Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, also known as arthrosis, is a condition characterized by some wear and tear of the cartilage, the structure found between the bone in a joint so they can slide on top of each other. Of all the conditions affecting the joints, the osteoarthritis is the most common. Many joints could be affected by osteoarthritis like the hips, the knees, the fingers and the vertebrae of the neck and of the lower back.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and arthritis?

The osteoarthritis represents some wear and tear of the joint cartilage whereas arthritis represents an autoimmune condition, meaning that our body doesn’t recognize his own cells and tries to destroy them. Rheumatoid arthritis is included is this category.

What are the symptoms of arthrosis?

Osteoarthritis don’t usually cause any symptom at first. But when the amount of damage in a joint becomes more important, those symptoms could happen: dull pain increasing with activity, pain relief with rest, morning stiffness in the joints or after a prolonged period of immobility, crackling sensation in the joint, decreased range of motion.

What could increase the risk of suffering from osteoarthritis?

Different factors could predispose someone of suffering from osteoarthritis. First, the main risk factor is the age. With the normal ageing of the body, it is normal that the wear and tear of the cartilage increases. We usually find osteoarthritis in men over 50 years old and women over 40 years old.

There are other risk factors of osteoarthritis like obesity and sports or jobs involving lots of impact on the joints. For obesity, the hips and knees are the main joints to suffer because they are supporting the whole body weight.

How could I know if I have osteoarthritis?

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is generally symptom-based and also based on the results of X-rays. During your exam at the chiropractic office, the chiropractor will be able to take X-rays and determine if you have osteoarthritis.

Can osteoarthritis be treated?

Prevention is always the best treatment for any health condition. Concerning osteoarthritis, maintaining a normal weight helps to decrease the stress applied to the joints like the hips and the knees. It is also very important to have a good general posture and a good posture at work to decrease the mechanical stresses. Physical activity also represents a good way to make sure that the cartilages receive all the nutrients they need. However, make sure to have the proper technique to practice your sport.

If you already have some osteoarthritis, there are a few solutions possible. Of course, it is important to understand that the osteoarthritis you already have cannot be removed. However, the symptoms caused by osteoarthritis and the progression speed of the condition could be decreased. Based on your health condition, the amount and the location of your osteoarthritis, your chiropractor will be able to suggest you exercises to improve your posture, ergonomic recommendations, strengthening exercises and pain-relieving tips. Also, the chiropractor, while performing a chiropractic adjustment, will contribute to restore the normal movement of the joint, thus allowing the cartilage of receiving all the nutrients it needs.  Based on some scientific researches done on the mechanism of osteoarthritis, it has been shown that abnormal movement of a joint (because of too much stress or because the joint is blocked) could lead to joint degeneration because of the lack of nutrients getting to the cartilage. Based on that principle, when a chiropractor performs a chiropractic adjustment on a joint to restore the normal movement,  the nutrition of the cartilage also improves and therefore could contribute to prevent or slow down the phenomenon of osteoarthritis in that area.

Of course, in severe cases of osteoarthritis, some medical approaches may be needed. Some procedures like an arthroscopic cleaning of the joint or even the full replacement of the joint could be done. After the initial exam, the chiropractor may have to refer you to your medical doctor if your condition seems to be too severe to be treated with chiropractic.

To conclude, the best treatment for osteoarthritis remains prevention.  So why not have a checkup of your condition today by your chiropractor. Consult before the symptoms appear!

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