One in five Canadians suffers from arthritis. That’s six million people suffering from a devastating disease that has no cure. Arthritis does not discriminate. It strikes men, women, and children of all ages.
If left untreated, arthritis can cause permanent joint damage and increases the risk of developing complications such as heart problems, lung diseases, lymphoma, to name just a few.
What Causes Arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that results in pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of movement. Contrary to popular belief, arthritis is not a single disease. It is an umbrella term to describe a complex disease that has over 100 different types. It can strike different areas of the body, with each area having a different name, cause, and treatment method.
How Does Arthritis Occur?
Your joints are protected by the flexible connective tissue known as the cartilage. It absorbs the pressure or shock when you move or put stress on your joints.
Over time, wear and tear damage can reduce the normal amount of cartilage tissue, which can cause osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. The condition can worsen when there’s postural stress, injuries, or infections to the joints. You are more at risk of developing arthritis if the disease runs in the family.
If you develop arthritis due to an autoimmune disorder, it’s called rheumatoid arthritis, which is another common type of the disease. This is a little more complex because the immune system attacks the tissues of the body.
With rheumatoid arthritis, a patient can develop some type of inflammation within the joint capsule. This capsule isolates and covers the joints. Inside the capsule, there is a slippery protective substance called synovial fluid. When the immune system attacks, it destroys the soft tissue that produces that fluid which lubricates the joints and nourishes the cartilage. This means one loses the protection around your joints.
If the inflammation persists, it can eventually lead to the degeneration of bone and the destruction of the cartilage inside the joint. Unfortunately, the exact cause of the disorder is unknown and so it is difficult to find a cure. That’s why the next best thing is to treat and manage the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis.
The goal of conventional treatment of arthritis is mainly to reduce the level of pain that you are experiencing and prevent more damage to your joints. To alleviate pain, your doctor may design a treatment program that largely involves taking pain medications and anti-inflammatory medicines, which can give you temporary relief.
The thing is inflammation itself is not inherently a bad thing. It is your body’s natural response to infection and tissue damage. If you get hit in an accident or injure your knees or shoulder, inflammation is your body’s way of telling you that there’s something wrong due to improper movements of your joints.
Inflammation occurs to protect your joints by increasing the blood flow, the white blood cells and phagocytes to clean up any debris in the joint. It’s all part of the healing process.
Prolonged use of anti-inflammatory drugs changes the brain’s perception of what's happening in your inflamed joint, and it's actually going to increase and hasten the degenerative process over time. Furthermore, pain and anti-inflammatory medications can have long-term health effects which include stomach ulcers, digestive problems, and acute renal failure.
How Chiropractic Care Can Help Treat Arthritis
Inflammation of the joints or the degenerative process of arthritis can come from bad posture, improper movements, injuries, or stresses. They change the way your joints move. Instead of the joints moving properly and nicely, one side gets stuck while the other side continues to move. This creates irritation and lead to degeneration within that joint. Over time, the joint can lose its shape and alignment.
Our job - as trained chiropractors - is to figure out exactly what is going on with the joints in your body. As a chiropractors, we will always check for the foundation of your body- spinal system and the problem areas including your knees, shoulder, elbow, and more. Once the problem is identified, we apply a specific chiropractic adjustment to restore the proper motion and biomechanics of your joint.
Based on the findings of our chiropractic exam and consultation, we may elect to co-manage your condition with other healthcare providers such as massage therapists, physical therapists, your family physician or other primary care physicians.
Time is of the essence when it comes to arthritis chiropractic treatment because it involves living tissues. You don't want to wait for a long time before seeing a chiropractor. If you wait for a long time, it might be too late and your only option could be maintenance care and may need to undergo invasive treatments to replace the joint.
If you act fast and seek chiropractic treatment for arthritis, we can help restore the proper biomechanics of your joints so that your body can slow down the inflammation of the surrounding tissues.
Even though arthritis has no cure, the symptoms can still be managed well using a combination of self-care, conservative therapy, and chiropractic care. If you start to experience pain and discomfort in your joints, consult us to find the best treatment options for your condition.