November 16, 2020

What's the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis? - New Mexico Orthopaedic Associates, P.C

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. Different types of Arthritis exist, each with different causes including wear and tear, infections, and underlying diseases.


Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness (lack of balance), and deformity (misshapenness).


Symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and stiffness. Medications, physical therapy, or sometimes surgery helps reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.


Physical activity is a simple and effective, non-drug way to relieve arthritis pain. Being physically active can reduce pain, improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis. Regular physical activity can also reduce your risk of developing other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. It can help you manage these conditions if you already have them. Losing excess weight and staying at a healthy weight is particularly important for people with arthritis.


Losing weight reduces stress on joints, particularly weight-bearing

joints like the hips and knees. In fact, losing as little as 10 to 12 pounds can improve pain and function for people with arthritis. At any age, low-impact, arthritis-friendly physical activity (like walking) and dietary changes can help you lose weight.

Treat Arthritis Symptoms Naturally:

Herbal Tea can have many soothing benefits. Many people who live with arthritis choose teas such as green tea, ginger tea, and turmeric tea. Some companies even make “arthritis-friendly” or “joint comfort” herbal teas.

Acupuncture is an ancient remedy that has stood the test of time is acupuncture. It’s a part of traditional Chinese medicine but is Western medicine including the United States Military. An acupuncturist uses very thin needles on certain points of the body. Usually, the needles aren’t inserted very deeply. Each needle coordinates with a body part, body system, or organ. The needles are thought to balance out or interrupt the flow of good and bad energy in the body, also known as the body’s chi or qi.

Acupuncture is somewhat related to the practice of acupressure. (They’re cousins, of sorts.) While modern-day science hasn’t confirmed that acupuncture works as a treatment for RA, some doctors recommend it. It isn’t clear why, but some people with RA report feeling better after acupuncture or acupressure treatments.

I absolutely love it and recommend it — so long as you go to a certified practitioner. It isn’t scary and it isn’t painful. For me, I visualize it releasing toxins and allowing “good vibes” to soak into my body! I definitely feel like it helps with pain, stress, and overall health.

Chiropractic the notion of chiropractic for RA is a tricky one — and it isn’t for everyone. Some rheumatologists and people with RA will advise against seeing a chiropractor. Others are fine with it. I like it in moderation, but some people don’t. It’s up to the individual and their doctor to decide if it’s a good option.

Most chiropractors advise against having chiropractic treatments during an RA flare, especially on the neck. I do engage in treatments, but not on my neck because I had neck surgery in 2011. However, I find that mild chiropractic work in moderation and for maintenance purposes can be a great source of pain relief for me.

I can usually tell when my body is in need of a chiropractic tune-up. If you decide to try this option, just make sure to speak with your doctor first. If your doctor approves, make sure to do your homework and find a reputable chiropractor.

Massage Many people with RA find various types of massages helpful. But as with chiropractic work, massage should be done only as tolerated.

There are different types of massages ranging from hot stone massage to relaxing spa-like massages, trigger point massages, deep tissue massages, and more. You could get a massage done in a spa or salon setting, at a physical therapist’s office, or at a chiropractic clinic.

Western Pharmaceuticals have often been prescribed for arthritis and rarely have there been long term success. Natural Medicine has historically been with fewer side effects. If you are seeking more resources contact Zen’s Medicine Staff CLICK HERE.



Supportive Links:

“Novel treatment strategies in rheumatoid arthritis.” The Lancet 389.10086 (2017): 2338-2348.

“New therapies for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.” The Lancet 370.9602 (2007): 1861-1874.

“Rheumatoid arthritis: diagnosis and management.” The American journal of medicine 120.11 (2007): 936-939.


Note: “Western Pharmaceutical” is defined as a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Quote from National Cancer Institute:

Zen's Medicine Staff
Written by Zen’s Medicine Staff

Holistic Health: is mindfulness of one’s mind, body, emotions, spirit, environment & social group.



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