There has been a LOT of excellent advice offered here! I'm developing arthritis in my back and hands, and have had FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) for 30+ years.
Vioxx was excellent for pain relief -- I felt *normal* when I was able to take it. (Except for the crushing chest pain!) Celebrex has caused chest pain also.
Cymbalta worked for pain for quite some time, until intestines revolted and all kinds of bad things happened. No ulcers, but a nearly 20 lb weight
loss before things kind of sorted out.
I'm managing without major meds at the moment. I have a heating pad permanently installed on my chair, along with various pads and cushions to keep my back straight and shoulders back (most chairs cause your back to round, which in my case causes pain -- back straight and shoulders back = relief). I need heat several times a day, and often use the seat heater in my car even in the summer. Sigh.
Magnesium is good for pain, and also for the constipation problems other meds can cause. Since FMS also causes constipation, I take magnesium regularly (500-750 mg at night).
Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. I take 2000 units a day. When I was teaching, I took *4000* units. Young people are walking germ factories, but as long as I kept up that regimen, I did not get sick. Vitamin C also relieves constipation.
Turmeric and curcumin are very good for pain. Curcumin hits the pain I'm developing in my finger joints and keeps it at bay. If I miss it a few days, the pain comes back. NSAIDS have not helped it, but Curcumin does.
I also take a glucosamine/condroitin/MSM complex.
As far as camping and pain... I have two thoughts. Don't get too cold, and make sure your bed is comfortable. My husband has foam cushions in his van that are too hard for me. Trying to sleep on them in my condition made any van trip a true misery. I had to insist on bringing an eggcrate cushion with us.
Air mattresses are wonderful, but make sure you have very thick insulation between you and the mattress. If you have a pain condition of any kind, you'll discover you feel worse or even TERRIBLE if you don't. Even if you have warm covers on TOP of you, the air in the mattress is not as warm as your body. Therefore your body works all night just to maintain its temp, and the result is misery. At least it was for me until I figured this out. If we use an air mattress, there has to be a comforter or sleeping bag between me and it. As long as we do this, the sleep on an air mattress is delicious.
The cushions in our little bigfoot
are not too firm, but we use a memory/gel/eggcrate pad anyway. We don't get too cold in the trailer, so my body is happy.
And then, just avoid getting chilled outside. Wear warm clothes when its cold. Wear layers and gloves and warm socks. The other bad reactions I've had have been from getting too cold outside. (Pain and fatigue after one ill-advised midnight swim lasted for nearly three weeks)
I agree with the other poster who advised that it's easier to prevent pain than to stop it once it happens. Don't wait too long to take a med. You will accomplish nothing except suffering more and longer (and ultimately having to take more medicine).
In warm weather, wear sunscreen and hats but soak up the warm sun. It's wonderful for achy joints.
Oh, and yoga. Yoga has greatly reduced my symptoms, and if I miss too many classes they come creeping back. Exercise, walking, biking, hiking -- these will all help with arthritis.
And camping. Most definitely camping.