What is Osteoarthritis?
In our chiropractic office it is common to see patients with arthritis. Often, they will ask for advice on how to deal with this condition. Arthritis can be a confusing topic because there are different types of arthritis. The most common is osteoarthritis and it is caused by degenerative wear and tear on the cartilage of joints. Another name for osteoarthritis is degenerative joint disease. Other types of arthritis can include inflammatory and auto immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. However, this article will focus on osteoarthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis or “arthritis” can occur at any age, but it is more commonly seen in middle aged or older patients. Inflammation occurs at the joint and can cause it to break down or degenerate. Symptoms can include pain, swelling and/or stiffness in the joints that are arthritic. X-rays may be used to diagnose arthritis as it may cause the space in the joints to narrow, and bone spurs may occur and be visible on an x-ray. Severe cases can even result in the joint fusing together, so that it is no longer freely movable. Any joint can be involved but the most common joints affected include the hips, knees and hands. Arthritis can also occur in the spinal column and then may be called “degenerative disc disease”.
What Causes Arthritis?
Many people think arthritis occurs automatically with age but there are a variety of factors that play a role in whether arthritis develops. We have seen patients in their teens or twenties have arthritis but there is usually a history of trauma to the joint in those cases. An injury to the joint is a common factor in arthritis. Sometimes it can be a traumatic injury and other times it may be over use or repetitive micro trauma. The injury can cause small changes over time that cause the joint to not function as well and lead to cartilage damage and eventually, arthritis. Other factors such as family history, working manual labor, and diet can also play a role in the likelihood of arthritis developing.
What are Treatments for Arthritis?
Most of the time symptoms from arthritis can be relieved but the joint is unlikely to be “cured” or permanently fixed. Eating a well-balanced diet or even trying an anti-inflammatory diet may help symptoms. Also, getting regular exercise may help to reduce inflammation in the body and can often help symptoms of arthritis. Also, chiropractic adjustments may help improve the pain and stiffness in joints affected by arthritis. Chiropractic care on a regular basis may be able to help to slow the progression of arthritis by improving the joint function, but it cannot reverse the process. Medical solutions may include prescription drugs or surgery for certain joints. If you are wondering if a chiropractor may be able to help you, and you live in the Sioux Falls region, we would welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss your case. Please contact us for an appointment or call us at (605) 271-5717.