Top 9 Rheumatoid Arthritis Myths

Top 9 Rheumatoid Arthritis Myths

RA has never been a minor disease. The symptoms and problems it brings are heard to deal with – I’m speaking from experience.

But what if the things you know about RA are wrong? There are so many misconceptions all over the Internet – that’s it’s hard to find out some real info. 

So today I want to show you the top 9 rheumatoid arthritis myths.

I’ve encountered them a lot during the past years – and probably, so have you.

So it’s time to find out what part of them is true and what’s fake.


Myth #1 – Glucosamine Helps RA

In my opinion, that’s the biggest myth of RA. And unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of it.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the best ingredients for osteoarthritis. But for RA – they bring little benefits. 

Here’s why:

  1. They rebuild damaged cartilages
  2. They protect them from further damage

Now – in OA, that’s something essential. It’s the cartilages that are affected – and that’s what is causing the disease.

However, RA is produced my chronic inflammation. It’s only the joints that are affected – the cartilages are healthy normally.

Now – RA can also affect cartilages, but it happens very rarely:

  • usually after many years with RA
  • if you left your condition untreated

Otherwise, RA is not going to touch your cartilages.

So the only benefit you get from glucosamine is protection (which isn’t very important, since you have low chances to develop cartilage problems).

For this reason – if you have RA, don’t take glucosamine supplements, no matter how well they are advertised. They’re not going to help much, believe me.

Instead, choose a natural anti-inflammatory like turmeric or Boswellia. Here’s a list of the best supplements you should use for RA.



Myth #2 – The Right Diet Cures RA

To be honest, healthy foods can help arthritis a lot – just like bad foods can worsen it. 

However, eating healthy stuff will never cure your RA – even if you give up any single processed food.

The thing is:

So if someone told you that you can cure your RA by food alone – it’s not true. 

As I said, following a healthy diet can help arthritis – but it will never make miracles.

Giving up on drugs and supplements just to follow this “natural way” isn’t going to help you.

So I do recommend eating healthy stuff – but you must associate it with:

  1. the drugs your doctor prescribed
  2. anti-inflammatory supplements (natural stuff only)
  3. exercising – as much as you can

But even so – your rheumatoid arthritis won’t be miraculously cured. It’s a condition that can’t be cured completely – you can only keep it under control.



Myth #3 – Pain Relieving Creams Really Help

That’s another fake claim – and most people aren’t aware of it.

So here’s the thing about creams, lotions and ointments:

  • they work by numbing the painful area
  • in this way, every sensation goes away – including the pain
  • but they don’t treat the cause at all

Basically – creams and topical products only hide the pain from arthritis. And just for a little while (usually less than 3 hours).

That’s why they don’t help RA in any form – on the contrary:

  • If the cause is not treated properly, RA tends to worsen

And creams are useless when it comes to treating the cause behind.

So that’s the reason why I don’t recommend using creams for RA – or for any kind of arthritis. 

Supplements and classic drugs do a much better job at this chapter – so don’t wast your money on creams, because they won’t solve anything.



Myth #4 – Dairy Products Worsen RA

I’ve heard so many people claiming that milk, cheese and yoghurts can actually increase inflammation.

However – based on my experience, I cannot agree:

  • my swelling never increased
  • I didn’t have more frequent flare-ups

But where did all this rumors come from? 

According to a new article, some milk bacteria can cause RA in people that are already susceptible. 

However, there was no study and no other scientific reference – so it’s just a belief at this point.

Considering that I’m a big fan of dairy and I consume them frequently – I couldn’t possible agree with it.

So if you read something similar about milk or dairy – I suggest you to forget about it:

  1. they don’t cause inflammation
  2. they don’t worsen arthritis flare-ups
  3. and most importantly, they can’t cause RA on their own



Myth #5 – Treatments Should Work Instantly

From this point of view, arthritis is different than other conditions. What do I mean?

Any kind of treatment you follow – it needs at least 2-3 weeks to start working, whether it is:

  • prescribed medication
  • natural supplements

Now – I’m not talking about short term treatment. NSAIDs are made to work instantly, but they only relieve the pain. So they’re not meant to work on the long term.

