen is not a cure, but it can help to reduce knee pain, and sometimes do away with it altogether. 

One of the most common causes of knee pain is Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a general wearing down of cartilage, the tough padding that coats the ends of our bones to stop them from rubbing against each other.

Cartilage is primarily made up of collagen protein. Additionally, collagen protein is the main building block in tendons and ligaments, the powerful connectors between bones and muscles. 

Any serious answer to the question of what to take for knee pain should address supporting the growth and upkeep of cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Because knee pain is often caused by a lack of cartilage or injured connective tissue, supplementing collagen is a logical solution for pain relief.

What helps knee pain the most?

Still wondering what to take for knee pain? Taking collagen for knees may be the best answer. The more we look into knee pain, the more we value the vital role that collagen protein plays. 

Painkilling medicine is a great help, but it doesn’t solve the root cause of knee pain. Vitamins and minerals are vital for overall bodily processes that keep us healthy, but it’s difficult to make the case that they are direct and complete answers for what to take for knee pain.

As it addresses the problem at hand, collagen makes a clear case as a frontrunner for what to take for knee pain. It can help you heal knee injuries more quickly by providing your body with the building blocks it needs for new tissues.

Collagen can also help support the overall health of your cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments – making it an all-around star when it comes to joint supplements. 

Remember – you can absolutely use all three avenues at once when choosing what to take for knee pain. 

Finding the right collagen supplement

Not all collagen supplements are effective – or even safe. That’s because most supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, and businesses don’t need to back up any of the claims they make about their supplements. Because of this, it’s important to do your own research!

Look for a collagen supplement that doesn’t contain any additives or excess sugars. It should come from a trusted company – preferably one backed by scientific studies – and should have plenty of positive customer reviews. 

In addition, you should ensure that your supplement is hydrolyzed (also referred to as collagen peptides). This means the supplement has gone through a chemical process to break it down into more easily digestible pieces, so you can get the most out of your supplement. 

If you want the best collagen supplements for your health, consider a medical-grade collagen supplement. These supplements are FDA-regulated, and are trusted for use in medical facilities across the country. 

If you’re trying to decide what to take for knee pain, a medical-grade collagen supplement is a sure bet.