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What is Arthritis?

Hand painI get a lot of prospective patients coming in and wondering if they have arthritis. Sometimes doctors have told them that it’s what’s causing their pain, or others just assume that since their back or neck hurts, they have arthritis. The good news is, oftentimes the individual asking about arthritis doesn’t have it! But if you do have arthritis, there are a few things you should know.

Arthritis is a generic term that simply means “joint inflammation.” It is commonly discussed as two distinct forms of inflammation, as in osteoarthritis (arthritis of the bone), and rheumatoid arthritis (an immune condition that affects joints). As a chiropractor, I can typically help patients with either of those types of arthritis, but any rheumatoid conditions should be managed by a medical doctor, specifically a rheumatologist.

How does chiropractic help arthritis? Let’s quickly cover osteoarthritis and how it forms. Osteoarthritis, or arthritis of the bone, forms from either overuse of a joint, or a traumatic injury of a joint that leads to its early degeneration. For instance, you could develop arthritis in your hand from writing all day every day for years and years, or you could injure your hand rock climbing, and cause premature degeneration through a one-time injury. Either way, the joint tissue will become worn, causing inflammation. When the joint gets worn enough it will cause stress on the bones of the joint, which will cause calcification in and around the joint. That is where bone spurs come from. So when we see bone changes on x-rays, it is one indicator of arthritis in the joints.

So what does chiropractic do for arthritis? It’s all about movement. Movement is life, and a truer phrase has never been spoken when referring to joints. When joints are injured (either from repetitive or traumatic events), they start to freeze up, which causes the joint(s) to degenerate. By restoring motion to the joint(s), we can slow or stop the degenerative, or arthritic processes, and the joint(s) begin to heal. We work with all phases and stages of arthritis and spinal degeneration, from the very young (even birth injuries) to the elderly, and everyone in between.

If you have a question about your spine, or anything else that we can help with, please don’t hesitate to call. We can usually get you in the same day (if we’re here of course), and start answering those questions and making your life better along the way.

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