To understand arthritis it is important to understand the definition of the word. “Arth” from the latin word arthro means joint. “Itis” means inflammation. Therefore, Arthritis simply means inflammation of a joint. There are many diseases that are classified under the term arthritis. There are many different types of arthritis. The most common type that affects most people in their life time is osteoarthritis.
The term osteoarthritis carries many different names. Some of these include degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease (DJD), and spondylosis if it is in the spine. Osteoarthritis is basically a condition that is defined as wearing out of cartilage that lines joint surfaces.
When joint cartilage is damaged, the sensitive bone tissue that is typically protected by the cartilage, becomes stressed caused degenerative changes in the joint. The bone around the joint may jut out causing osteophytes, more commonly called bone spurs. Bone spurs can irritate other things around the joint complicating the problem. This may include nerve irritation which can be a cause of pain associated with osteoarthritis.
The most common areas of the body to be affected by osteoarthritis include the lower neck, low back, knees, hips and fingers. The symptoms of DJD include stiffness or pain in the joints involved. Symptoms may also include referred pain. An example of this would be pain, numbness or tingling into the legs. This could be caused from arthritic joints in the low back irritating sensitive nerves which extend from the low back into the legs.
The best management for osteoarthritis is prevention and taking care of the joints involved. One should make sure that when joints are injured, they are taken care of as soon as possible to avoid the development of arthritis in the joints affected. If not taken care of, the joints can become unstable causing the cartilage in the joints to wear out faster than normal.
Degenerative arthritis affects most people over the age of 50. People often say “it is just part of getting old.” Unfortunately many people accept being in pain thinking they are just too old. It is interesting to note that osteoarthritis always develops in specific joints and not even through the entire body. For example, a person may have one arthritic knee and not two, or they may have arthritis in the lower neck and not the entire spine. If degenerative arthritis was just caused from getting old, it would affect all of the joints in the body equally. The majority of olderly have joints in their body without any arthritis at all. The reason only some joints are affected is because of stress or injury to those joints.
Chiropractic helps to restore motion and proper mechanisms in joints that are injured or affected by arthritis. Chiropractic can prevent or slow the degenerative process in joints. Studies have even shown a reversal of degenerative arthritis through chiropractic care. Chiropractic gets to the cause of the problem rather than just treat the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Chiropractors work to prevent arthritis by performing specific hands on adjustments to correct joints that are not in their proper alignment. This helps to restore proper motion to the joints and results the joints from becoming unstable. Proper motion is essential to preventing arthritis. It not only helps the joints to glide properly, but also allows them to receive essential nutrients and hydration.