The two forms of arthritis are totally different.
Osteoarthritis is simple wear and tear, from use, age or accidents. We all have or will get this to some degree, but it can cause severe pain for some people, but which is treatable. See also joint pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease process that produces inflammation causing joint pain and erodes the joints. Definitive diagnosis is through blood tests, but in reality it is not uncommon to see people who are RF (Rheumatoid Factor) negative, but who have all the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis.
Conventional treatment is mostly with anti-inflammatory or steroid drugs, which can have side effects when used long term.
This is a complex, difficult and destructive disease, with different causes, each of which must be clearly identified for treatment to be helpful. Whatever the direct cause, it is always wise to work with your immune system as this is an autoimmune disorder, and there are a number of tried and tested ways of doing that. Chinese Medicine successfully uses herbal formula for the immune system, diet can be an important factor and visualisation and meditation have been shown to have a beneficial effect. Acupuncture is helpful for joint pain.
My colleague Dr Damien Downing also specialises in genomics and environmental medicine, which can trace problems at genetic a level or those due to toxic exposure.
Earlier, people were unaware of the fact that the intensity of pain can be measured through some technical gadgets. However, the researchers have been using the latest technology for measuring the pain, and treating the patients accordingly.