Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Dr Mukesh Sharda In Joint Pain

Do you know arthritis could be of more than 100+ types? 

Shocked already?

Then, let us proceed further, all of these types are extremely painful and discomforting. Once get involved in any of these types, shall result in a vicious curl where multiple health concerns might get involved. Today, in this blog, we will discuss the 2 most common types of arthritis, namely; Osteoarthritis (OA), and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA);

Osteoarthritis: Our bones are surrounded by cartilage, which works as a protective cushion and keeps the bones lubricated and safe from friction. Due to the natural aging process, and wear & tear of our bones, when this lubrication layer tends to reduce, the bones become prone to painful friction, joint pain, inflammation, and easy breakdown. 

Such a condition mainly occurs due to degenerative changes in the body and medical terms known as Osteoarthritis. Choosing the path of Ayurvedic treatment can be ideal as it is a natural way of regaining the lost strength of the bones. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an auto-immune disorder that mainly affects the small joints such as the fingers of the body. Here the immune cells of the body start to harm healthy cells assuming them foreign substances. 
Although sharing the same characteristics with OA like joint inflammation, redness, pain, and stiffness, RA does not necessarily occur due to aging. 

Learn about 4 Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis and How it affects your Body

If not treated timely, it can also lead to bone erosion or permanent deformity of the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment in Ayurveda is a novel approach through which you can prevent this condition. 

How to diagnose?


X-rays To assess bone damage, spurs, density, and loss of joint space.
MRI It stands for magnetic resonance imaging, quite helpful to measure the damage of the soft tissues, muscles, and bones.
Ultrasounds With the technological advent, the evaluation of cartilage, synovial tissues, and bony cortex, as well as the overall progression of OA can be done. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

RF Rheumatoid factor is a type of blood test through which RA can be detected following RF levels. 
Anti-CCP Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide test indicates that people with anti-CCP antibodies are likely to develop RA. However, not every RA patient has this antibody necessarily. 
CBC A complete blood test can also help to diagnose RA. Through this test, various levels of cells, and chemicals in the blood are evaluated


Apart from the mentioned ones, there could be multiple other blood tests such as Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein via which RA can be detected. 

If you are bothered by the complications of arthritis, but unable to know what type of arthritis are you exactly experiencing, then you can go through this video: Types of RA- An expert guidance. 

Difference between Osteoarthritis v/s Rheumatoid arthritis

Basis of Differentiation Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid arthritis
Meaning Osteoarthritis is a degenerative ailment where there is a wearing away of cartilage that caps the bones of the joints.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease, initiating with the lining of the joints and affecting small joints primarily.
Joint-involvement OA may be monoarticular or oligoarticular. The first term states involvement of 1 joint whereas latent denotes involvement of more than 1 but less than 5 joints.   It is polyarthritis, representing that more than 5 joints can be affected by RA at the same time. 
Auto-immune check Osteoarthritis is not an auto-immune disorder.  Yes! 
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease.
Affected areas Mainly large joints such as knees, hips, hands, and spine. RA mainly affects the Small joints such as fingers, toes, and feet.
Age factor Age factors play a major role in OA. It generally occurs after 40-50s.  No age factor is prominent. It can occur in adults, elders, women, men, and sometimes even in kids. 
Morning Stiffness Morning stiffness usually lasts less than 30 minutes. Stiffness may last more than 30 minutes. 
Deformity Rare, and is witnessed in severe cases only. Deformity tends to arise in RA much more quickly as compared to OA.

Ayurveda’s role in the treatment of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ayurveda is age long path that derives its power from Mother Nature. Introduced, and practiced by our ancestors, it has healed innumerable patients all over the world. Acknowledging the blissful essence of Ayurveda, countries all over the globe are moving toward natural treatments. The biggest perk is that it has no side effects and aids everyone indiscriminately. 

In the Ayurvedic realm, the concept of arthritis is recognized as Sandhivata, covering 2 major types - Osteoarthritis, and Rheumatoid arthritis. In this condition, the ama (toxins) start to accumulate inside the body, following tridoshas imbalance in the body, i.e.; Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  

What comes under Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis?

management of osteoarthrits and rheumatoid arthritis

Healing Herbs

The basic pillars of all types of Ayurveda treatments, herbs are used in multiple medicines, remedies, kadhas, and pastes. Apart from external applications, these herbs are also advised to be incorporated into the routine regime via meals, snacking, or herbal beverages. Ginger, Brahmi, Garlic, Turmeric, Basil, Licorice, Ashwagandha, Neem, Amla, Manjistha, Triphala, and Pippali are some joint-friendly herbs that may keep these inflammatory disorders at bay. 

Dietary Adjustments

Healthy food, healthy you. Unhealthy diet, illness to you, as simple as 2+2. 

In Ayurvedic treatment, special care is given to dietary choices. Tamasic, or virudh ahaar mainly comprised of junk, oily, fried, stale, processed, and spicy food. Additionally, consumption of excessive dairy, pulses, wheat, and non-vegetarian food is also restricted as they are high to digest, and when remain indigested in the body, produce toxins (ama). 

You can substitute Wheat with Bajra, Jau, Ragi Flour, Kodra, brown rice, red rice, and black rice. For healthy snacking sprouts of vegetables are a very good option, else you may opt for fresh juices, soups, or salads of veggies, and fruits.

Exercise, Yoga, and Meditation

These practices are often recommended for individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) due to their holistic approach to improving joint health, flexibility, and overall well-being. However, OA patients are advised to stick to mild exercises rather than strenuous ones to avoid joint breakdown or other possible consequences. The adoption of these natural measures, not only results in improved mobility of joints but also weight management, crucial for arthritis patients. 


Osteo, or rheumatoid, no kind of arthritis is gratifying. The best that can be done is to hold the hands of Ayurveda to prevent and cure all of your health concerns. 

Article By:

Dr Mukesh Sharda

Dr. Mukesh Sharda (BAMS, Ph.D.) founder Dr. Sharda Ayurveda is a worldwide renowned Ayurvedic doctor withholding more than 15+years of experience in treating autoimmune disease patients. The root cause treatment and its effectiveness make this clinic stand out from others. Dr. Mukesh Sharda is serving mankind through its various widespread branches in India and globally through telephonic and video consultations.