What is the difference between osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis?

Nobody wants to get old – it’s a fact that we all try to ignore. But if there’s one thing that you can’t avoid as you age, it’s the possibility of joint pain. Two common types of joint condition are osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis. These may sound like fancy medical terms, but they’re actually not as scary as they sound – and believe it or not, there is a funny side to these conditions too.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis?! Sounds like the name of some demonic creature from Lord of the Rings! But don’t worry, this isn’t Sauron’s newest henchman – just another word for aging related joint problems.
In simpler terms, Osteoarthritis (OA) refers to damage in any part of your joints leading to inflammation that causes stiffness and eventually pain over time. This type of Arthritis often targets weight-bearing areas such as hips or knees making movements very painful especially during daily activities like standing up from a seated position.

Table: Let’s take an example on what could be mistaken with OA
|Similarities | Difference|
|– |– |
|Common among people aged 50 plus | Not necessarily Aged group Specific|
|Mild Pain & Stiffness|Chronic Pain increasing gradually |
|Might affect multiple Joints at Once |Generally Targets One Singular Joint|

If this sounds bad enough already? Wait till you hear about Degenerative Arthritis!

Presenting Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative arthritis?! This title sure brings out my inner Drama queen who either increases her volume during public presentation or begins with “Once Upon A Time” when narrating bedtime stories…. Don’t judge
Also known by its refined name spondylosis/Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), translates into vertebral disc weakening, narrowing of spinal spaces and bony overgrowth due to aging, leading to pressure build up. It can affect almost all parts of your body- Hip, Elbow, Back neck; however commonly attacking the Spine region.

Not only does degenerative Arthritis bring its own sets of problems like Osteophyte Formation (fancy word for bone spurs) but in some cases it comes with an added twist known as Central Stenosis that pinches important nerves around the spinal cord; This could be extremely painful and result in chronic numbness everywhere below the point of constriction…Needless to say anyone suffering from this condition might start feeling like they’ve entered into “The twilight zone”.

I know sounds daunting right? Let’s take away two points on OA & Degenerative arthritis

Table: Points worth mentioning

Osteoarthritis Chronic Pain exclusive 1 joint& limited mobility
Degenerative Arthritis pain combined with neurological symptoms below affected area

Now that we’ve cleared up what osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis are, let’s explore how these conditions differ from each other.


Ageing is one major trigger for both types. With keeping age factor at side, osteoporosis has been termed basically self cause without any specific underlying origin except ‘Getting Old’. Meanwhile for DDD certain routine or physical activities can impact progress levels ;like Sternum being hit while gym or forgetting Posture when carrying Heavy objects frequently,all lead directly damaging Discs

Symptoms (Similarities)

Though both are different health complications there few common symptoms among them :

  • Discomfort During Motion
  • Swelling
  • Limitation Factors: E.g :Knee not able moving freely
  • Highly Heat sensitive

It’s okay if you feel inclined towards one term more than another after these readings -whether it causes more or less discomfort. What’s important is acknowledging the issue and taking necessary steps to prevent its negative impact on quality of life when such symptoms arise.


The tendency with both OA & DDD would be progressed irritation over time; however they differ in diagnosing methods, since degenerative arthritis requires medical professionals having a solid understanding regarding disc physiology while Osteoarthritis could be identified simply via routine checkups (Annual Physical examination)

Note:It’s possible to have neither Degenerative Arthritis nor Osteoarthritis but have different Joint problems completely

Here are few other key points we found worth mentioning :-

Table: Differences between DDD & OA
| | Degenerative Arthritis | Osteoarthritis|
|– |– |– |
|Causes | Degeneration of intervertebral discs | Self-Caused due due ageing |
|Target Areas: |Spine region Elbows Hip Joints |Multiple Weight Bearing Joints |
|Diagnosis Methods: |X Ray CT scans/ MRI |Routine Check-up w/ physician |

In conclusion, there’s really no need to fret about osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis too much . Both conditions may sound intimidating at first, but with proper attention and care it is fully manageable .Hopefully this article provided you not just informational context surrounding these illnesses alternatively a memorable ones whereby one can tell their family& friends about after reading
So take pleasure in your day moving around WITHOUT any joint Discomfort folks!

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