What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

  • Sep 08, 2022
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Arthritis refers to the bio mechanical changes in the joints. There are different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types. Although the symptoms of these two types of arthritis can be similar, it is very important to differentiate between the two in order to determine the right treatment.

Osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis. Both involve inflammation in the joints, but rheumatoid arthritis causes more inflammation.


What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is more likely to develop with increasing age. The changes in osteoarthritis usually occur slowly over years, although there are some exceptions. Inflammation and injury to the joints cause joint degeneration, tendons damage and ligaments, and breakdown of cartilage, which causes pain, swelling, and joint deformity.


There are two main types of osteoarthritis-

Primary osteoarthritis- Most common, frequent, and mainly affecting the fingers, spine, hips, knees, and toes.

Secondary osteoarthritis- It occurs with an existing joint disorder, including injury or trauma, e.g. repetitive or sport-related arthritis such as psoriasis or gout; infectious arthritis, genetic joint disease such as Ehlers-Danlos (also known as hypermobility or multiple joints, congenital joint disease or metabolic joint disease).


Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis often start slowly and usually start in one or more joints. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are-

  • Pain while using the joints, which may improve with rest. For some people in the later stages of the disease, the pain may be worse at night. Pain can be localized or widespread.
  • Joint stiffness, usually lasts less than 30 minutes, in the morning or after a period of rest.
  • Joint inflammation that can limit joint movement.
  • Swelling around the joint, especially after a lot of activity or use of the affected area.
  • Changes in the ability to move joints.
  • A feeling that the joint is loose or unstable.


What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the immune system is affected and attacks the body. When this happens, it attacks the synovial membrane that surrounds and protects the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects several joints at once.

Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects the joints of the hands, wrists, and knees. In Rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed and damages the joint tissue. Damage to this tissue can cause long-term or chronic pain, instability (imbalance), and joint deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other tissues throughout the body, causing problems in organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes.


Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis

Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually appear on the wrists, hands, or feet including-

  • Pain or tenderness in more than one joint.
  • Stiffness in joints that lasts more than 30 minutes.
  • Swelling of more than one joint.
  • General malaise.
  • Mild fever.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight loss.
  • General deformity.
  • Unsteadiness while walking.
  • Loss of function and mobility.


Ayurvedic Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ayurveda offers a safe and effective ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Good health is achieved by harmonizing not only the body but also the mind and spirit. Healing techniques like yoga, meditation, and the proper use of herbal therapies help to achieve this. This modality offers benefits without the significant risks associated with conventional medical treatment. Yoga and Panchakarma is a golden combination that offers comprehensive care for the prevention and treatment of arthritis.


Ayurveda offers the best natural herbs to treat osteoarthritis

Ashwagandha- It is an important medicinal herb with anti-arthritis and several other pharmacological properties which are beneficial in treating osteoarthritis. Using this herb greatly improves joint deformity and reduces joint pain effectively.

Shallaki- Shallaki is proved to act as an effective herb to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the joints.

Bala- Bala is a proven anti-arthritis herb in ayurveda that can reduce inflammation and pain of joints associated with hips, knees, hands, or feet.

Rasna-  Flavonoids, glycosides, phenolic compounds, saponins, and tannins in rasna act as an anti-inflammatory compound to relieve the effects of swelling and inflammation of joints.

Home remedies for Osteoarthritis

  • Pouring hot water on the affected joints, boiled with tamarind leaves and salt, help relieve the pain.
  • Using a hot water bag to manage the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Applying steam helps relieve pain.
  • Application of warm oil is helpful for non-inflammatory conditions.
  • Applying a paste of tamarind leaves, Moringa leaves, and salt is very helpful in reducing inflammation.


An ayurvedic approach towards herbal treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

Hadjod- Hadjod is an ayurvedic herb that is proven to be packed with valuable minerals and antioxidants to treat many bones and joint-related conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, and osteoporosis.

Applying hadjod paste to inflamed joints reduces pain, swelling, and helps restore range of motion in bones and muscles.

Gotu kola- Gotu kola leaves have strong anti-inflammatory properties which are helpful in significantly treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Incorporating fresh Gotu kola leaves into your daily diet in the form of soup, dal, rasam or salad reduces the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Eranda- Eranda oil is an ancient remedy for swelling and discomfort in rheumatoid arthritis.

Slightly heat a cup of Eranda oil, i.e. Castor oil, then gently and deeply massage the affected joint daily, it significantly reduces arthritic pain and inflammation.

Punarnava- Punarnava exerts a cleansing effect on the system, increasing bone and joint strength in rheumatoid arthritis.

Adding some Punarnava to warm milk and drinking it daily after a healthy meal provides amazing benefits for strengthening bones, muscles, and increasing joint flexibility.

Rasna- Rasna organic leaves are known for their antipyretic, laxative, and analgesic properties.

Crush a few rasna leaves, mix them in a glass of warm water or lemon juice, and sip this regularly to flush out toxins, improve digestion and relieve joint pain and swelling.


Home Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Here are some of the natural home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis-

Stretching- Stretching the muscles around the affected joint can help reduce the discomfort and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Simple stretching and strengthening exercises can greatly reduce pain.

Fish oil- Fish oil is the most commonly taken dietary supplement for rheumatoid arthritis and certainly provides omega-3 fatty acids. These have a positive impact on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, especially with joint pain and morning stiffness.

Turmeric and ginger- Turmeric is a culinary spice with fiery orange-yellow color and a pungent odor. It contains the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin and has some beneficial effects in treating rheumatoid arthritis, with improved walking, reduced swelling, and morning stiffness. Ginger is a root spice associated with a pungent odor and taste, and its use has been linked to pain relief in rheumatoid arthritis.

Green tea- The plant from which green tea is made is an anti-inflammatory and can help in treating arthritis. Compounds in green tea such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) are responsible for this activity.



The best ayurvedic massage oil for arthritis is Sandi Karma Ayurvedic massage oil. This oil is made from herbal ingredients that are rich in healing properties such as anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that are effective in treating joint degeneration and arthritis pain.

Another best ayurvedic arthritis remedy that you can try is Sandi Joint Karma Yog Ayurvedic Arthritis Medicine. The tablets are very effective in increasing joint mobility as well as reducing joint pain, inflammation, and swelling due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

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