Let’s Talk Arthritis

Every so often I have a patient comes into my office and informs me that their doctor says they have arthritis in their neck or back. Their immediate thought is that nothing can be done for that…..right?

Many people make the assumption that a diagnosis of “arthritis” condemns them to a life of constant pain and every joint pain must just be arthritis.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me explain.

First off let me say that ”arthritis” is a rather ‘catch all’ diagnosis often used to cover a myriad of conditions. The term arthritis comes from the terms “arth” meaning joint and “itis” meaning inflammation. So technically any inflamed joint is an arthritis so this diagnosis doesn’t really mean much.

The only types of arthritis that are systemic, meaning that they affect the whole body, are ones like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis etc. The arthritis that the majority of individuals have is osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. There is some debate over whether there  is a type of systemic osteoarthritis but for this discussion let’s talk about degenerative arthritis.

Degenerative arthritis is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis that usually affects one joint but can affect multiple areas. Knees, hips, hands, neck and lower back are common sites. It is caused by repeated stress or trauma over time or a specific injury. These change the normal movement pattern of the joint causing the joint to become inflamed, painful and eventually to wear out.

In the spine this degenerative process involves the deterioration of the discs often with accompanying nerve pressure

The Chiropractic goal in these cases is to return the movement of the joint(s) to as close to normal as possible. This will reduce the symptoms and slow down the degenerative process in the joint.

Don’t let a diagnosis of “arthritis” disrupt your life…chiropractic can help