I Have Osteoarthritis……should I just live with it?

NO! so much can be done……

For many,  many years Osteoarthritis (aka degenerative joint disease, spondylosis or wear & tear) has been considered a part of getting older. But not anymore……… Recent research points out that older people don’t have to suffer from osteoarthritic pain. And, surprisingly, people much younger than 65 can develop osteoarthritis.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, affects the cartilage ie the slippery tissue on the ends of bones that meet in a joint. Normally, the cartilage helps bones glide over one another. In an OA patient, however, the cartilage is broken down, is irregular, no longer smooth and eventually wears away.

As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion.1  Although the majority of patients with OA are 65 and older, recent research shows that osteoarthritis is not a by-product of aging. Family history of OA, being overweight, lack of exercise, and prior joint injuries are suggested as OA risk factors.

How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

OA is diagnosed through a combination of clinical history, patient examination and  x-rays.

The signs of OA include:

  • Steady or intermittent joint pain (most common: back pain, neck pain, hip and knee pain)
  • Joint stiffness after sitting, sleeping, or otherwise not moving for a long time
  • Swelling or tenderness in the joints
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bones rubbing against each other.

If you experience any of these signs, consult your chiropractor. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help manage pain, improve function, and slow the degeneration.

Should Osteoarthritis Patients Exercise?

Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment – and prevention. It strengthens the muscular support around the joints and improves and maintains joint mobility and function.

In addition, exercise helps control weight and improves the patient’s mood and outlook – important factors influencing the severity of the symptoms.

If you suffer from Osteoarthritis, consider the following exercise tips:

  • Low-impact or non-weight-bearing activities, such as walking, stationary training, and light weight training work best for OA patients.
  • Use strengthening exercises if the key muscle groups that relate to the function of the joints are weakened by the degeneration (We will assess this during the examination)
  • If you are overweight, start exercising carefully, so as not to put too much stress on the hip, knee and ankle joints. And lose weight.
  • Stair climbing, water aerobics, yoga, biking and similar exercises will help to keep the joints mobile without straining them.
  • Learn to read the body’s signals and know when to stop, slow down, or rest.

How Can Your Chiropractor Help?

Chiropractors, by the nature of their work, can detect the earliest degenerative changes in the joints. They see the impact of degenerative changes in the spine, as well as in the hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints.

Chiropractors are also trained to relieve the pain and improve joint function through natural therapies, such as chiropractic manipulation, trigger-point therapy, stretching or some massage techniques.

We will also help you choose the exercises that are best for you and we may recommend supplements for your joints and general well-being.

If a sore or swollen joint prevents you from exercising, talk to us about other drug-free pain-relief options, such as applying heat or cold to the affected area.

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