Osteoarthritis VS Rheumatoid Arthritis – The Main Differences And Treatments
How many times were you prevented from doing things you like or were unable to even try some activities because of the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis? That definitely can affect your mood and overall well-being.
Arthritis is an umbrella term for different types of arthritis, a well-known disease that causes joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.
There are numerous types of arthritis, but two major ones are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They have some similarities, but they are very different when it comes to symptoms and treatments.
Let’s learn more about it by making the comparison – osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid arthritis – what’s the difference?
Arthritis is a severe and chronic disease that affects about 23% of the adult population in the US. The most common type is osteoarthritis which affects 27 million people, while rheumatoid arthritis affects far less, about 3 million people.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that occurs due to the wear and tear of the cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible tissue that caps the bones in your joints, connecting them. When cartilage breaks down, there is no longer the padding necessary for proper movements and extensions of the joints. That leads to inflammation of the synovial membrane (the membrane that surrounds the joints, responsible for the protection and lubrication of the joints). Further, the bones start to rub against each other, which leads to pain, swelling and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks synovial membranes mistaking it for a foreign invader, such as infection or virus. That results in an inflammation of the synovial membrane. Further, that leads to pain and swelling, and finally to permanent disability. It’s unknown what causes that immune system mistake.
The next distinction between OA and RA is the type of joints they affect. OA usually affects weight-bearing joints, such as knees and hips, but can also affect the neck and hands (second joints in the fingers). On the other hand, RA usually affects the small joints such as knuckles and first joints in the fingers, elbows, wrists and feet. However, it is possible that RA can affect the knees too. The affection of OA is usually unsymmetrical, while RA is symmetrical.
See also: CBD Oil and Arthritis
The occurrence of both OA and RA increases with age and is more frequent in females than males. However, RA can develop at any age (commonly between 30 and 60 years), and genetics is the most significant factor. It usually runs in families, so the chances are that you may develop the condition if a parent or sibling has it. When it comes to OA, you have higher chances to develop it if you are overweight or have diabetes, gout, deformities of joints or have experienced traumatic joint injuries.
Regarding the speed of onset, osteoarthritis tends to develop slowly and gradually over several years, while the onset of rheumatoid arthritis is relatively rapid and can develop and worsen over several weeks or a few months.
Having made these distinctions, let’s see what the symptoms of OA and RA are.
The symptoms of OA and RA
Many of the elemental symptoms of RA and OA are the same. They include: painful joints; morning stiffness (although duration differs); limited range of motion; warmth or tenderness in the affected area.
However, they have many differences, and each of them has its own set of symptoms.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis often attacks several joints at one time. It is a systemic disease, so it can affect your entire body too. It can damage the organs, the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. It’s characteristic for RA that the symptoms are symmetrical – so if you have RA in one hip, you will have it also in another.
Pain, stiffness, and swelling. Pain can be very unbearable. Stiffness is usually experienced in the morning and can last more than 1 hour. In some cases, prolonged morning stiffness is actually the first sign of RA.
Low-grade fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches or anemia. Joint pain isn’t always the first sign of rheumatoid arthritis. It can also begin with “flu-like” symptoms.
Inflammation. You can notice the redness on the skin or warmth in the joints. The inflammation can lead to permanent, irreversible joint damage if it’s not properly managed.
Bumps or nodules. People in advanced stages of RA may notice hard lumps, called rheumatoid nodules, underneath the skin near joints.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis
Unlike RA, osteoarthritis affects only the joints, so the people who suffer from it do not experience overall symptoms. Also, the symptoms of OA are not symmetrical. The most common symptoms of OA are the following.
The pain of joints. It’s very intense and is worsened by extensive movements. The sense of pain can vary from aching over burning sensations to sharp pain.
Stiffness. In the case of OA, morning stiffness is mild and lasts less than 1 hour. The stiffness can occur after periods of activity at the end of the day. The more you move joints, the more pain and stiffness you experience.
Swelling and warming. This is common after prolonged inactivity.
The weakness of muscles. It’s felt around the affected joint, and it’s usually the knee joint.
Deformation of joints. People with OA tend to have bone spurs or nodes around the finger and hand joints. It occurs as arthritis gets worse, and it can limit the range of motion.
Crepitus. It’s referred to as cracking and creaking in the joints.
So, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease caused by an autoimmune response, and osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease caused by years of natural wear and tear. The next question pops out: how can these diseases be treated?
