Everyone has likely heard of arthritis but what is it exactly? Simply put, arthritis is when any pain or inflammation (swelling) is noted in the joint spaces throughout your body. Arthritis is a common disease in the United States with more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children with a form of the disease. People of all ages, sexes and races can have arthritis although it is most common among women and occurs generally more commonly as people age. The most common joints affected by arthritis are: knees, spine, fingers, hips, toes and shoulder. According to www.arthritis.org, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America which is why it is important to use as many preventative measures to combat the gradual worsening of arthritis symptoms.
Prevalence of Osteoarthritis, by age and sex, 2014-2015
There are many different forms of arthritis but the primary type chiropractic deals with is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, which is the most common type of arthritis. OA is a common “wear and tear” that occurs when the cartilage that serves as a cushion in the joints deteriorates, which means that over time the joint start to break down. With the joint space being affected, over time there will be an increase in pain, stiffness and damaged cartilage as well as decreased range of motion and flexibility. The majority of the time the underlying cause of OA is chronic repetitive motion that results in inflammation and structural joint damage. So with what we know about arthritis, what types of natural treatments and chiropractic care do to help prevent or decrease the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis (DJD)?
When it comes to chiropractic care, chiropractors are unable to reverse the damage of arthritis that has already occurred therefore we focus on things we can control such as pain management, increased range of motion of the affected joints, decreasing inflammation and overall increase in mobility and daily functionality so that you can live a more pain-free and more mobile life. Through chiropractic manipulation chiropractors are able to decrease the progression of degenerative changes of the spine, halting the continuation of arthritis symptoms. Routine chiropractic adjustments provide arthritis patients with a safe, non-invasive treatment option alternative to opioids, OTCs and any other pain medications that are commonly prescribed for degenerative joint disease. Through the chiropractic adjustment, joint restrictions and misalignments in the spine are corrected which help reduce inflammation and improve the functionality of the joint and the nervous system overall.
Next week’s blog will focus on some natural remedies to help with arthritis such as dietary supplements and vitamins that we have in the office that promote and help maintain healthy joints and cartilages. Thanks for reading!