Something is lurking in the joints of millions of Americans every year: the very real pain of arthritis.
Hi everyone! It's Dr. Bob Salamon here with Lowcountry Chiropractic. I hope everyone is doing well. Today we are going to be discussing a topic that is very prevalent in our country, and that is arthritis. A lot of people have it and suffer from its pain every day. In this blog, I want to put arthritis into perspective. I want to explain what arthritis is and some of the many ways you can treat it. There are many different types of arthritis; there is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune problem, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, gout and many more. In this blog though, we are going to be discussing the most common type of arthritis, and that is osteoarthritis. It is also called DJD or DDD, which stands for degenerative joint disease or degenerative disc disease.
Why is it important to get a grip on your arthritis? The main reason is that it is a degenerative condition. If you don't take care of it, it will more than likely get worse as you get older. Why is that important? Osteoarthritis will and can destroy or at a minimum cause a lot of pain in your joints. It can appear in your hands, your spine, your knees, hips, shoulders, and almost everywhere else in your body. This type of arthritis causes pain because of the inflammation surrounding the joint it is affecting.
Let's talk about osteoarthritis. Our bodies get out of symmetry as we go through our daily lives. Typically, this type of arthritis is caused by asymmetry, and your joints start to work improperly because they are not working symmetrically. This can happen in your spine as well. You'll find that if you have a vertebra or two that is locked or misaligned, it's going to put a lot of stress on that joint. What the body does in reaction to this misalignment is it takes calcium out of the bloodstream, and sends it to that affected area to strengthen it. In theory, that sounds like it would make total sense, but what happens is that calcium deposits can form which leads to spurring. In addition, asymmetry causes the discs in your spine or cartilage in your peripheral joints to wear thin. You don't want spurs in a joint that aren't supposed to be there; they're going to get in the way of your ligaments, tendons, and the space the joint uses to properly move. These spurs are going to cause you a lot of pain because of the inflammation they cause. As we know, inflammation leads to serious pain. This is what is happening to your body when you have osteoarthritis.
The next question then becomes, how do you manage this condition? As I mentioned before, if you don't do something about your osteoarthritis, it is going to get worse. The medical approach is usually some kind of steroidal anti-inflammatory product or injection to the affected joint. These products are created to take out some of the inflammation so you feel better. These remedies don't do much for correcting the cause of your arthritis, and steroids carry their own set of pretty nasty symptoms that might not appear until much later.
How can chiropractic help? Chiropractic looks at a particular joint (in your spine, shoulder, hands, etc.) and figures out whether or not the bones in that joint are moving properly. What chiropractors do is adjust or treat that bone or bones to restore the proper motion to that joint. Once this happens, your body can work symmetrically and the degenerative process can be stopped. If the degenerative process is slowed down or stopped the inflammation will decrease, and the pain will get better. If you have arthritis, chiropractic care is something that you need to seriously think about incorporating into your health protocol.
I also recommend a few supplements to my patients that help with inflammation connected to osteoarthritis that help with the pain in a natural way.
1. Fish oil! If you're going to use this, please use high-quality fish oil.
2. Coconut Oil! Most people don't know much about the benefits of this oil, but just like fish oil, it can do wonders for inflammation. If you want to add this oil to your diet, take a couple tablespoons preferably after a meal. Always make sure you use high-quality coconut oil. I recommend virgin, organic cold-pressed brands.
3. Turmeric is a great spice that you can put in your food or take in pill form that also helps with inflammation and the effects of osteoarthritis.
Exercise can also help, but if the joint is damaged you want to be careful about doing too much repetitive exercise to the affected joint. Also, be very careful when doing too much weight-bearing or load-bearing exercises with that joint. Getting in a pool and swimming and some lightweight workouts are good to keep your affected joints moving.
I hope this helps! If you're suffering from osteoarthritis or think you might be, please make an appointment to come to the office. We will do a very thorough exam (including x-rays), show you exactly what's going on and what is causing your problems. We will then get to work on fixing those problems so you can get healthy, out of pain and prevent that degenerative process from getting worse. I am Dr. Bob Salamon, and I have your back covered! Stay well!
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