What Is the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis? Both OA and RA produce joint pain and inflammation. OA is joint stiffness caused by loss of cartilage between joints due to wear and tear; RA is an autoimmune attack on joints. The Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) says there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and it’s the leading cause of disability in America.
Osteoarthritis, the most common chronic condition of the joints (sometimes called “degenerative”), occurs when the smooth cartilage joint surface wears out; it usually begins in an isolated joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, whereby the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body instead of intruders. RA attacks the synovial membrane encasing and protecting the joints, and it often targets several joints at a time.
What Can Help? Obesity is the single most important modifiable risk factor. As little as a 5% decrease in weight is beneficial for knee osteoarthritis. We all know that losing weight helps everything! But other than that, and other than steroids, opiods, injections, and other chemical-laden temporary fixes, what can we do?
Controlled studies have shown that topical capsaicin reduces pain from knee OA by 50%.
Additional studies show that improvement comes from the following easy fixes: Probiotics (the best was Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086); Curcumin (500mg per day proved more effective than a standard RA drug); Fish Oil (1g cod liver oil per day proved best); Vitamin D (60,000 IU per week); Vegetarian Diet with no cereals; and Pomegranate (0.34 oz. juice per day). Studies have even shown that improvement came with these more exotic items: Essential Oils (lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint mixed with a carrier oil and diluted to 1.5%), Bee Venom Therapy, and Chinese herb Thunder God Vine.
All these studies show that we may well be able to help ourselves very much, indeed!