What is arthritis, anyway?

The general term Arthritis means joint inflammation. It is a term used to describe a category of conditions. There are many kinds of arthritis including psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, and more. Due to lifestyle and previous injuries, many people end up with a diagnosis of “Arthritis” in their knees, hips, or spine at some point in their lives. Often times, this is blamed for pain and discomfort when studies show that, “a poor correlation exists among the extend of radiologic changes and clinical signs and symptoms.” [1] This means that many times we see arthritis on x-ray or CT when the patient has no signs or symptoms of pain or inflammation in the area. figure-1707104_1920

This is great news! It means that just because you have been told that you have arthritis, doesn’t mean you are doomed to a lifetime of pain and discomfort.  

Garden variety osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, “a progressive, non-inflammatory disease characterized by degenerative pathologic changes in articular cartilage and its related components.” [1] Simply, a joint that has DJD has moved improperly or been injured in the past. In order to protect it, the body has made changes in the cartilage or added calcium (like in bone spurs) to help protect the joint.

Many times Chiropractic care and Physical Therapy can work to retrain the patient’s brain and body into a better, more supportive posture or movement pattern. This can eliminate discomfort associated with arthritis AND help to slow its advance. In fact, many times in my practice, I have been able to work with patients to restore their function and improve their quality of life by teaching them to move more effectively.

Do you have questions about arthritis? Post them in the comment section below!

This blog is not intended to provide medical advice. It is always recommended that each person consult with their own healthcare provider about their individual case before making major lifestyle changes.

[1] Yochum and Rowe’s Essentials of Skeletal Radiology, Third Edition; pages 958-959

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