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What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis means joint inflammation and there are over 200 different types of arthritis that can affect both young and old people.

Arthritis can affect different parts of the body and each type has a different cause. It is a group of conditions involving damage to the joints and in some cases can also affect the soft tissues of the body such as ligaments, lungs and heart valves.

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), gout and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in people over 55.

The Different Types Of Arthritis

The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a result of repetitive trauma of the joint and is more common as we get older.

There is evidence to suggest that abnormal anatomy, deformity of a joint, such as in hip dysplasia, might contribute to the early development of osteoarthritis. Poor nutrition, poor nerve and blood supply and immobilisation are also contributory factors. Other forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis are autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks itself. These types of arthritis are more common to see in younger people.

Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection and can either be viral or bacterial. Gout on the other hand is a metabolic condition, which is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint, causing inflammation. There is also a more uncommon form of gout caused by the formation of crystals of calcium pyrophosphate (CPPD). This type of gout is also known as pseudogout.

How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Like with all medical conditions it is important to get a proper diagnosis. If there are signs that you are suffering from arthritis and need further tests to diagnose your condition such as x-rays and MRI tests we can carry these out. We will also refer you to your GP who will carry out further tests. You may also be referred to a rheumatology specialist. Once diagnosed, the type of arthritis you have can be treated more effectively.

The medical specialists in this field are called rheumatologists and they are the people to contact for the medical side of your treatment.

How Can Chiropractic help?

Most arthritic conditions benefit greatly from Chiropractic treatment and should be considered as an adjunct to medical care, particularly osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication and nothing else. This is a mistake. Using anti-inflammatory medication in the long term has been shown to impair the healing rate of cartilage and can also cause damage to the lining of the stomach and result in fatal stomach bleeds, particularly in the elderly. Fortunately there are better ways to manage osteoarthritis.

If you receive chiropractic treatment, including laser treatment, regular, gentle exercise and improve your diet, you can reduce the need to take anti-inflammatory medication, which is great news. In fact, some of our patients have been able to stop taking them all together. Read more about chiropractic treatment.

With regard to the inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), there is not a real cure for these conditions.

Although they have their natural peaks and troughs, the inflammatory process can be quite severe and it is therefore important to take medication to control it to avoid joint destruction. Chiropractic treatment is still useful as a therapy for these conditions to help you control the symptoms.

The following pages will help you get more of an understanding of the different types of arthritis, which symptoms are expected, how they are diagnosed and treated.

What is Osteoarthritis?

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

What is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (Still’s disease)?

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

What is Gout?

What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?

If you want any further information please contact us.

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