On this page we are going to talk about osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease and occurs as the result of wear and tear. It mainly affects the weight-bearing joints e.g. the spine, hips, knees, ankles and joints in the hands. It can affect both men and women at any age, but is more common as we get older.
Osteoarthritis has many names, Arthritis, spondylitis, rheumatism or rheumatics are names given to the pain and stiffness resulting from it.
Degeneration of your joints begins without you knowing and it happens slowly to all of us.
The general wear and tear of a lifetime results in joints laying down extra areas of bone in an attempt to support damaged areas. Generally our bodies compensate for this and we feel no pain up to point.
However, loss of movement in a joint wear of the joint cartilage will eventually cause you pain. It might come and go and then becomes more constant.
The symptoms of arthritis are commonly treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which don’t stop the progression of the disease and have risks associated, but sometimes help to relieve the pain.
However, chiropractic treatment is considered by some people to be more effective in the long run.
It has been suggested that chiropractic can prevent further arthritic development and regular treatment can even prevent osteoarthritic changes occurring in the first place. All we know for sure is that many of our patients say that it helps them feel better and are able to stay more active and take care of themselves better.
There is no real strong evidence that degeneration of your joints cannot be reversed but your chiropractor can help improve muscle and joint function and therefore reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Along with chiropractic treatment, greater emphasis is now being placed on a controlled and regulated diet to reduce joint inflammation and arthritic pain.
Many elderly patients participate in spinal rehabilitation with specially modified exercise programmes.
During our lifetime, our spines are required to withstand considerable weight-bearing stresses resulting from activities of daily living.
As a result of these stresses ‘wear and tear’ or degeneration, occurs in all parts of the vertebral column. Degeneration which occurs in the spine as a consequence of daily living is considered part of the normal ageing process.
The intervertebral discs (IVDs) are the first to undergo changes, usually around the age of 40, followed later by the spinal joints and bony vertebra, form the ages of 50-60 onwards. Normal degeneration is usually well-established by the age of 70.
Characteristically, the IVD will lose its ability to absorb fluid as the chemical makeup and internal architecture of the disc changes in response to repetitive stresses.
As a result, the normally resilient disc will become tougher, more fibrous and less able to respond to weight-bearing load. The ageing of the discs puts greater stress on the spinal joints as well as the vertebrae itself.
The overall effect of degenerative changes in the disc, joints and bony vertebrae leads to the characteristic feeling of stiffness and reduced movement of the spine.
Degeneration of your joints cannot be reversed but your chiropractor can help improve how you feel and allow you to live life to the full.
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