Arthritis and Chiropractic Care (Osteoarthritis)

The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint pain, will be the focus of this article. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease and will not be covered in this article.

Any joint in the body, if it is not moving properly or is misaligned, will degenerate. As this degeneration progresses, you develop osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis.

To give an example that is easy to understand: suppose your knee was put in a cast and you were able to move it for an entire year. Your knee will degenerate. For a joint, any joint, to stay healthy, it has to be able to move properly and be in proper alignment. This is particularly important in the spine. The spine contains 24 movable bones that need to be maintained in proper alignment. When they are out of alignment and unable to move properly degeneration will start.

Chiropractic Care Helps Those Dealing with Arthritis Pain

Arthritis in the neckProviding relief from arthritis is something chiropractic care can help with. To do this we first start with exams that include physical, orthopedic, neurological tests, as well as any necessary x-rays. These exams allow us to determine if you have any degeneration of the cartilage or if you have any bones spurs (osteophytes), and exactly where they are located. Bone spurs, or osteophytes, grow around joints that are not moving properly as the body tries to fuse itself together. We can then focus on putting these joints back into proper alignment and work to restore the flexibility and proper range of motion to the joint.

Osteoarthritis is a Degenerative Process

The good news is the progressive degeneration of your joints can be stopped. In our years of working with patients we have seen that when the joints in the spine are properly maintained the progression of the joint degeneration has stopped. When we retake x-rays 2, 3, and sometimes 5 years later, we can see the joint still looks the same — no additional degeneration.

Getting and keeping the joints in the spine in proper alignment and functioning correctly not only stops further degeneration in the joints but also helps bring relief from the pain.

Some patients after we initially correct the misalignments in their joints stop coming because they are feeling better. When they come back 4 or 5 years later and we retake x-rays, the x-rays show that the degeneration of osteoarthritis has progressed because they have not maintained the proper alignment of their joints and the joints are no longer moving properly. Since osteoarthritis is a progressive process, once they stopped maintaining the movement and alignment of their joints, the degeneration started back up. Only 10% of your nervous system feels pain, and because of this many people are unaware of when the degeneration starts up again.

Chiropractic Care Effectively Relieves Pain from Arthritis

When someone has osteoarthritis, chiropractic care provides three main benefits.

  1. Chiropractic care is proven to provide relief from the pain of arthritis
  2. Chiropractic care stops the degeneration process by keeping the joints properly aligned and functioning properly
  3. Chiropractic care is a healthy, pain medication-free way to treat joint pain

Obviously if joints degenerate then it has a negative effect on the nervous system especially around the spine. When someone has osteoarthritis around the spine and it gets progressively worse it starts to close in and around what is called the intervertebral foramen (that's the hole where the nerve comes out in-between the bones) and as you get more osteoarthritis it effects and puts pressure on the nerves. These nerves come out from the spine and control and coordinate the function of every cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in the body.

Arthritis in the lower backAs osteoarthritis causes the joints to degenerate, it also negatively effects the communication of the nervous system, especially around the spine. When arthritis in the spine gets progressively worse, the holes where your nerves exit the spine (intervertebral foramen) can get smaller. This in turn puts pressure on the nerves in the spine. Since these nerves control the function of every muscle, organ, and cell in the body this will negatively affect the overall health of your body. Allowing osteoarthritis to continue unchecked in your spine will not only mean you will continue to have pain, but the functions of the rest of your body will also start to deteriorate.

The spinal joints (vertebra) are unique because the nerves controlling your entire body exit from the spinal cord. This is different from the other joints in your body, such as your fingers, knees, and elbows. So although you may be seeking chiropractic care to find relief from pain, it is also important to realize that chiropractic care is also about making your body and nervous system function properly, giving you better health and true wellness care.

Chiropractic care does make a difference. If you are dealing with osteoarthritis, chiropractic care is the clear choice to find relief from pain, stopping the progression of osteoarthritis, restoration of movement and function to your joints, and a better functioning nervous system. The alternative is to continue taking pain medications as your osteoarthritis continues to degenerate and your pain continues to grow.

Contact Tuckahoe Family Chiropractic today at 804.740.3434 to setup an appointment and find out just how much we can help you. Please recommend this article to your friends or family who are suffering from the pain of arthritis.


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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.