The Differences in the Two Most Common Types of Arthritis

he Differences in the Two Most Common Types of Arthritis

If you have arthritis, you’re probably used to feeling sore. You may have swollen joints and may feel stiffness as well. It affects the tissues around your joints and other connective tissues. How to treat it depends on which type of arthritis you have.

Although there are several causes of joint swelling, the causes are usually one of two types of arthritis. The providers at Beeson Regenerative Health explain more about the two main types of arthritis and how to tell the difference between them.


The most common cause of joint swelling and stiffness is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is also known as a “wear-and-tear” type of illness. It’s most likely to affect your hands, hips, and knees. 

You have cartilage between your joints, which acts as a shock absorber. This cartilage eventually wears away as you put more stress on your joints. If you’re overweight, it puts even more stress on your joints, causing the wear and tear to occur more quickly.

The damaged cartilage can cause your joints to rub against each other, which can cause a lot of pain. You may even experience a limited range of motion. In some cases, osteoarthritis can become so severe that you’re unable to work.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Although it’s often mistaken for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a different condition altogether. You still have joint swelling and pain in your joints, just as you would with osteoarthritis.

But what’s different about rheumatoid arthritis is that it’s an autoimmune condition. This means that your body attacks its own healthy tissue. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis tends to be symmetrical. If your left wrist is swollen, for example, your right one usually will be as well.

Another significant difference about rheumatoid arthritis is that it can progress to affect other joints in your body. Early with rheumatoid arthritis, your small joints will be affected first, such as the joints in your hands, wrists, and feet.

You may also feel more stiffness in your joints in the morning, which may lessen a bit throughout the day. In addition, you may also develop nodules around your pressure points, such as around your elbows.

How to treat the different types of arthritis

Treating osteoarthritis

If you have osteoarthritis, the best type of treatment is a multi-factor approach. Much of the self-management tools for osteoarthritis include the following:

Get physically active

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, being physically active can reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Experts recommend 150 minutes a week of activity--just 30 minutes, five times a week will do it. Not only will this amount of exercise help with your arthritis, it will also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the top causes of death.

Learn the right types of activities

Although exercise can help you manage your arthritis, the type of exercise you do matters. The best types of exercise for arthritis are low-impact ones that don’t put strain on your joints, like swimming, walking, and bicycling.

Lose weight

Losing weight is difficult but it is one of the best ways to manage your arthritis. Even if arthritis has already set in, losing weight can stop it from getting any worse. If you need help with losing weight, the providers at Beeson Regenerative Health can help.  

Treating rheumatoid arthritis

Treating rheumatoid arthritis is essential, but it can be managed. In addition to getting regular exercise and losing weight, you can also take medications that help to keep your disease at bay. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to come and go, with flare-ups being nearly debilitating. Medication may be necessary to keep flare-ups from being overwhelming, but we can still help you to manage your condition holistically.

If you have either type of arthritis, you should make an appointment with the doctors at Beeson Regenerative Health. Contact them today, or request an appointment online.

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