In general terms, arthritis is a gradual breakdown or deterioration of the joint spaces in your musculoskeletal system. According to some experts, eight out of 10 Americans over the age of 55 suffer from one form of arthritis or another. In many cases, arthritis can become so painful and debilitating, simple tasks such as opening a jar or holding a pencil can be difficult.
Arthritis affects everyone in different ways. In some, joints in the spine, fingers, wrists, shoulders, knees-even toes-lose their normal shape and large amounts of fluid and debris fill the joint space.
There are many causes of arthritis. A major cause is simply age. Injury or suppressed or weakened immune systems are others. Some people have no choice-it is simply hereditary.
In most people, the body responds to the onset of arthritis by making extra bone. Your body makes this material in an attempt to shore up the degenerating joint. This additional material, or overgrowth, is called a bone spur or osteophyte. Bone spurs are typically found in the joint or disc spaces, where cartilage has begun to break down or deteriorate. Bone spurs sometimes block the spaces where nerve roots leave the spinal canal.
There are many symptoms of arthritis, including:
- Joint pain
- Loss of muscle control
- Muscle spasms
- Stabbing pain in the extremities
Major Types of Arthritis
There are two major forms of arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis- This degenerative form of arthritis that mostly affects the elderly. In some, osteoarthritis may affect the spine's facet joints, making it extremely painful to bend or twist. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage to break down and away from the joints. Stripped of their protective material, the joints begin rubbing against each other, causing pain and impeding movement. This action further irritates the surrounding nerves. Advanced forms of spinal osteoarthritis lead to disc collapse and other problems.
Rheumatoid Arthritis- This form of arthritis is equally painful and destructive. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joint tissues, leading to pain, weakness, low red blood cell count (anemia), and loss of appetite.
How A Chiropractor Can Manage Your Arthritis Pain
Chiropractors can help manage and relieve the pain caused by arthritis through a safe and non-invasive treatment such as adjustments. Adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints in the body in an effort to reduce inflammation, increase joint mobility, and improve your nervous system function and spinal health- allowing you to better manage symptoms caused by arthritis.
Below are a few health benefits a chiropractor can provide:
- Reduced pain and discomfort
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved range of motion
- Improved flexibility
- Increased activity and lifestyle
Additionally, common exercises such as wall walking (which targets the shoulder joints) and the chair rise (which strengthens your legs and makes standing and sitting safer) can help too. Good examples of appropriate activities for those living with arthritis include aquatic exercises such as swimming, walking, bicycling, golf, and cross-country skiing.
For more information on Arthritis treatments call King Chiropractic Institute today!