Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis: How the Treatments Differ

If you’re one of the millions of Americans living with arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are different medical conditions, they both involve joint pain and inflammation that may adversely affect your quality of life. Learn more about the treatment options available at the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management in Centerville, Ohio, and how Dr. Mervet Saleh and our team can help you.

Osteoarthritis treatment

This is the most common form of arthritis, affecting about 27 million Americans. You may have painful, swollen joints in your knees, lower back, hips, neck, or fingers. This condition may get worse over time, making it hard to run errands, complete minor household chores, or spend quality time with family or friends.

If you have osteoarthritis, our goals are to lower the inflammation in your joints, ease your pain, and help you become more mobile. Your treatment plan may include the use of medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.


Over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen or prescription narcotics will help ease pain, while nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen lessen inflammation. Sometimes, corticosteroids are necessary to help reduce inflammation. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health history, you may take pills, use creams or gels, or get injections directly into your affected joints. 

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is also an important part of your treatment plan. We partner with physical therapists who work to improve your range of motion and flexibility and teach you how to move properly. They may also use hot or cold therapy and therapeutic massage. 

Lifestyle changes

It’s essential to eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts extra stress on your joints, so focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, as well as getting daily exercise, to lose weight. Even walking and mild stretching counts. It’s also important to get enough sleep each night, and to rest when you feel a flare-up. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults between 18 and 64.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

More than 1.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is an autoimmune condition, meaning your body attacks your joints, causing pain and inflammation. If you have it, our treatment goals include relieving your symptoms, lowering inflammation, and preventing further joint or organ damage.

Treating RA is similar to treating osteoarthritis, except for the medication. In addition to pain relievers, NSAIDs, or corticosteroids, we may prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, called DMARDs, that slow down the disease process throughout your body. We may also prescribe a subset of DMARDs, called biologics, to target specific steps in the inflammatory process.

To learn more about these medications, and to receive a personalized pain management plan for RA or osteoarthritis, make an appointment with Dr. Saleh at the Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management in Centerville, Ohio, today. Don’t let arthritis pain rob you of the life you want to live. Call us or book online now.

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