Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the cartilage on the end of bones. This cartilage is needed so that adjacent bones can move freely over a slippery tissue, and the cartilage functions like a “buffer” between the bones. For joints where the cartilage has worn down or degenerated, the adjacent bones are now touching and grinding on each other. Yes, OUCH!
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis among the hundreds of different types that exist. It is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), and it is most common in women over the age of 55. Unfortunately, there is no known cause to OA but it is usually the result of natural aging of a joint. Obesity, repeated trauma, or conditions like gout can aggravate joints and cause secondary OA. People with OA generally describe their symptoms as joint pain at the end of the day, swelling or creaking to a joint, or even stiffness or decreased range of motion in a joint.
Although there are no specific ways to completely stop cartilage degeneration, there are ways to slow down the process. A precise joint adjustment is one of the best ways to keep the tissues in a joint space healthy from cartilage degeneration. Doctors of Chiropractic are highly trained to treat OA through chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue therapy, and other physiotherapies- such as mechanical traction, all of which are ways to slow down OA and relieve joint pain and inflammation. Diagnostic x-rays can also help determine the severity of the arthritis.
People with OA are recommended to keep the joints mobile and to perform exercises with minimal impact to the joints, such as swimming, light walking, or stationary cycling. Whether you think you have OA, have been living with it for many years, or just want to prevent it, your chiropractor can help diagnose the level of degeneration and put a treatment and exercise plan together suited to your body.
– Dr. Jenny Kim, D.C.
Dr Kim practices at Premier Chiropractic Clinic in Redwood Shores. This reprint is part of a bimonthly Health newsletter program. If you would like to be included in future Health newsletters, log onto www.PremierChiropractic.com and sign up with your email address to receive our monthly newsletters by email.
Information provided courtesy of American Chiropractic Association (ACA) www.acatoday.org