Living with Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, affects more than 20 million Americans. The disease affects the cartilage on the ends of the bones. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage is broken down and eventually wears away. As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, small deposits of bone called osteophytes or bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space causing increased pain and damage.
80% of people over the age of 50 have osteoarthritic joint changes. Family history of OA, being overweight, lack of exercise, and prior joint injuries are risk factors. Not all osteoarthritis is inevitable, however. Perfectly normal cartilage may wear unevenly when a joint is misaligned.
Signs of osteoarthritis include:
- Steady or intermittent joint pain
- Joint stiffness after sitting, sleeping, or otherwise not moving for a long time.
- Swelling or tenderness in the joints
- A crunching feeling or the sound of bones rubbing against each other.
Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment and prevention. It strengthens muscular support around the joints and improves and maintains joint mobility and function. Low-impact activities such as walking and light weight training work best for OA patients. Stair climbing, water aerobics, and Theraband workouts help to keep the joints mobile without straining them.
Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been reported to improve the symptoms of people with osteoarthritis, as have certain vitamins. Clinical trials have shown that the use of glucosamine sulfate 1,500mg daily in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee results in a significant reduction in joint pain and an improvement in joint function. In addition, glucosamine appears to reduce the loss of cartilage in the knee joint over at least a three-year period, particularly in those with milder osteoarthritis.
Chiropractic adjustments can help restore normal joint function and prevent unnecessary wear. Research shows chiropractic spinal manipulation increases range of motion, restores normal movement of the spine, relaxes muscles, and reduces pain. This makes chiropractic an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. See if chiropractic treatment may be helpful for you. Call the office today to help keep your joints moving smoothly! 802-655-0354