Osteoarthritis (or simply arthritis) is a condition that affects nearly everyone after a certain age. However, even though the condition is ubiquitous, the medical field still struggles to find effective treatments for it. Furthermore, many providers from different specialties will have vastly different approaches to treating arthritis.
If you’re suffering from pain and dysfunction due to arthritis, consider seeking chiropractic care to help you return to full health!
What Is Arthritis?
“Arthritis”, in general, refers to a group of conditions that affect the joints of the body. There are many arthritic conditions in existence such as rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis, and, for our purposes: osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is an ailment in which the joints get worn down due to misuse and/or overuse. One of the most common areas in which patients experience arthritis is the knee.
In the following section, we’ll review 3 of the most common signs of arthritis in the knees and other joints of the body.
Arthritis Signs and Symptoms
There are many indicators of arthritis that can be felt by the patient and/or observed by a clinician. However, in this section, we will review 3 of the most common signs and symptoms of the disorder.
The most obvious symptom of arthritis is joint pain. While there are many different issues that can be causes of joint pain, arthritis is one of the most common.
If you feel a dull ache in your joint, especially after you’ve been using it for a while, you may be experiencing arthritis. Generally, the pain felt from osteoarthritis will be worse during and after activity. Luckily, with rest, the pain often resolves and allows the patient to experience relief (at least for a little while).
An observable sign of arthritis, particularly arthritis occurring in a joint of the lower body, is an antalgic gait (a limp).
Our bodies are quite remarkable. When we are in pain, they figure out ways to force us to adjust how we move so that we don’t stress the painful area too much. Unfortunately, when it comes to a degenerative condition like arthritis, the pain usually won’t resolve when we change how we walk. In fact, the pain can get worse when we change our gait. Alternatively, it may spread to other areas if we limp for long stretches of time.
Perhaps the most definitive sign of arthritis is x-ray imaging. When a clinician performs an x-ray on an arthritic joint, it is very easy to tell whether or not degenerative changes have occurred.
X-rays for osteoarthritis are often performed from multiple angles in order to observe the joint in a variety of positions. By doing so, the clinician can determine how much joint space has been lost or what changes to the bone have occurred as a result of the arthritic process.
Chiropractic Care and Arthritis
There are tons of different options available for arthritis sufferers. For instance, there are creams, pills, and even surgeries that have been promoted as the cure for all joint pain causes. However, many of these “cures” don’t address the underlying symptoms of the disease.
Chiropractic care is concerned with improving the alignment of the spine. In doing so, the nervous system is then better able to function. When the nervous system is functioning optimally, signals going to and from painful joints can be interpreted more readily by the body. As these connections are reestablished, healing can take place within the arthritic joint and the patient will often experience less pain.