I have never had addiction problems (58 years). Just prescribed Ultram for significant arthritis pain. Is Ultram safe to use?

Probably. Tramadol(ultram) is an opioid since it works by stimulating the mu opioid receptor. It should have been controlled by the fda right at the outset. I have needed to detox numerous people from it. However, your history suggests you can use this safely. As long as you use it for severe pain, avoid routine use, avoid any pattern of use- you will likely be fine.
Like any medication, it has. Potential side effects. It is possible to become addicted to ultram. As a result of this some states have deemed it a controlled substance which limits the number of refills that a doctor can prescribed, and it also notifies the doctor as well that it has potential addictive properties. Please read the full side effect profile at www.Drugs.Com, and talk to your pharmacist or personal physician if you have any question regarding those. Best wishes.