Arthritis Pain Management

Effective Pain Management For Arthritis Sufferers

Could Your Pain Be Caused By Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis?

There are a variety of different types of arthritis. Two of the common types treated in our New Jersey-based pain management clinic are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While the pain that results from these conditions can be similar, they may have different accompanying symptoms that can help our back and neck pain treatment team make an accurate diagnosis.

  • Osteoarthritis usually involves an increasing amount of stiffness and pain in the joints over time. This is typically devoid of symptoms such as fever, chills, or swelling.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis has a similar feeling of stiffness and pain, but it may also be accompanied by a fever. The symptoms are typically more severe when you wake up in the morning.

Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Because both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis involve an increasing amount of stiffness and pain in the joints over time, these conditions are often confused with one another. However, they’re completely different conditions, with separate causes, individual symptoms and differing treatment plans.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. The joint symptoms are created by immune cells attacking a patient’s own body, particularly the healthy tissue of the joint known as the synovial membrane. Doctors are unsure what triggers this autoimmune condition, so it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific cause. Some of the symptoms experienced by rheumatoid arthritis patients include:

  • Rapid onset
  • Inflammation
  • Pain, swelling and stiffness in multiple joints
  • Joint symptoms that symmetrically affect both sides of the body
  • Stiffness in the morning that lasts longer than half an hour
  • Fatigue or malaise
  • Fever and chills

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is arthritis that usually develops later in life due to wear and tear on specific bodily joints. Jobs or sports that feature repetitive movements sometimes lead to the development of this condition. Continual pressure on joints gradually wears down the cartilage until arthritic symptoms develop over time, such as:

  • Stiffness and pain usually impacting one specific joint or region of the body
  • Joints generally worse on one side of the body than the other based on levels of wear and tear
  • Issues affecting the hands, fingers and knees
  • Stiffness in the morning lasting less than half an hour
  • Additional hip and spine pain

Differences in Diagnosis and Treatment

Arthritic deterioration can be detected using X-rays and MRIs. However, it’s difficult to differentiate between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because they have such closely related physical symptoms. To confirm that the diagnosis is the autoimmune condition rheumatoid arthritis, doctors look at the following to officially tell the difference:

  • Family medical history to see if it is inherited
  • Blood tests in order to check for the antibodies that trigger rheumatoid arthritis
  • Imaging tests for signs of inflammation

Unfortunately, both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are chronic conditions with no known cures. Treatments for both are similar, with the aim of managing pain and reducing further destruction in the joints. However, rheumatoid arthritis patients require additional medication to prevent the immune system from continuing to attack healthy joint tissue.

Whether you have arthritis in the spine, hands, neck, or knees, and no matter what’s causing the pain, we can help.

Let Our Pain Management Doctors Help You

Learn more about this condition and how we can help by watching the videos below. Then make an appointment with our team for a free consultation. We offer effective, minimally invasive techniques that can provide pain relief and help you overcome your arthritis symptoms, no matter the cause. Give us a call or click on the button below to make an appointment for a free consultation with our board-certified spinal specialists today. We’ll find a treatment plan that provides relief from painful arthritis symptoms.


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