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Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis - What is the difference?
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sbncmo posted:
I know I need to do some research, but I was hoping someone could give me an easy to understand explanation of the differences between the two types. I haven't had much success with doctors in this area.

My PCP 20 years ago had quickly dx me with FMS after attending special training, then other specialists added CMP & CFS/CFIDS. I had also had a bad fall 25 years ago that damaged my spine, which continues to deteriorate. Anyway, after the triple dx, my pcp wanted to have my spine checked again & had an orthopedic specialist check it. He took x-rays & said I had the early stages of arthritis, but didn't say what kind. He retired a few months later & my pcp moved a few months after that, so I now have a different doctor.

I love my doctor. She's very personable, gets down on a patients level, willingly uses natural products over drugs & has no problem referring her patients to specialists when she needs help. She has saved my husband's life & mine a number of times when the ER was incompetant. However, she has never addressed the arthritis & she dumps all my pain, except the back injury, into one pot - FMS.

As I also have epilepsy & see a neurologist, I asked him to set up an appointment with a rheumatologist & I saw him in July. He asked me a few questions, said nothing about the arthritis, poked & squeezed on me a little bit & looked at some x-rays that had been taken of the injured area of my spine 4 1/2 years ago & said I'd be in a wheelchair in the very near future. It was a wasted 4 hour drive.

Over the last few months, I've been having more trouble with anything requiring me to hold it - a broom, utensils, pens, etc. I've always had burning throughout my body & the joints being very painful. In the past couple of weeks, my fingers begans twisting at an alarming rate. I felt like I needed to pop them, but when I tried it once, it made it worse. All of my joints, my fingers & toes, burn & feel bruised to the touch but there is no bruise. Whatever this is, it is affecting my entire system. It is nothing like what I have felt with my FMS. FMS does not make fingers twist & deform.

I'd appreciate any input.

Shelia
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_swank_ responded:
The short answer is that Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that can effect all your joints and other parts of your body. It basically means that your own body is attacking your joints. It usually requires a blood test to confirm the disease. Osteoarthritis is mostly due to wear and tear. It can happen due to an old injury or just happen as we age. It may effect one joint or many depending on why it's there in the first place. I had OA in my knee early from an injury as a teenager. I have OA in shoulders and other places from wear and tear.

The treatment for RA is different as you need certain medications to keep the disease in check. A rheumatologist is the correct specialist to sort this all out. They will do a blood test. If yours was worthless then I'd suggest seeing another one if that's what you think you have.
 
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sbncmo replied to _swank_'s response:
Thanks swank. I did some research on both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While a few of the symtoms of osteo matched me, multiple symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis matched me, but a lot of the symptoms are similar to FMS. As you stated, the blood test is needed to determine if that is what I am dealing with. It just seems the most logical at this point with my finger twisting the way they are. But I will ask my doctor to run the test & find a better rheumatologist for me. Thanks for responding.
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to sbncmo's response:
Let us know what the (new) rheumatologist has to say. And I'm glad you already found our Rheumatoid Arthritis community too.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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sbncmo replied to Caprice_WebMD_Staff's response:
Hi Caprice & thanks for welcoming me to yet another community.

I'm still in a lot of pain, but my pain started lessening some yesterday morning, so I have to wait until it is severe again to have the blood tests run. I've been thru that before - go to the doctor after the pain is letting up & the tests come back negative. I'm not going to go thru that again. When my doctor's nurse called yesterday with the results of tests for me & my husband, I told her about what the last 3 weeks have been like & she said absolutely, to come in when the pain is severe & the joints are inflamed as that is the best time to get a positive reading.

I'll keep everyone posted on how things go.

Shelia


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