What is arthritis?
Arthritis,often considered a disease of aging, affects millions of older Americans. Almost everyone over the age of 50 will develop arthritis to some degree. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis affecting older adults, occurs when a joint begins to wear out through use or injury. The joint becomes inflamed (swollen and irritated). In some people, this may cause only occasional mild stiffness or pain. They may not even be aware that they have the condition. In others, pain may,be quite severe and disabling. In either case, if nothing is done, the joint continues to degenerate and the condition worsens.

While none of us can hope to stay young forever, we do not have to accept the progressive degeneration arthritis as inevitable. Osteoarthritis often responds positively to chiropractic treatment.

Arthritis and the spine
Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or hypertrophic arthritis. Forty million Americans, including 80% of persons over 50, suffer from. osteoarthritis. It often affects the hands, but is also commonly found in weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. The spine, with its numerous joints, is especially vulnerable.

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae stack on top of each other and fit together like puzzle pieces. The spinal joints are formed where these bones meet. Osteoarthritis of the spine means that joints in the spine have become worn down and inflamed. Bone growths (called bony spurs) often form in the damaged joint, as the body tries to stabilize the area. Bony spurs can lead to further spinal imbalance and nerve irritation that may cause pain and improper function.

Osteoarthritis of the spine may be a sign that it is out of alignment or balance. Injury, poor posture, overuse, and other stresses to the body can cause vertebrae to move out of place, and spinal joints to lose their normal position and motion. These are vertebral subluxations. Joints that are not moving properly are more likely to wear down. In addition, the spine surrounds and protects the spinal cord, the central message carrier for your nervous system. Subluxations can disturb delicate nerve tiisue nearby, causiing interference with normal nerve flow. This starts a degenerative chain reaction called the vertebral subluxation complex. It can affect the health and function of nearly every system in the body, leading to problems that cause arthritis to worsen.

The Chiropractic Approach to Arthritis
There’s a good reason why chiropractic doctors have a high level of patient satisfaction among arthritis sufferers. Medical management, of illness too often treats the symptoms rather than the causes. Medical treatment of arthritis usually focuses on dulling pain with. drugs. Pain relievers may temporarily ease discomfort, but they do nothing to correct the source of the problem. The chiropractic approach is based on finding and correcting problems that interfere your body’s own natural state of good health.

Your doctor uses spinal adjustments to relieve strain and stress on a joint. By applying precisely directed force to a that is out of position or not moving properly, normal position and function are gradually restored. Your chiropractic doctor may also recommend other therapies to complement spinal adjustments. These include massage, ice and heat, and conditioning exercises.

Many people get great relief from osteoarthritis through the chiropractic approach to treatment. With more normal joint mobility restored, most patients experience a great reduction in pain and stiffness, and a reduction in the speed of spinal degeneration from arthritis.

Don’t delay – seek help now
Delaying proper treatment is dangerous and can only lead to more severe health problems. Schedule a chiropractic examination immediately to rule out spinal problems that may be contributing to your arthritis. You don’t have to continue to suffer.