Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common of the many different forms of arthritis, and we see it every day in practice. It is a slow degenerative process in which the cartilage surface of a joint begins to break down, causing stiffness and bone spurs to develop, along with numerous other changes in the tissues which make up the joint (cartilage, bone, ligaments, periosteal sheath and synovial fluid, etc.).
Although arthritis is very common (especially in advanced years), arthritis isn't ever normal, or necessary. It is abnormal mechanical stresses in a joint that results in the breakdown of the cartilage, and is what causes osteoarthritis. If a joint is working perfectly, without stress and with all the nutrients it needs, it should never develop arthritis. The arthralgia (joint pain), reduced range of motion, stiffness with movement, and destructive changes in the cartilage, are a direct result of the abnormal mechanical stresses in a joint, technically known as "pathomechanics." What patients need to understand is that we (chiropractors) are the only doctors who address the underlying causes of osteoarthritis. Whether it occurs in the spine, a knee or a finger, the reason is the same- something hasn't been working right in the joint, and the abnormal biomechanics induced chronic stresses which allowed it to begin the degenerative changes of OA.
The traditional medical approach has always medicated OA patients with pain relieving drugs (usually NSAIDs, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which do nothing to improve the condition itself, and actually (according to studies in the Lancet) cause a temporary stopping of chondrogenesis. This means the drugs stop the reproduction of cartilage cells and hinder further healing of the joint! The pain is temporarily less, but the condition is encouraged to get worse!
NSAIDs: Deadlier than previously thought
It is conservatively estimated that 16,500 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) deaths occur among rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis patients every year in the U.S.
SOURCE: Wolfe MM, Liechtenstein DO, Sigh G. Gastrointestinal toxicity of nonsteroidal antiinflamatory drugs. New England Journal of Medicine 1999;340:1888-1899
According to the New England Journal of Medicine (1999) at least 16,500 people die every year from over the counter NSAID use, which is most often taken for arthritis. As many people die each year from "safe" NSAIDs as die from AIDS! The British Medical Journal (May, 1999) suggests changing the way medicine treats arthritis, recommending that drugs, joint injections and surgery be avoided in up to 90% of cases, and our thinking towards arthritis should be "de-medicalized."
The Chiropractic approach is not specifically a treatment for arthritis, but adjustments do correct biomechanical function, allowing normal movement to return, along with enhanced nerve function. Normalization of joint movement allows the tissues to repair, and increases nutrient absorption from the synovial fluid. If this is coupled with natural biochemical support in the way of supplements such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, there can be enough joint repair to correct many of the degenerative changes and help to reverse the arthritic process. Chiropractors alone take the approach of restoring normal function throughout the body, and avoid making arthritis, or any condition, worse with drugs.
If this makes sense to you, call and schedule an appointment to find out what phase of arthritis you may have, and what natural chiropractic procedures can do to help you live pain free and allow your body to express its ability to heal itself. Talk to Dr. James Salmi about your condition and see if chiropractic care can help you. Acts Chiropractic Center is located at 12001 Pacific Ave. S, Ste. 203 Tacoma, WA 98444. Serving South Tacoma, Parkland, and Spanaway communities since 1997.
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