Do you ever experience joint pain and muscle stiffness? Or sometimes you have difficulty gripping items, walking properly, bending your knees, or moving your neck and lower back? Have you ever been diagnosed with "Arthritis", and then told to take a "magic pill" to help your joints, only to find little results? If it is indeed Arthritis, how do you determine which type, and what natural changes can you make to help improve how you feel? There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions, and each type has a variety of natural methods to help alleviate its secondary conditions, by addressing its root cause and primary condition. Let's touch on the most popular type, Osteoarthritis, listed below:
Osteoarthritis: The most common type of all arthritis, Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease, and affects 33 million Americans. It is purely structural in nature, and can affect any bone in the body, due to abnormal weight bearing. It usually affects a specific joint, and most often times is due to poor spinal or extremity alignment. Cartilage between the joints wears away over time, (much like brake pads in your car losing cushion over time and use), causing bony surfaces to rub on one another. It is most common in the neck, lower back, and weight bearing joints such as the hip, knee, and ankle. Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, this is not genetic based. It is most likely caused by poor spinal structure, whiplash injuries, prolonged static positioning (sitting hunched over while doing computer work, driving, mobile phone use), obesity, and years after a traumatic sports injury. Its pain pattern is best characterized as a feeling of stiffness and localized pain, often accompanied with crepitus, a clicking or grating sound. Bone "spurring" or calcification can also form due to the imbalance of weight bearing on a joint (like driving a vehicle with a bent axle, causing its tire to spin abnormally, and its tread to wear unevenly).
Because Osteoarthritis is structurally based, its primary cause can be helped with spinal and extremity work by a Chiropractor who focuses on structural correction. This is done by gently adjusting the joint back in place. Postural and gait training, as well as restorative spinal corrective equipment can slowly change the spine from an abnormal structure to a more normal position. This in turn will help reduce further deterioration of joints, help the muscles become more balanced, and help rid of pain and stiffness. Once more mobility and less stiffness are achieved, it is important to maintain its integrity. Many people choose to be adjusted regularly to help prevent further deterioration. Much like servicing a heater or air conditioner to achieve optimal performance, spinal correction and integrity needs to be protected.
Along with spinal correction by a structural based chiropractor, stretching is very important. Stretching helps to less tightness in muscles that other places more stain on a joint. It also assists with oxygenation and blood flow to the supporting cartilage and associated soft tissue surrounding the joint.
What, no time to stretch? Try stretching 10 minutes every morning, or even better, while showering. Yoga and swimming in a warm pool are excellent for arthritic people, and are optimally beneficial when coupled with chiropractic spinal correction. Obesity can cause joint degeneration to occur quicker, due to excess weight on joints. Research shows that almost 44% of adults with arthritis report no leisure physical activity compared with 36% of adults without arthritis. And older adults diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis who perform moderate physical activity at minimum three times per week can reduce further the risk of arthritis disability by almost 50%. Even more disturbing is that over half of Americans ages 65 and older show evidence of joint degeneration on radiographs at at least one joint. It is predicted that 70 million Americans will develop Osteoarthritis within the next 15 years.
Nutritionally, anti-inflammatory foods are helpful, along with Omega-3 fish oils and Glucosamine. Foods such as pineapples, lemons, papayas, berries, and ginger root, turmeric, green and white teas, kelp, broccoli, yams, shiitake mushrooms, and extra virgin olive oil, are terrific natural inflammatories. Glucosamine can help aid in repair of cartilage, muscles and ligaments, by assisting in producing glycosaminoglycan, a necessary molecule used in the formation and repair of joint cartilage. Inquire with your doctor before considering.
There are several natural methods to address Osteoarthritis. Many intelligent people are seeking natural corrections to address the primary condition of Osteoarthritis, and not continue to "band-aid" its secondary conditions.