Although they both contain the word “arthritis” – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are different conditions that require different treatment approaches. In this article, we are going to offer some tips for differentiating between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. We will also talk about the specific treatment options for each condition.
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition in which the protective cartilage between our joints breaks down, causing the bones to rub against one another. It can worsen over time and cause increasingly more and more pain. Osteoarthritis most commonly impacts the joints in the knees, spine, hands, and hips. Here are some of the common symptoms of the condition:
- Pain, stiffness, and tenderness in the affected joint
- Decreased flexibility
- A “grating” sensation in the joints
Treatments for osteoarthritis can include regular exercise, pain medications and injections to reduce pain, and physical therapy.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (or RA for short) is similar to osteoarthritis, but has several key differences. The biggest difference is that RA impacts the lining of the joints, rather than the cartilage breakdown that osteoarthritis is famous for. RA is, in fact, an autoimmune disorder that causes your body to mistakenly attack its own tissues. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Swelling in the joints
- Morning stiffness
- Bumps of tissue underneath the skin
- Fatigue and unexplained weight loss
There is no cure for RA, but there are numerous treatments that can address its symptoms, and reduce its advancement.
If you are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, contact a specialized pain management physician today. The pain doctors at Advanced Spine & Pain Clinics of MN have over two decades of experience treating RA and osteoarthritis, and can help form a treatment plan that fits your unique needs. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.