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid arthritis – the best treatments
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are chronic diseases, and there is no cure for them. However, nowadays, there is a way to slow down the progression of those diseases and manage the symptoms that arthritis causes. The primary goal is to reduce pain, improve function and minimize damage to your joints.
The treatments vary from one person to another, so don’t forget to consult with your health provider before taking actions on your own.
Some of the treatments that can help manage the symptoms are the following.
Exercise. It is the best medicine for both types of arthritis. Exercise is crucial as it increases the strength and flexibility of the muscles, reducing joint pain and stress, as well as reducing fatigue. Exercise can improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. Don’t do anything yourself, but first consult with your doctor or physical therapist about the type of exercise suitable for you.
Medications are the most common in treating diseases. However, they are not always the safest method as they come with various side effects. To avoid the risk, you should try some natural medicines with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, such as cannabidiol (CBD). There will be more words about CBD later in the text.
Pain medications. These can reduce the swelling, mild pain and discomfort caused by OA. Pain medications usually include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
As with OA, pain medications such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids can reduce swelling and inflammation and relieve the pain caused by RA. These medications can also help to improve physical function.
Disease-modifying medications. The first line of defense from RA is using disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow or stop disease progression and reverse chronic inflammation. These can save the joints from further damage. However, many RA medicines have side effects, so regular doctor checkups are imperative.
Physical therapy. Arthritis weakens the joints and muscles, so physical therapy can help to strengthen the affected joints and improve joint and muscle function.
Surgery. If none of the recommended treatments work and your joint pain only worsens, the total joint replacement can be the only option left.
There are a few more ways of managing the unpleasant symptoms of OA.
Intra-articular injections. If medications don’t help, you may get injections of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, botox or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in the joints. These injections can provide the missing ‘cushion’ or padding that is degenerated.
Heat or ice. Heat can help relax the muscles around the affected joint, while ice can relieve pain and swelling after activity or exercise. You can use gel or cream to reduce your joint pain.
Weight loss. When you are overweight, your joints bear more than they can handle. Therefore, weight loss will reduce the stress put on your joints. Every pound of body weight lost takes 3-5 pounds of pressure off the lower extremity joints.
The RA is different for each patient, so the prognosis is unpredictable. Many complications can arise from this autoimmune disease. However, many new treatments have been developed over the last decades. They help lower the inflammation, reduce the pain, prevent joint damage, and stop the disease’s progress. Starting treatment in the early stages of the disease can prevent it from worsening, giving you more control. Treatment, including medicine, exercise, and lifestyle changes, must continue throughout life.
See also: CBD for Arthritis and Joint Pain
If you want to improve your life with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, remember to rest when you’re tired, protect your joints, use splints, canes, walkers, and devices to help you move. Also, try to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. With a proactive approach to lifestyle, making appropriate changes, and keeping physically active, patients can experience significant relief in pain and mood.
Now you know the possible ways of treating your arthritis, but as we mentioned, medications can come with various side effects and risks. Therefore, CBD can be the best and safest substitute for them. So, let’s see the benefits of CBD.
How can CBD help you with arthritis?
As pain and inflammation are the most common symptoms, you could possibly reach for something that will reduce the inflammation or take the pain away, even for a moment. Also, these symptoms often make you nervous or depressed and worried. Especially when you find out what disease you have and that it can’t be entirely and permanently cured.
CBD is widely known for its multiple beneficial properties. It helps reduce inflammation and relieve the pain in joints. Also, it will calm your mind and body, so you will be able to get proper rest without thinking about the pain or inflammation that is bothering you.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the cannabinoids, compounds that come from hemp plants. Hemp is one of the species of Cannabis Sativa plant, and unlike marijuana, hemp is almost THC free, so it can’t make you “high” and therefore affect your mental clarity. Accordingly, CBD products are absolutely legal.
CBD works by feeding your endocannabinoid system (ECS), the part of the immune system. The ECS is responsible for regulating biological functions, keeping the body in a healthy state. It has receptors for cannabinoids that attract CBD, which strengthens the immune system and helps the body avoid and fight ailments more naturally.
CannazALL’s CBD products such as CBD oil, CBD gummies, CBD salve or CBD capsules are proven to be very effective in fighting a number of ailments like arthritis, anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, allergies, pain etc. Here we don’t have to compare osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis because CBD is very effective in healing symptoms of both diseases.
Not only that, but now you have the perfect opportunity to try one of our high-quality products and fight your arthritis pain and inflammation. We are offering a sample of CBD gummies TOTALLY FREE!
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