There are many forms of arthritis. They range from severely debilitating rheumatoid arthritis to common osteo-arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Over ninety percent of people over the age of fifty have some degree of oseto-arthritis. It is basically the wearing out of the joints over time, or plain and simple wear and tear. There are a lot of factors that determine when and how severe it will affect you, some factors you can control and some that you can’t. Rheumatoid arthritis is less common, but much more destructive. It is a disease which the immune system attacks the joints for an unknown reason. The body treats the joints like invaders and slowly destroys them over time. It is unknown what causes rheumatoid arthritis and it can be severe. It can happen at any age and can stop and go into remission for no apparent reason. There are a lot of other forms of arthritis that are rare, but they all negatively effect the joints.
Osteoarthritis affects every mammal on the planet and every person will eventually develop it if they live long enough. It is the joints wearing out with age. The first sign of osteoarthritis is stiffness in the joints. This is due to the fluid (synovia) that separates the bones of the joints becoming less viable and breaking down. Over time the joints will get closer together and lose the viscosity of the fluid. Calcium will start to form on the ends of the bones and slowly start to form a bridge between the two bones that make up the joint. This process is called spurring. Eventually the joint will lose all the fluid that lubricates the joint and spurs will take over the entire joint. The bones will fuse together to form one big connection. This process takes time and it can start as early as late teens or it can start much later in life.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
There are a lot of factors that determine the age and rate when osteoarthritis will start. Some factors can be controlled and others can not. Did you ever see people in their eighties that look and move like they’re in their forties? Then you see someone in their fifties that look and move like they are ninety. This didn’t happen by chance. Many things determined this, but they all occur over time. It’s never to late to change, unless your dead! The first factor is genetics. This is handed down by your parents and their parents. You can’t pick your parents so this is 100% not controllable. If your parents developed osteoarthritis at an early age, chances are you will too unless you take precautions.
Trauma is another factor that isn’t exactly controllable. The amount of trauma your body, particularly the joints, has had will speed up the degeneration process of osteoarthritis. Most football players have a high rate of osteoarthritis in their hips and knees at young ages due to the amount of lower body trauma they endured while playing football.
Livelihood is not really controlled either, and it is another factor that contributes to arthritis. I’ll give a couple of examples. Mail carriers that carry heavy mail bags on their shoulders will develop osteoarthritis in their spines at a much faster rate than most people. Years ago they were taught to switch sides regularly to prevent on side from receiving most of the stress. This helps, but it still doesn’t eliminate the increased stress on the spine day after day. Another example are dentists. My father was a dentist and my sister is a dentist. When my father started to age he had a finger that was crooked. It was just his first finger (pointer finger) on his right hand. This was due to the constant pressure he placed on the instruments while working. Rheumatoid arthritis hits all the fingers so it wasnï¿½t rheumatism. Dentists also bend to one side all day. This places a lot of stress on one side of the spine. I recommend switching sides, but it is impossible for them to do this because most dentists aren’t ambidextrous. Over time this will degenerate the mid back of most dentists. I’m a chiropractor and I stand all day. I’m developing arthritis in my knee. I also had severe knee trauma (surgery) in high school form sports.
Slow OsteoArthritis Down
Regular moderate joint motion is one thing that slows the degenerative process down. A moving joint is typically a healthy joint. Regular daily motion stimulates the fluid (synovia) of the joint and will nourish the joint. It is similar to the difference between a pond (dirty) and a stream (clean). A pond develops scum due to the lack of moving fresh water, but a stream in constantly moving fresh water in and removing the dirty water. The joints of the body act similarly to this. They get their nourishment from the fluid in the joints so if the fluid isn’t circulating the joint wont get proper nourishment and will degenerate at a much faster rate. Daily stretching and moving the whole body through a full range of motion is recommended. People that work hard often times donï¿½t get enough full ranges of motion in their entire body. They stimulate certain areas too much and other areas not enough and they become imbalanced. There are a lot of methods to stimulate and stretch, but I feel yoga and pilates along with swimming are the best ways to stimulate and stretch the entire body.
Proper alignment of the joints, especially the spine is crucial in preventing osteoarthritis. If the bones are mis-aligned it is common sense they will wear out faster. Like making sure your tires are in alignment, the vertebra move and can become mis-aligned. When vertebra are mis-aligned they become fixated and donï¿½t allow proper motion in the joints. Muscle spasms are the biggest reason why this occurs. When a muscle goes into spasm, it gets tight and will move the bones or compressing the joint. A pulled muscle can create havoc on the spine short and long term. Get chiropractic treatments to prevent mis-alignments. I recommend a chiropractor that treats the muscles with some type of therapy such as e-stim or moist heat prior to manipulating the joints. In my practice, I utilize moist heat, ultrasound therapy, traction, e-stim therapy, and massage prior to adjusting the joint that may be mis-aligned.
Proper nourishment and fluids are another big factor. Joints have been found to degenerate at a faster rate if they aren’t hydrated properly and they also have been found to improve if proper nutrients are given to them. Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM, and Hyaluronic acid along with Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to aid in joint function. Many natural anti-inflammatories are as effective as prescriptions to reduce joint swelling. Turmeric and ginger along with Boswellia are very effective at reducing swelling, and they can be taken daily without harsh side effects. I recommend Fixajoint Plus www.Fixajoint.com because it contains more of the most effective joint nutrients available at the recommended therapeutic dosage.
Conquering Arthritis, Mentally
I don’t care what type of arthritis you may have, your mental attitude is the most important factor that will enable you to manage it and help you live a happy productive life. Even the worst cases of rheumatoid arthritis can go into remission. Without positive thinking and positive preparation it usually won’t happen. Osteoarthritis effects everyone. Some people let it destroy who they are and others empower it. It doesn’t have to become who you are. Everyone has an identity or a story. Don’t let the first thing you think of when you imagine yourself be arthritis. If you let it control you it will eventually destroy you. Arthritis is manageable and it is not going to prevent you from enjoying your life. Take preparations and you will be fine.
Associate yourself with active and supportive people that enjoy life and don’t dwell on the negative things such as their ailing health. Positive thinking and positive living will change your life. Energy breeds more energy. The more energy you use the more your brain and body will produce. You just have to get it started. So get moving, nourish your joints and keep them in align.
Arthritis usually starts out as joint stiffness and tightness. If untreated, the muscles can spasm causing compression or mis-alignment of the spine. Arthritis or spinal degeneration typically do not occur over night. It is typically from years of neglect, and it’s usually from untreated trauma in the past. If you have neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, knee pain, or joint stiffness do not let it go. Call today to schedule a chiropractic exam at one of our two York, PA offices. West York, 767-4151 and now in North York, 885-0832.
Please submit any questions to Chiropractic Athletic Center 1785 Loucks Rd York, PA 17408 or at [email protected]