What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, affects more than 20 million Americans and is more common in women than in men. The disease affects the cartilage—slippery tissue on the ends of bones that meet in a joint. Normally, cartilage helps bones glide over one another as the joints move. In an OA patient however, the cartilage is broken down and eventually wears away. As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion. Although the majority of patients with OA are 65 and older, recent research shows that it is not strictly a by-product of aging.
- Family History of OA
- Lack of Exercise
- Previous Joint Injury
Can a Chiropractor Help Arthritis?
Doctors of Chiropractic (DC’s), can help detect the earliest degenerative changes in the joints. They see the impact of degenerative changes on X-Rays and can often feel a grinding quality in the affected joints.
OA can affect the spine, as well as the hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints. DC’s are also trained to relieve the pain associated with OA and improve joint function.
DC’s employ a number of holistic methods to help reduct pain. Joint manipulation, massage, and assisted stretching can all help to manage pain. Your chiropractor can also help you choose exercises that are best for particular presentation of OA.
If a sore or swollen joint prevents you from exercising, talk to your health care practitioner about other drug-free pain-relief options, such as applying heat or cold to the affected area. In addition, you might use anti-inflammatory supplements as part of your treatment. A tumeric supplement, for example, can be used to help reduce systemic inflammation and reduce the stiffness and inflammation associated with OA.