Will Chiropractic Management Decrease Arthritis Pain?

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Chicago Chiropractor and Arthritis

Introduction

One of the most frequently misunderstood conditions among people is arthritis..When some people hear this word they envision a future with crippled and twisted joints.  However “arthritis” is generic word that comprises many different conditions from the benign to the severe. For our purposes we will restrict this discourse to the most common forms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis and Chiropractic Care

Osteoarthritis, degenerative arthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD) are the terms for the most common form of arthritis, which is also called, spondylosis, if it occurs in the spine. This form of arthritis is not limited to humans, but occurs in all mammals, and is due to the deterioration of the cartilage that protects the joint surfaces. When joint cartilage is damaged, the sensitive bone tissue that is usually guarded by the cartilage becomes stressed causing degenerative changes in the joint. Sometimes the bone around the joint will proliferate and make osteophytes, or what are more commonly called bone spurs. These spurs can cause painful irritation to other tissues adjacent to the joint, in this way complicating the already hurtful condition. 

As a rule areas of the body that develop degenerative joints are in the spine, principally in the lower neck and lower back, the knees, the hips and the fingers. Everyone may experience DJD at one point in their lives, though previous trauma, ones occupation, activities, weight, diet, and heredity affect the degree of the condition and its onset.

Pain and/or stiffness in the affected joints are primary indicators of DJD. If the weight-bearing joints, such as the hips or knees are involved, ones mobility can be affected particularly in the more advanced stages of the condition.  As a last resort joints can be surgically replaced with synthetic devices. This should be done only in severe cases where the joint is appreciably worn and movement is intolerable due to severe pain.

The best management of DJD is, of course, prevention that involves taking care of ones joints at an early age.

  • One should always be certain that, especially when young, all injuries to joints are suitably managed to insure proper healing to avoid future disability.
  • Shoes with proper support and shock absorption should be worn by those whose jobs demand extended periods of standing or walking.
  • Excess body weight can cause increased stress upon the weight bearing joints of the body.
  • Avoid kneeling on hard surfaces, such as when doing housework, as this can put strain and produce knee pain.
  • The natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants included in fruits and vegetables are essential for healthy joints and a healthy body.

Recently there have been some studies that reveal that the nutritional supplement, Glucosamine, can help with DJD and can possibly help rebuild joint cartilage. However, it must be used over an extended period and does not work in all conditions.

Chiropractic adjustments help to restore proper mobility and function to the spinal joints. Chiropractic care is not only a smart idea, but extremely effective in relieving the debilitating pain of arthritis. Your Chicago chiropractor is highly experienced when it comes to arthritic pain relief. In addition, chiropractic modalities such as joint mobilization, ultrasound, cold laser therapy, massage and electro-therapy may be used to aid in the treatment of painful and stiff joints. Occasionally, a brace is necessary to support the joint and relieve pain. A chiropractor may suggest exercises such as stretching, yoga, tai chi and other gentle mobilizing activities to help maintain arthritic joints.

Gout

Gouty arthritis is produced by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood and the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. The most common joints are the big toes, the knees, ankles and wrists, and is often characterized by excruciating pain and swelling. Most people who develop gout are predisposed through heredity, though episodes are usually brought on by binge eating of the wrong foods, when dehydrated or fasting, or after a major surgery or illness. Particular foods such as red meat (especially organ meat), certain seafood, legumes, and mushrooms include the natural substance, Purines, that are metabolized in the liver to form uric acid. Since individuals with gout cannot effectively metabolize uric acid, the accumulation in the bloodstream produces joint problems. In addition to the foods described and additional foods containing Purines, other dietary restrictions must be followed including the avoidance of alcohol.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of systemic origin. The principal cause is not known, but it is thought to be due to a problem with the immune system. The most common joints affected are the small joints of the hands and fingers, the feet, knees, and shoulder, though other areas of the body can be affected as well. The condition is most often associated with morning stiffness that is aggravated by motion. Additional symptoms can include general malaise and fatigue, and in its more advanced stages other systems of the body may be affected. There are particularized blood tests to help identify Rheumatoid arthritis that can be easily run. Though, currently, there is no cure, in addition to medication and vitamin and diet therapy, treatment should include chiropractic manipulations to mobilize joints and help to relieve the pain and stiffness accompanying this disease. Additional modalities such as ultrasound, heat, electro-therapy, and massage may also be beneficial. Your Chicago chiropractor is dedicated to supporting individuals in getting relief from the pain and suffering associated with arthritis.


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