There are over 100 types of known arthritis, by far the most common of these being osteoarthritis. To make things confusing, osteoarthritis ‘OA’ its self goes by over 50 synonyms including spondylitis, spondylosis, degenerative joint disease (DJD), or often simply wear and tear.
So to simplify the whole confusing mess, when considering OA, The key points to understand are that:
- It is essentially a normal part of the aging process
- It is present to some degree in everyone over the age of about 40.
- Most importantly, it is probably not causing your symptoms.
Pain, and indeed most other nerve, muscle and joint related symptoms, are most commonly caused by an inflammatory irritation of the ‘soft’ tissues. OA progressively weakens the bony stability of a joint, and can certainly leave your body more prone to soft tissue irritations. Crucially however, it doesn’t cause them. For that reason, although we can’t repair or stop osteoarthritic change, we can often slow down the process, and usually successfully treat the symptoms associated with it.
Symptoms of OA we can treat:
- Pain / Aches
- Stiffness / Joint restriction
- Numbness / Pins & Needles
We help manage the recurrence and progression of the OA via:
- Exercise and ergonomic advice
- Specific home stretches and mobilizations to maintain movement
The most effective treatment will result from a combined approach from both practitioner and patient. Chiropractic aims to restore function, which through increasing movement and strength decreases pain. When treatment is combined with specific home advice and exercises it can not only help resolve current symptoms but also address why they initially occurred, and help to prevent long-term recurrence and Osteoarthritic progression.
In More Detail….
Osteoarthritis, or wear and tear and is essentially a normal ageing process. However, as there are people well into their nineties who have no symptoms from it, it is recognized as a condition related to but not caused by ageing. There are factors that are clearly recognized as accelerating this process and where this happens, it is referred to as ‘Secondary OA’. Where no clear cause is evident, the problem is referred to as ‘Primary OA’. For all ‘inflammatory Arthritis’ problems, including Rheumatoid Arthritis & Ankylosing Spondylitis please see our ‘Inflammatory Arthritis’ page.
There is a clear and recognized correlation between marked mechanical problems and the onset of OA, and it has therefore been theorized that aberrant mechanical stress on joints is the underlying mechanism for all OA. This would certainly account for the many and varied presentations when you consider the differing sources of mechanical stress including misalignments, loss of strength in supporting joints and uncoordinated movements that overstress joints.
Therefore, although the process itself cannot be halted or reversed,….. so essentially there is no ‘cure’,…. there are a number of measures that can reduce the progression of osteoarthritis and manage the symptoms of it.
- Congenital joint disorders
- Inflammatory joint disorders
- Joint injury