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Arthritis Pain Explained


Updated May 22, 2014

2 of 10

Part 2 of 10 - Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Chronic pain is considered a major health problem in the United States. Chronic pain, which affects most people with arthritis, can be disabling, limiting daily activity.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis.

Osteoarthritis has long been associated with wear and tear of joint cartilage. Researchers are beginning to find an association between osteoarthritis and inflammation as well. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis which affects about 1.3 million Americans, mostly women, is the considered the most disabling type of arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other parts of the body besides the joints. Typically, rheumatoid arthritis affects people at a younger age than does osteoarthritis, but anyone can develop any type of arthritis at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune, inflammatory type of arthritis. People commonly have swelling and joint stiffness, as well as pain. They may experience malaise, too.

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