Understanding the Differences Among the Various Types of Arthritis

Arthritis refers to a broad range of conditions that lead to joint inflammation. It currently affects millions of people in the United States alone. Arthritis can be debilitating, significantly impacting a person’s quality of life. Arthritis isn’t a one-size-fits-all diagnosis; it manifests differently, depending on the type.

If you suffer from arthritis but don’t know which type of treatment you need, Illinois Back Institute can help. We have several ways to diagnose your condition, including non-invasive treatments we may recommend. Schedule a consultation with us to get started.

Types of Arthritis

#1 – Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This is the type often associated with the natural aging process. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, the smooth tissue that cushions the ends of bones in a joint. Over time, this wear and tear causes bones to rub against each other, leading to pain, swelling, and reduced motion in the joint.


  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling around the joint
  • Decreased range of motion
  • A grating sensation during movement

#2 – Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its joint tissues. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA typically affects joints symmetrically, which means it affects both hands or both knees.


  • Painful, swollen, and stiff joints
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

#3 – Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriatic Arthritis commonly occurs in people with psoriasis, a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. PsA can affect any body part and its severity can range from mild to severe.


  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Swelling of fingers and toes
  • Foot pain
  • Lower back pain

Arthritis Treatments

Traditional Treatments

Traditional approaches to managing arthritis include medications, physical therapies, and lifestyle changes.

  • Medications: Medications can include NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroids, and DMARDs (Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) to control inflammation and pain.
  • Physical Therapy: Strengthening the muscles around affected joints can improve mobility and reduce pain.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Weight management, diet changes, and exercise routines can help treat a patient’s condition.

Illinois Back Institute’s Unique Approach

Illinois Back Institute offers a groundbreaking treatment approach that avoids surgery, drugs, injections, and needles. Instead, we focus on:

  • Compression and Traction Cycles: This method helps replenish missing fluids in the spine, naturally rehydrating the discs.
  • Pain Source Treatment: By addressing the root cause of pain, this approach ensures healthier, hydrated discs, which are flexible and less prone to herniation.
  • Strengthening the Lower Back: Our treatment facilitates the natural strengthening of the lower back, promoting long-term health and stability.

Differences Between Each Type of Arthritis

Understanding the symptoms specific to each type of arthritis is vital for effective management and treatment.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

  • Predominantly affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
  • Symptoms worsen with activity and improve with rest.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

  • Generally impacts smaller joints first, such as fingers and toes.
  • Stiffness is worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity.
  • This is a disease rather than a degenerative condition.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

  • Often affects joints asymmetrically.
  • Includes skin symptoms like psoriasis.

Common Symptoms

Despite their differences, all types of arthritis share some common symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Reduced range of motion

Living with Arthritis

Managing arthritis requires an informed approach, combining medical treatment with practical lifestyle adjustments. Treatment alone isn’t enough; you have to support treatment at home.


  • Anti-inflammatory foods: Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. Some examples include seafood, nuts, seeds, and plant oils.
  • Limit processed foods: Reduce your intake of sugars, trans fats, and refined carbs.


  • Low-impact exercise: Activities like swimming, walking, and cycling help maintain joint health without excessive strain. Rely less on exercises such as lifting weights and squats that place a lot of weight on your joints.
  • Strength training: Enhancing muscle strength around affected joints can improve stability and reduce pain. If possible, do exercises in the water where there’s more pressure on your muscles than your joints.

Psychological Well-being

  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practices such as yoga and meditation can alleviate stress, which may exacerbate arthritis symptoms.
  • Support systems: Engage with support groups or counseling services to cope with the emotional impact of arthritis.

Contact Illinois Back Institute for More Information on Arthritis Treatment

At Illinois Back Institute, we are dedicated to providing innovative, non-invasive solutions tailored to your specific needs.

If you or someone you know is struggling with arthritis, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our experts are here to guide you through your journey toward a pain-free life. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step toward reclaiming your mobility and well-being.