I can't comment on advice for effective pain medicine, as I haven't figured that out for myself as of yet. Thanks Mari for your comment though, b/c for 7 years I was undiagnosed and treated horribly by docs. I felt the docs thought I was looking for pills, even though I wasn't on any narcotics, and wasn't asking for pain pills - I was asking to find out what's wrong. But because they heard the word pain, everything else often seemed lost and they stopped listening or even wanting to help diagnose me.
I decided to post in response to the OP that others are out there just like you. I do also have joint pain, and that in fact is what lead to my diagnosis of Lupus and Sjogrens. It started as tingling in my arms legs and feet when I sit in a position for too long, or if I lean on my arms say on a table or arm rest. Then I lost function of both thumbs. They wouldn't move. It hurt to have my hands even touched. With rest I regained function, but still had pain in my hands daily. The tingling is an inconvenience, but the stiffness and the pain from the inflamation in my hands can get to be unbearable some days. My meds still aren't optimal, but all of them haven't kicked in just yet, but I'm hoping. The neurologist confirmed I don't have carpal tunnel (which I always assumed I had) nor any nerve damage. So all of this is my broken immune system attacking my joints trying to fix a problem that's not there, causing more problems - from the way I understand it.
My fingers, the bones in my my hand, my wrist, forearms, elbows, knees and ankles all take a hit quite randomly. Though the hands are the worst and are painful to varying degrees daily.
Everyone seems to be affected a bit differently by the autoimmune diseases, but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.