Norton Shores Michigan Chiropractor - Whether you are at the grocery store, in church, or at a family gathering, ou have heard someone complain that their "arthritis is acting up." If you watch television, ou have no doubt seen hundreds of commercials selling pills, lotions, and potion designed to combat this problem. But what is arthritis? What causes it? Who gets it? What really helps? Can it be prevented?
First of all, there are many types of arthritis, some of them caused by infection or an auto-immune disease (ie. Rheumatoid Arthritis). For the sake of this discussion, I will be addressing osteoarthritis, aka degenerative joint disease (or degenerative disc disease in the spine). Osteoarthritis causes destruction of the cartilage in between the bones, resulting in decreased joint space, bone spur formation, and eventual fusion of the joint. This is a progressive condition that gets worse over time if the cause of the problem is not addressed.
So, is it caused by old age? Yes and no. Sure, normal wear and tear does promote some joint degeneration, but in my practice I see plenty of 30 year old patients that have spines full of arthritis and I see 80 year olds with very little arthritic changes. The true cause of arthritis is CHRONIC INFLAMMATION.
A number of things cause chronic inflammation. Any activity or situation that places more pressure on the joints than they are designed to handle can promote degenerative changes in the joints. Obesity, poor work ergonomics, and poor posture are examples.
Think of a catcher in baseball. You already thought of someone with “bad knees,” didn’t you? He puts more pressure on the knee joints than they are designed to take by squatting for prolonged periods. Untreated injuries and unresolved biomechanical issues do the same thing. Injury in the spine will lead to a misalignment, which leads to a compensation (like head tilt or pelvic tilt), which leads to more misalignment, which leads to chronic abnormal biomechanics and arthritic change.
If you don’t want to end up like that friend, neighbor, or relative with arthritis, make a commitment to keep your spine healthy BEFORE the arthritis sets in. Maintain a healthy weight, improve your posture, get regular exercise and make a Doctor of Chiropractic part of your health care team!
If you do have arthritis, it may not be too late. You still want to maintain the joint space you have and get relief from your pain. The best thing you can do for an arthritic joint is MOVE IT! Chiropractic adjustments keep the joints moving properly by realigning the bones, decreasing muscle tension, and improving range of motion.
Now find me a pill that will do THAT!