Chiropractic care for arthritis
Wear and tear of the articular cartilage
Osteoarthritis is a term used to decribe pain and inflammation within a joint. It can be located in knees, hips, ankles, elbows, wrists, hands, or within the small joints between each vertebra in your spine (facet joints).
In the UK alone, millions of people have arthritis, which presents in its most common forms as Osteoarthritis (OA) or Rheumathoid Arthritis (RA). Lots of them, visit a chiropractic care clinic.
Osteoarthritis usually presents with pain, swelling, tenderness, and a typical “grinding” or “crackling” sound when moving the affected area. Sometimes it presents with loss of normal and physiological range of motion. It is a degenerative process, caused by articular cartilage wearing off.
Unfortunately, it is a one way street, but chiropractic can help drastically to slow down this process. Obviosuly, the sooner it is caught the better.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by the gradual degeneration of cartilage and the surrounding structures in the joints. As the cartilage wears away, the bones may begin to rub against each other, leading to pain, inflammation, and changes in joint shape. While OA can affect any joint in the body, it most commonly impacts weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, as well as the hands and fingers.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary from person to person and may develop gradually over time. Common signs and symptoms include:
Joint Pain: Pain is a hallmark symptom of OA, often described as a deep, aching pain in the affected joint. Pain may worsen with movement and improve with rest.
Stiffness: Affected joints may become stiff, especially after periods of inactivity or upon waking in the morning.
Limited Range of Motion: As OA progresses, joint stiffness may limit the range of motion, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks.
Swelling: Inflammation in the joint can lead to swelling, particularly after extended periods of activity.
Grating Sensation: Some people may experience a grating or cracking sensation in the affected joint when moving.
Where can osteoarthritis happen?
Osteoarthritis can affect various joints in the body, with some of the most commonly affected areas including:
Knees: OA of the knee is widespread, particularly in older individuals and those with a history of knee injuries.
Hips: Hip OA can cause pain and limited mobility, often leading to difficulties in walking and performing daily activities.
Spine: OA can affect the spine, leading to degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs and facet joints, which may result in back pain and reduced spinal flexibility.
Hands and Fingers: OA in the hands can cause joint pain, swelling, and the development of bony enlargements (Heberden’s and Bouchard’s nodes).
NHS and NICE Guidelines for Managing Osteoarthritis:
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have established evidence-based guidelines for the management of osteoarthritis. These guidelines focus on a multimodal approach to improve symptoms and enhance quality of life. Some key recommendations include:
Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for individuals with OA, as excess weight can put additional stress on weight-bearing joints.
Exercise: Regular, low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, and cycling, is encouraged to improve joint flexibility, strength, and function. Take a look here for more info on the importance of movement.
Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may be recommended to manage pain and inflammation.
Mobilisation: NICE guidelines suggest that individuals with OA should consider physical therapy or occupational therapy to receive tailored exercises and techniques to improve joint function.
Assistive Devices: The use of assistive devices, such as braces, orthotics, or walking aids, may help reduce joint strain and improve mobility.
Complementary Therapies: Certain complementary therapies, such as chiropractic care for arthritis, may be considered as an adjunct to conventional treatment to alleviate pain and improve well-being.
Common medications for osteoarthritis:
In addition to over-the-counter pain relievers and NSAIDs, other medications may be prescribed to manage osteoarthritis symptoms, including:
Topical Analgesics: Creams or gels containing capsaicin or menthol can be applied directly to the affected joint to provide localized pain relief.
Corticosteroid Injections: For individuals with severe joint pain and inflammation, corticosteroid injections may be administered directly into the joint to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections: These injections, also known as viscosupplementation, can provide lubrication to the joint and reduce friction, easing pain and improving joint mobility.
Role of chiropractic care in managing osteoarthritis:
Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis. While chiropractic cannot reverse the degenerative changes associated with OA, it can play a supportive role in managing symptoms and improving joint function. Chiropractors may use various techniques, such as spinal adjustments, mobilization, and soft tissue therapies, to alleviate joint stiffness, reduce pain, and enhance joint flexibility. Additionally, chiropractors can offer lifestyle advice, exercises, and ergonomic recommendations to support OA management and improve overall quality of life.
Osteoarthritis is a prevalent and chronic joint disease characterized by the degeneration of cartilage in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. It commonly affects weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips, as well as the hands and fingers. The management of OA involves a multimodal approach, including weight management, exercise, pain relief, physical therapy, and assistive devices, according to the guidelines provided by the NHS and NICE. Complementary therapies like chiropractic care can also play a supportive role in managing symptoms and enhancing joint function for individuals with osteoarthritis. As with any medical condition, it is essential for individuals with OA to work closely with their healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan for effective symptom management and improved quality of life.
Here is a list of published research articles if you want to get more information about osteoarthritis:
If you are looking for a spinal care chiropractic clinic, and if you are looking for spinal care dorchester, look no further. Our goal is to make you feel better.
Our inspiring blog, a hub of knowledge and ideas designed to spark curiosity and fuel your mind!
Dive into a collection of thought-provoking articles, practical tips, and engaging content that covers a wide range of topics realted to health and wellbeing.
You can discover fresh perspectives, gain valuable insights, and find inspiration to enhance the quality of your life.
A collection of informative and engaging videos that offer visual insights into the world of chiropractic care. Visual content is a powerful tool for education and empowerment, allowing you to deepen your understanding of chiropractic principles, techniques, and the benefits of maintaining a healthy spine.