Osteoarthritis – Degenerative joint disease usually affects the distal joints, or the joints at the end of your fingers and toes, not the middle ones. Additionally, it’s not symmetrical, so typically you may have it on just one joint, or on one hand or foot and not the other.
Rheumatoid arthritis – RA, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to break itself down. Therefore, it tends to be bilateral and symmetrical, meaning it’s the same on both sides of your body. If you only have a specific joint affected on one side of your body it is far less likely to be RA.It also affects your middle joints, and is associated with joint deformities, especially your hands and fingers. It can be very crippling, and people do die from rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s not something to be treated lightly.
Treatments that Work for Both Types of Arthritis
Some of the treatment methods available are similar for both, as both involve joint pain, swelling and inflammation. Hence the typical anti-inflammatory approaches such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and analgesics, like Tylenol, can be used for either. However, while these can relieve pain – and there’s a lot to be said for pain relief – it’s very important to understand that the regular, chronic use of these types of medications are associated with significant, and very serious, side effects such as kidney and/or liver damage. In the U.S. overuse of analgesics such as these are very common sources of kidney failure. NSAIDs also kill some 30,000 people every year due to bleeding ulcers, and the oral drugs have been linked to a host of problems, including heart failure -- Vioxx and Celebrex being prime examples of these very real dangers. This is not to say that they are not useful agents in some cases, however you need to use them very cautiously. This is also why it’s so vital that you seek out the underlying cause of your problem and treat it “at the root,” so you do not need to pursue these types of medications. With respect to treatments, there are some commonalities even when using natural approaches.
Malnutrition is the basis of all disease: "Man's body is a living organism, made of living cells, which require living food in order to be properly nourished and function well. When we put cooked food into our body, loaded with contaminants, the body starts to break down. It begins in the very young with colic, rashes, colds, earaches, upset stomachs, swollen glands and tonsils. As the child grows older, their may be tooth decay, pimples, the need for eye glasses, etc. Then as we enter adult life there is arthritis, hypoglycemia, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancers. All this and a multitude of other diseases are unnecessary and are nothing but the result of improper diet and lifestyle! Today, most people accept cooked food as the normal means of supplying the body with nutrients, not realizing that the living cells of our bodies do not take nourishment from the dead and artificial ingredients found in cooked food. And so, after a typical meal of cooked meat, cooked potatoes, a cooked vegetable and a piece of cooked bread, followed by a cooked sugar desert, their stomach is full and they think they have satisfied the nutritional needs of their body. In reality, they have given their body practically no nourishment. And thus with a full stomach, they are slowly starving their body's cells."
Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment. Controlled medical tudies indicate that acupuncture is an appropriate therapy to adopt in holistic treatment of Arthritis. Acupuncture has been used to treat both OA and RA. In a randomised study for OA, the acupuncture group had a significant reduction in pain, pain medication and clinical parameters, compared to the no-treatment group; there was an 80% subjective improvement, with significantly improved range of knee movement. In a clinical study using acupuncture to treat RA, good clinical results were observed in 100% of cases. In addition, laboratory immune parameters including natural killer (NK) activity and interleukin-2 (IL-2) values, increased following acupuncture treatment.
There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritis. For instance, a recent study in Russia found that 73% of patients suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis benefitted from acupuncture treatment. When acupuncture was combined with UV light treatment the response rate increased to 93%. In another study, 54 Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (chinese herb) The effective rate was found to be 100%. A study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear - by a double blind method was conducted in Russia with 16 arthrits patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples.