What Is The Difference Between Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis?

Know Your Enemy......

In This Article –

  • Treatment Has Changed
  • The Difference Between Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis
  • 4 Ways To Tell Them Apart
  • Which Is Worse?

Arthritis – A Sign Of Someone Who’s Lived Life To The Full And Worn Out Their Body Or A Disease That Is Just Pure Bad Luck? The First Step In Gaining Control Is Knowing Your Enemy.

There certain key differences between the early symptoms that can help you establish what is the difference between Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.

Arthritis Treatment Has Changed

Arthritis has undoubtedly changed in recent times. At least our perception and treatment of it has. No longer is painful arthritis just seen as something that just happens with older age. But as more and more of us reach our golden years it is no longer the ‘penalty’ that has to be accepted for living a relatively healthy life.

With today’s advancements in medicine and alternative therapies, arthritis can be managed, controlled and it’s impact on our lives kept to a minimum. The first step in gaining that control however, is knowing your enemy.

What Is The Difference Between Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that occurs when your bodies immune system turns against itself and attacks your own body instead of intruders. Here it attacks the synovial membrane around your joints, causing a loss of protection and abrasion in the joint to take place. You may here it commonly described as an ‘auto-immune disease’

Osteoarthritis happens through overuse when the cartilage in your joint wears out, causing painful inflammation and abrasion as bone rubs against bone in the joint.

4 Key Ways To Tell Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis Apart –

Causes –

Osteoarthritis is simply caused by wear and tear on the body – although diet, bone density and type of exercise will all play a part.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, doctors don’t really know why the bodies immune system turns on itself. In certain cases it just does. Many theories have been formed, but none with sufficient evidence or acceptance to be worthy of including.

Location –

Another key difference between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis lies in the area that they attack. If your autoimmune system does turn against you, it is likely it will attack several places at once – so for example you may get pain in both knees or both hips at the same time.

So having pain in multiple joints is a key of rheumatoid arthritis, while osteoarthritis can actually occur just in one hand, or one knee if you are right handed, because that it the one you’ve used most and literally ‘worn out’. Similarly, if we use your hands as an example, osteoarthritis will most often appear in the end finger joint closest to the tip, whereas rheumatoid arthritis will normally attack the joints further up around knuckles or the wrists.

Symptoms –

Furthermore, if you are experiencing other symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, anemia or feel fever-like, then these are all typical symptoms of an auto-immune disease that would include rheumatoid arthritis.

Stiffness –

Another factor that needs to be considered when looking at what is the difference between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis is what a lot of people consider to be the ‘morning stiffness’. If you suffer with osteoarthritis then it is likely that affected joints wont move as easily as they should first thing after getting up. This is true of both types of arthritis however – the difference is that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are likely to notice this reduced range of action in the joint to last much longer than a few minutes – with an hour or more of limited action not being unusual.

Which Is Worse Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It is impossible to say which arthritis is worse – both come without a cure. Rheumatoid arthritis does come with a whole a range of other symptoms and the ‘morning stiffness’ typically lasts much longer. However, there are so many other factors at play in determining the individual pain levels that it is impossible to suggest one is more painful than the other.

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The Final Word –

There are over 100 types of different arthritis, but by far the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, with osteoarthritis substantially the most prevalent.

Both types of arthritis do share certain similarities – the pain being centred around your joints and often including stiffness in the mornings. Furthermore, neither type of arthritis has a cure.

However, they are still different conditions and to treat them properly requires both the correct diagnosis and an understanding of the joint/s that are affected.

In the many pain management groups that we attend, both Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis arthritis feature prominently. Thankfully this means we have accumulated many tips and tricks from other sufferers to help you manage your pain better.

Hopefully this page has helped you answer what are the differences between rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and you can use the links on the right to start looking at ways of managing your pain better.

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