On the other hand, I recommend you turmeric supplements:

  1. turmeric is the strongest herb for inflammation
  2. it’s 100% natural
  3. has very few side effects – compared to NSAIDs

The right turmeric supplement can start working within days – so that’s why they’re my top recommendation for RA.

Besides – they keep inflammation under control for the long term. So they’re they perfect treatment in this case.

However, most products don’t work too fast. If you want some quality recommendations, you should check out this list.



Myth #6 – Eating Gelatin Helps RA

Here’s why lots of people have this misconception:

  1. Cartilages contain lots of collagen
  2. Collagen is made of several compounds, including gelatin
  3. Collagen and gelatin should normally help cartilages

So on paper – it makes sense. However, I never experienced any benefits from eating gelatin. 

Collagen supplements do help – but you don’t want to be taking pills forever. Eating gelatin is a much easier option. But it doesn’t seem to be so effective.

In fact, based on my experiences – here’s what gelatin can do for RA:

  • prevent against a secondary OA
  • protect the cartilages
  • it can’t help the joints directly

So if consume a lot of gelatin, maybe you should think again. It’s not bad, but it’s not helpful either.

The only thing it does is further prevention – but it does nothing real for your joints.



Myth #7 – Essential Oils Are A Real Cure

I’ve heard this thing in so many people – that I see it as one of the biggest myths of RA.

The thing is:

  • essential oils do the same thing as creams
  • they only hide the pain for a little while
  • they do nothing for the cause behind

So you may feel that massaging your painful spot with an essential oil takes away all the pain – and that’s something true.

But just like creams do – these oils only mask the pain. So it comes back just as strong within hours. 

You’re basically not doing anything. On the contrary, your RA can worsen overtime – since you’re not treating the cause. 

However, essential oils can be helpful if you combine them with drugs or supplements:

  1. The pills control your RA
  2. The oils help your pain

Now – which are the best oils for arthritis? These are the top ones I tried:

  • CBD oil
  • Almond oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Castor oil (but it’s not as good as the first 3)
  • There’s also lavender, menthol or citrus oil that I personally like

But either way – none of these oils can treat RA on their own. If you don’t use them together with drugs – your condition will probably worsen.



Myth #8 – Processed Foods Caused It

Everyone knows that sugars and processed foods are extremely harmful – they can cause cancer, diabetes and many other health problems.

But rheumatoid arthritis isn’t one of them.

So here’s the thing:

  1. Processed foods cannot cause arthritis alone
  2. They can only worsen an existing condition

So if you developed RA or any form of arthritis – don’t worry, it’s not because you had a bad diet. 

Instead, you might have had:

  • a family history
  • a genetic predisposition
  • or any other causing factor

Your bad diet may have increased the risk – but it surely did not cause your RA. Not even if you were overweight or followed a very unhealthy diet.

So next time someone starts blaming your eating habits for your arthritis, just ignore him. It’s definitely a misconception.



Myth #9 – Rheumatoid And Osteoarthritis Are Similar

Even though they belong to the same family, arthritis – RA and OA are totally different. 

And the biggest difference is their cause.

Now – here’s what you should know about RA:

  • it’s an autoimmune form
  • it’s caused by chronic inflammation inside joints

On the other hand – things are different about OA:

  • it appears mostly because of aging
  • it’s caused by cartilage damage and tear
  • there’s only minor inflammation

There’s only one thing they have in common – none of them can be cured completely. 

So obviously – the treatment for each will be totally different:

  1. RA responds best to anti-inflammatory
  2. OA improves with cartilage re-builders

Therefore – NSAIDS and turmeric work great for RA, but they won’t make miracles for OA. Just like that, glucosamine supplements will help OA but they won’t do much for RA.

So I really advise you to keep this thing in mind. Lots of brands try to sell arthritis supplements without being interested in what form of arthritis you have.

And if you want to get the best results, keep this difference in mind.



So What’s Your RA Myth?

Is there any misconception you have about RA and you’d like it solved? I would be really glad to help:

Just leave a comment below and let me know what is it about.

Meanwhile – I hope I manage to show you the truth about these 9 common myths on RA.

This condition may be serious – but there are so many misconceptions about it. Once you find out what’s true and what’s fake, RA might not even seem that scary anymore. 

So I’m waiting for your RA myths to sort them out together!

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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