Arthritis is a major health concern in the Unites States today. We know because people with moderate to severe arthritis usually have stiff achy joints that sometimes get more painful with changes in the weather or flare up after seemingly innocent activities. Sometimes it gets so severe that people are bound to wheel chairs or using crutches. People suffering from arthritis also typically need some sort of pain medication to manage the symptoms adding another layer of complexity to the condition.
There are several types of arthritis but for this article we are focusing only on osteoarthritis. Another phrase for thing kind of arthritis is “wear and tear”. This kind of arthritis forms when joints in the body are under some sort of repetitive pressure over a course of months or in many cases years. Take a misaligned spinal joint for instance. When a vertebra is tipped to the left, thereby putting much more pressure on the left sided joints in that area the body responds by laying down additional calcium to strengthen the area and prevent the bone from fracturing due to prolonged stress caused by the misalignment.
This is the normal physiological response of the body to additional pressure on a bone. The “use it or lose it” principle if you will. This is all good until it goes on for too long and the extra accumulation of calcium begins to protrude out potentially pressing on nerves exiting the spine and reducing the range of motion in the joint in the areas where the bone growth is occurring. This can also lead to inflammation in the joint capsule and surrounding soft tissues leading to chronic inflammation in the joint.
As a chiropractor I see people everyday with misaligned spinal vertebrae. In many cases there have been there for years! I often treat people with moderate to severe arthritis with chiropractic, which keeps the joints moving however once the arthritis is formed I will always be managing their pain.
I can tell you without a doubt the #1 thing you can do to prevent or dramatically slow down the formation of arthritis in the spine is to get adjusted 1-2 times per month!
The reason for this is that chiropractic adjustments find areas of the spine (and shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles) where bones are misaligned and stressing the bone causing the body to lay down extra calcium and corrects them. Keeping as much normal function of the joints as possible is one of the major benefits of chiropractic care and what prevents or dramatically slows down the formation of arthritis. There is no other therapy that does this. Arthritis is such a widespread problem and much of it is so preventable.
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