What is osteoarthritis? What is osteoporosis?
Picture of a doctor showing an X-ray to a woman.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic joint pain, and affects over 23 million Americans.
- The definition of osteoarthritis is degeneration of joint cartilage tissue and the underlying bone.
- The definition of osteoporosis is a medical condition that results in bones becoming brittle and/or fragile.
Are osteoarthritis and osteoporosis forms of arthritis?
Arthritis is defined as painful inflammation and joint stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that involves both the underlying tissue and the underlying bone of a joint.
- Osteoporosis is mainly a loss of bone tissue that is not limited to the joint areas.
The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is possible for one person to have both conditions.
Which one is more painful and worse, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?
Both conditions may be mild, moderate or severe, but because of the high risk of bone fractures with osteoporosis, some doctors may consider osteoporosis, especially if it is severe, to be the “worse” disease because of a high risk for other fractures. However, “worse” may be seen differently by others, because osteoarthritis pain with joint destruction may be “worse” and more painful for a person over time.
10 Differences in Symptoms and Signs of Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis or OA, may not cause any symptoms or signs in a joint
involved; however, when symptoms do occur, they can cause:
Rheumatoid arthritis or RA, usually involves many joints and causes:
What are the differences in the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis vs. osteoporosis?
The signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
Osteoporosis is termed the “silent disease” because it can progress for years before it is diagnosed. After osteoporosis progresses, compression fractures and other fractures can lead to symptoms. Often a person with osteoporosis do not have symptoms until:
What are the differences in the causes of osteoarthritis vs. osteoporosis?
The main differences in the causes of these diseases are:
What is another medical term for osteoporosis?
What are the risk factors for osteoarthritis vs. osteoporosis? Are they inherited?
Osteoarthritis risk factors
Osteoarthritis risk factors include:
Osteoporosis risk factors
Most of the risk factors for osteoporosis are the same as for osteoarthritis like older age, being female, and genetics (family history), but others include:
What procedures and tests diagnose osteoarthritis vs. osteoporosis?
Diagnosis of osteoarthritis
Diagnosis of osteoarthritis includes:
- Physical exam
- Imaging tests
There are no blood tests used to diagnose osteoarthritis.
Diagnosis of osteoporosis
Diagnosis of osteoporosis includes:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Bone mineral density (BMD) test
- Possibly, bone biopsy
- Conventional X-ray
What natural home remedies relieve pain from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?
Home remedies may help with symptom relief in either condition, but they are not effective at treating the underlying cause.
Natural home remedies for osteoarthritis
Natural home remedies that have been proposed or reported as having some benefit for pain relief of osteoarthritis include:
- Hot and cold compresses
- Epsom salt baths
- OTC (over-the-counter) medications
- Green tea
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- If obese, weight loss
Natural home remedies for osteoporosis
Home remedies for osteoporosis pain include:
- Diet intake of foods high in calcium and vitamin D
- Diet intake of plant estrogens
- Hot and cold compresses
- Braces and supports
- Massage therapy
Always check with your doctor before using home remedies. Scientific evidence for the use of specific supplements or herbal remedies may be minimal.
What is the medical and surgical treatment for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?
Basic osteoarthritis treatment and surgery
Basic treatments for osteoarthritis include NSAIDs nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, ibuprofen (Motrin and other brands).
Some people with osteoarthritis may need narcotic treatment to relieve pain. Other people with osteoarthritis may need injections, for example;
- corticosteroid injections,
- arthroscopy, and/or
- surgical joint replacement.
Osteoporosis treatment and surgery
Osteoporosis treatment that helps relieve pain, treat, and prevent the disease are a drug class called bisphosphonates, for example:
- Fosamax-Plus D (alendronate)
- Boniva (ibandronate)
- Actonel with calcium (risedronate)
- Reclast (zoledronic Acid)
Osteoporosis also may be surgically treated with joint replacement surgery.
What is the prognosis for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis? Can they be cured?
- There is no cure for osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
- The prognosis for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis is usually good to fair, but can range from good to poor, depending on the person’s response to treatments and the severity of the disease.
- Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that can be slowed, but in some patients with osteoporosis, the disease can be stopped with treatments.
Can you prevent osteoarthritis or osteoporosis?
- Osteoporosis may be slowed and/or prevented if diagnosed and treated with medicine (bisphosphonates) early in the disease.
- Osteoarthritis, although a degenerative disease, may be prevented in some people by not stressing their joints and exercising appropriately.
Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones With Pictures
Bethel, M, et al. Osteoporosis Workup. Medscape. Updated: Sep 26, 2019.
Arthritis risk factors. CDC. Updated: Mar 07, 2019.