Osteoarthritis, Spondylitis or Joint Wear & Tear
Degeneration and aging of the joints happens slowly for all of us, just as our teeth decay with time. Repeated stresses cause the joints to grow extra bone, to protect the damaged areas. The main symptoms are pain and stiffness, and the extent of these symptoms varies from person to person.
This article is about the common osteoarthritis. You may also have heard the term Rheumatic disease, which is an umbrella term that refers to arthritis and several other conditions that affect the joints, tendons, muscle, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Arthritis refers to disorders that mainly affect the joints.
This is common ‘wear and tear’ in the joints. Arthritis or spondylitis can also refer to pain and stiffness in the joints, as well as rheumatism (which strictly means muscle ache) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) which occurs in any joint including the spine. Osteoarthritis is caused by injury or repeated trauma, or overuse in a job or sport when excess strain is placed on the joints. This leads to wear on and around the joint cartilage, with reduced movement, grating sounds, possible swelling and rubbing in the joints. Pain is usually worse following strenuous exercise or prolonged immobility, like in the morning.
Arthritis – Improving quality of life with Chiropractic care
Wear and tear in the joints cannot be reversed, but Chiropractic treatment can help to maintain joint mobility, reduce muscle spasm and improve flexibility and ease of joint movement. Commonly there is extra stress placed on joints surrounding an arthritic joint or vertebra and these can often be the source of more pain and discomfort. Restoring normal joint function and balancing the work placed on the joints – spreading the load – can reduce the stress placed on the degenerative joints. Painkillers and Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to help the pain.
Keeping active with Arthritis
With arthritis, it is important to maintain a gentle, active lifestyle, promoting careful joint movement to maintain the flexibility in the joints and keep the muscles relaxed. It is so common that an injury to a joint causes us to stiffen and tighten around the injury; we become tentative and restricted in our movements, we adapt and modify how we move and use ourselves and create new potentially damaging ways of dealing with the pain that all too often unwittingly exacerbate the problem.
Jeremy English has huge enthusiasm for clients keeping regularly active, varying or finding activities that are suitable and enjoyable. He himself likes to cycle to work, jog and swim regularly along with tennis and playing with his kids. He considers that he is lucky to have the self-motivation to keep up the exercise. For all of us it is about adapting to suit our own bodies and limitations and finding that important balance between exercising and straining the joints.
Keeping the balance
Life is a balancing act! Staying healthy is a constant challenge in finding this balance. Many activities in life can be healthy in small doses, yet damaging, dangerous or unhealthy in larger doses; even water is toxic in excess – we can all drown in water.
Our diets are clearly a good example of how we can become addicted or fall into habit patterns to eat only certain foods, or too much of some foods and not enough of others and it is all too easy to fall out of balance.
Just like diet, exercise can also be too easy to over or under do, or we can do too much of the same exercise. Learning to find what works for each of us is so important. For some it’s finding an exercise we enjoy, whilst for others it’s about varying the exercise; sometimes it is necessary to limit the amount or the intensity of exercise, or find different exercises that complement what we’re already doing.