Psoriatic Arthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis: Understanding the Differences

Fingers with psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two different types of arthritis. These two are both connected to our body’s immune system messing up and attacking our healthy tissues instead, but they have differences that make sense. Let’s find out the differences between psoriatic arthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis and discover ways to manage the pain and inflammation they cause.

Psoriatic arthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis

What is psoriatic arthritis?

Hand psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in fingers; deformed pinky finger

Psoriatic arthritis happens to people who have a skin problem called psoriasis. It affects the joints and spots where muscles connect to the bones. These give people aches, swelling, and stiffness in affected areas, like the soles, heels, and elbows.

Psoriatic arthritis also affects the fingers, making them swollen like sausages. It makes the nails flaky or pitting and might even cause the nail to separate from the nailbed. Additionally, it causes lower back pain as it affects the bones of the back.

It is important to note that psoriatic arthritis flare-ups can be accompanied by a psoriasis flare-up and that this type of arthritis affects any part of the body asymmetrically (not on both sides). 

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

A woman's hand deformed from rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis hits the lining of the joints, causing the same aches, swelling, and stiffness as psoriatic arthritis. If you leave it untreated, it could change the shape of your joints and make them work less well.

This type of arthritis starts in smaller joints like the toes and fingers and can affect other joints as time passes. It is worse in the morning after waking up, with the joints feeling stiffer. It can also affect the neck or the base of the skull, resulting in a throbbing or dull ache in the said area.

Unlike psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the same joints on both sides of the body (symmetric).  It can also cause fatigue, fever, and even weight loss.

See related: Canadian skin care products for pain management

Diagnosis and treatment

A rheumatologist showing a scan of the lower part of the body to an elderly woman

To get an accurate diagnosis of whether you have psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other types of arthritis, consult a doctor specializing in rheumatology. Diagnosis can involve getting your rheumatoid factor levels and CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) antibodies. High levels of these in the body indicated rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment involves controlling the inflammation in the affected areas. Treatment options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot and cold compresses, massage, and pain relievers. However, you might also find some relief from remedies like essential oils.

Seeking comfort in CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut Salve

Soothing Juggernaut New Product Photo

Essential oils from frankincense, arnica, and cypress have shown potential in managing pain and inflammation. CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut salve is a great example of a product that uses these benefit, incorporating frankincense, arnica, and cypress essential oils in one powerful salve. Soothing Juggernaut aims to soothe aches and reduce inflammation, making it potentially helpful in managing symptoms related to psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A quick note: This product contains Sodium borate. The government of Canada does not recommend the use of products containing Sodium borate on open wounds, cuts, or abrasions.

Frankincense essential oil

Frankincense oil has been traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Its primary active component, boswellic acid, has been found to reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation. It, therefore, can help in the reduction of swelling and pain.

Arnica essential oil

Arnica oil is derived from the mountain arnica flowers and contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is believed, and evidence suggests, that Arnica montana helps with pain management, swelling reduction, and inflammation alleviation.

Cypress essential oil

Cypress oil is popular for its antimicrobial properties, but it is also great for reducing inflammation and helping ease pain. These properties might be helpful in giving comfort to the joints affected by arthritis.

As always, while Soothing Juggernaut may offer relief to your discomfort, it is important to consult a healthcare expert when introducing new products into your wellness regimen.

See related: Essential Oils in Natural Skin care

Understanding Arthritis Types and Learning About Essential Oils

Effects of arthritis, pain on the knee

Understanding the differences between psoriatic arthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis is vital for learning how to live with these conditions and seeking effective treatment. While both types of arthritis are similar, each affects different areas of the body, leading to a variety of symptoms and potential complications.

Essential oils, with their unique properties, offer a possible complementary approach to traditional arthritis treatments. Oils like those from frankincense, arnica, and cypress may assist in managing arthritis-related discomfort, and CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut salve features these essential oils. Though natural, maintain caution and consult with a doctor to make sure that they are suitable for your condition.


What is the difference between psoriatic arthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis?

The primary difference lies in their areas of effect in the body. Psoriatic arthritis affects the joints and entheses (areas where muscles or ligaments attach to bones) and occurs asymmetrically. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis specifically impacts the lining of the joints and occurs symmetrically (in both sides of the body in the same joints).

Can essential oils help manage arthritis symptoms?

Essential oils like frankincense, arnica, and cypress may help manage arthritis-related discomfort. They possess properties that can potentially help reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness.

How safe is it to use essential oils for arthritis or psoriasis?

While essential oils may offer relief from discomfort, they should be used with caution. Always ensure proper dilution for skin safety, and consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on their use.

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