WHO SUFFERS FROM ARTHRITIS?
When we think of someone with arthritis, often an image of an elderly person pops into our mind.
However, this is not always the case as it can affect people much younger than those in their twilight years. Statistics from a study carried out by Arthritis Australia stated that over 2.5 million arthritis sufferers are still of a working age. Arthritis is one of the leading cause of disability in people aged over fifty-five and the reason they will visit a chiropractor to try to reduce the symptoms of arthritic pain.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is a term given to a wide range of medical conditions (over two-hundred types) that affect the musculoskeletal system. Arthritis can affect all parts of the human body with many different causes and many different cures. Regardless of the cause the most important thing is to reduce the swelling and pain levels and improve the movement which is always seen with arthritis.
There are 3 main types of arthritis;
1. Degenerative Diseases such as Osteoarthritis,
2. Autoimmune Diseases such as Rheumatoid or Psoriatic Arthritis
3. Metabolic Diseases such as Gout.
Osteoarthritis of the spine, which can also be known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) or spondylosis is the most common form of arthritis. It is usually the result of wear and tear of the spinal joints that accumulates over time. The good news is that chiropractic may be able to help reduce the symptoms associated with this form of arthritis.
WHAT HAPPENS IN AN ARTHRITIC JOINT?
Osteoarthritis affects a large number of Australians and is by far the most prevalent type of arthritis that we see in our chiropractic office. Patients suffering from osteoarthritic pain will often get the most benefit from having regular chiropractic care to maintain the movement of the spinal joints.
In a normal healthy joint, the bone surfaces are covered with cartilage, with a plentiful supply of synovial fluid contained in the joint capsule. This fluid lubricates the joint and contains all the nutrients that the joint needs.
With osteoarthritis the joint spaces become narrower due to stress and load, and the cartilage starts to wear down. Eventually, the joint surfaces start to rub against one another causing pain, inflammation and swelling.
Over an extended period, the joint can become damaged and deformed. Unfortunately, this cannot be seen by the naked eye, an X-ray or an MRI will need to be carried out to determine the severity of the damage.
If your spine is affected, it can lead to lower back pain, neck pain, swelling, muscle tightness and radiating pain in your arms and legs. The discs in the spine will become tougher, more fibrous and will be less able to act as a shock absorber. This will cause the discs to thin and degenerate over time.
This damage will, over time, put more stress on the spinal joints, worsening the arthritis. These symptoms are not a part of the normal ageing process and can be prevented if treated early enough in its progression.
WHAT ABOUT DRUGS FOR ARTHRITIS?
NSAID Drugs such as Naprosyn are recommended for providing pain relief when the symptoms are very severe and can be an essential part of your treatment with severe pain.
Unfortunately while they do reduce the symptoms they have been associated with side effects such as stomach ulcers and an increased risk of heart attack. Also, like most medications, NSAID’s do not actually fix the problem.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE ARTHRITIS?
As with all medical conditions, it is important to have a proper medical examination done. In many cases X-rays, and sometimes MRI’s, are needed to look for arthritic change in the bones and joints. Urine and blood tests may also be necessary. Once the type of arthritis has been diagnosed, you have a better chance of reducing the symptoms and pain.
HOW CAN CHIROPRACTIC CARE HELP ARTHRITIS?
Our team of Coolum chiropractors focus on restoring and maintaining the movement and correct functioning of your musculoskeletal system.
Most types of arthritis are not caused by spinal problems, however by removing the musculoskeletal changes that occur secondary to the arthritis, chiropractic could help to reduce your symptoms.
We aim to achieve this by improving the movement in the joints and relaxing tight and spasmed muscles.
Chiropractic care coupled with a balanced diet and a personalised exercise program may help control the musculo-skeletal changes associated with your arthritic condition.
FIND OUT IF CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP YOUR ARTHRITIC PAIN
If you suspect that you are suffering from arthritic pain or any other type of spinal pain contact our office. We will arrange for you to have a comprehensive initial consultation and examination to find out if chiropractic care can help you get back to the life you love.