When we think of osteoarthritis, we immediately associate it to older people. Understandably, when we advance in age, we are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, but everyone can suffer from it at any time of their life. Depending on your genetic background, how active you are, or if you have a history of injuries or trauma, you can be more likely to develop it.
Osteoarthritis is more commonly called bone degeneration or arthrosis. It presents itself like wear and tear of the cartilages of an articular joint.
Every articulation of the body, referred to as joint, is made out of soft tissue called cartilage. In a healthy joint, it acts like a shock absorber, which allows smooth movement and minimises sheer stresses.
In osteoarthritis, it is the cartilage that covers the joint surfaces that gets thinner. As the cartilage disappears, it increases the stress that joint has to bear. The body will respond to this increased pressure by depositing more calcium around the joint surfaces and produce bone spurs. We can compare osteoarthritis with rust developing in the hinges of a door that does not open properly or completely. Osteoarthritis is a clinical sign of a misalignment or altered motion of a joint.
A healthy joint needs to have proper motion and alignment in order to distribute forces equally within that same articulation. All joints of the body affect each other. Imagine driving your car with a flat tyre. Even though the car can still move but with difficulty, it will wear out the rim of the wheel and eventually it will affect other structures like suspension. In the same way, when your pelvic bones are blocked or out of alignment, it will throw off the balance of the weight-bearing joints and compensation will happen at the hips, at the knees or at the spinal level. It is all about the body looking for its balance, homeostasis.
Chiropractic can help you balance your body and avoid creating premature osteoarthritis to these joints.
What can create these imbalances in the body?
Osteoarthritis can be due to accumulated traumas like minor accidents, falls, bad posture, accumulated stress or a repetitive job or physical activity. Although everyone will eventually develop some kind of degeneration, the latest research shows that if you are victim of a motor vehicle accident or sports injury or carry excess body weight, you can have it a lot earlier in life. It is not uncommon to see people in their twenties showing signs of degeneration of their spine.
Osteoarthritis can have an important impact on your health. In most cases, it evolves silently, and you may not exhibit any symptoms until a certain activity or incident acts as a trigger. In the end, wear and tear of a joint can cause pain, but, most importantly, if the process is not stopped, it can affect the way your joint moves.
The less your joint moves, the more the cartilages wear out and you get caught up in a loop of degeneration process. This will make it more difficult to do simple movements in your daily life. Pain, stiffness, numbness in the arms or legs and chronic muscle spasms are all symptoms that may be caused by osteoarthritis.
Not a day passes by without having someone coming to our clinic saying they have osteoarthritis and have been told that nothing or not much could be done about it. We have good news; chiropractic has helped thousands of osteoarthritis sufferers to return to a more active life.
The goal of chiropractic care is to reduce joint pain and inflammation while improving and maintaining joint function. It is important to understand that if, in many cases, osteoarthritis cannot be cured, it can be slowed down and its effects reversed to a certain extent.
One of the many gratifying moments in our lives as chiropractors is to see people with osteoarthritis getting better and returning to their normal life activities.
Do not let osteoarthritis get the best of you. Chiropractic can help you detect early signs of degeneration and prevent it.
Add years to your life and life to your years with chiropractic care.
By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375
Licença da ERS n.º 17485/2019 de 11-06-2019