There are a number of strategies for coping with osteoarthritis. Exercise is important in managing arthritis, especially exercises that dont place stress on the joints such as walking and swimming. Exercise also can improve your endurance and your ability to perform daily tasks. The use of heat or ice can help relieve soreness and inflammation, as can some topical medications. Oral medications also can help relieve joint swelling and pain. All medications have potential side effects and should be taken only when necessary, but over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications can be very beneficial. Your physician also may prescribe stronger anti-inflammatories or other types of medication.