Figure 1A and 1B. In A, a side view X-ray of the neck is shown where the neck joints and disc spaces are normal. In B, damaged joints and disc spaces due to spinal arthritis is shown. Can you see the difference between the x-rays?
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a relatively generic term that actually encompasses a variety of different conditions. There are a various types of arthritis. Some of the more common are described Table 1. Figure 1A shows relatively normal joints making up the cervical spine, or bones of the neck. However Figure 1B shows significant degeneration of the joints.
Who Does Arthritis Affect?
More than 27 million people are affected by osteoarthritis (OA), making it the most common type of arthritis in the U.S. OA of the knee and hips is the most common cause of arthritis-related disability in the U.S. Most people with OA are over the age 45. Overall, more women are more likely than ment o develop OA. Radiographic signs of OA are sometimes seen in people as young as their 20’s.
What Causes Arthritis?
While some forms of arthritis can be hereditary, others can be related to immune system dysfunction. The cause of many forms of arthritis is idiopathic, or unknown. Primary osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is referred to as “wear-and-tear” arthritis, because it is known that the joints can wear out faster when used more or inappropriately. It is sometimes assumed that arthritis is a “normal” consequence of aging. However, not all people within any advanced age group develop arthritis. There are other factors that can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. For example, if there is a condition whereby your joints are under increased pressure during regular daily activities, those joints are likely to degenerate at an advanced rate.
Examination Procedures for the Diagnosis of Arthritis
While the diagnosis of arthritis is often assumed by the history and exam, sometimes other tests are ordered. This can include blood tests, usually if rheumatoid or another variant is a possibility, and X-rays of the involved and related joints. X-rays can show signs of arthritis and help to delineate which form a person may have.
Common Chiropractic & Other Conservative Treatments
Pain from arthritis is commonly helped from Chiropractic care, including spinal adjustments, manual stretching, exercises and traction. Chiropractic Biophysics® care can help restore normal alignment of the spine and pelvis thereby taking pressure off of the joints. Diminishing this pressure may diminish or stop the rate of degeneration of the spine, hips and other related joints.
Common Medical Interventions
Commonly, medical intervention for osteoarthirits is to diminish the symptoms with the use of pain killers and anti-inflammatories. This only hides the symptoms though, and the problem is likely to worsen. When the problem worsens, corticosteroid injections into the involved joints are a common procedure medical doctors recommend. This also only works to hide the symptoms. Surgery, including total joint replacement, is the last medical effort used to treat osteoarthritis. There are no joint replacement surgeries available for the spine though. Surgical attempts to help people with chronic spine pain are much less successful than those for other joints of the body.
Chiropractic Care May Have a Positive Influence on Arthritis
Many thorough studies have been performed on patients with symptoms that are often related to arthritis, in particular osteoarthritis and have shown Chiropractic care to be beneficial.1-17
Chiropractic Biophysics® (CBP®) care, by correcting or improving the overall structure of the spine can have an additional positive benefit of diminishing abnormal pressure on the affected joints.
1.Adams, Art DC; Mueller, Henry DC. Chiropractic Management Of A Patient With Severe Chronic Back Pain Complicated By Atypical Scheurmann's Disease:A Case Report.Journal Of The American Chiropractic Association2003; 40:34-38.
2.Anglen RL. Care For Diabetics In A Chiropractic Office: Finding The Missing Pieces To Increase Human Health Productivity And Happiness.The Internist1998; 5:31-34.
3.Blanchard, M DC. Arthritis.Field Research Data- International Chiropractors Association1950; :10-10.
4.Brantingham, James W DC; Williams, AM; Parkin-Smith, GF; Weston, P; Wood, T. A Controlled, Prospective Pilot Study Of The Possible Effects Of Chiropractic Manipulation In The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis Of The Hip..European Journal Of Chiropractic2003; 51:149-166.
5.Camerino, William J DC. Case Results Of The B.j. Chiropractic Clinic From 1950-1959:Case Study 7.1961; :81-177.
6.Camerino, William J DC. Case Results Of The B.j. Chiropractic Clinic From 1950-1959:Case Study 8.1961; :81-177.
7.Goudge, Lawrence. A Patient’s Story:How Chiropractic Gave Me Back My Health And Vigor.International Review Of Chiropractic1994; :39-43.
8.Higley, H G MS DC. A Study Of Low Back Cases Treated At Chiropractic College Clinics.Aca Journal Of Chiropractic1964; 1:53-54.
9.Law, Ada. :Diversified Chiropractic Management In The Treatment Of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee. A Case Report..Journal Of The Canadian Chiropractic Association2001; 45:232-240.
10.MacDonald, Cameron W; Whitman, Julie M; Cleland, Joshua A; Smith, Marcia; Hoeksma, Hugo L. Clinical Outocmes Following Manual Physical Therapy And Exercise For Hip Osteoarthritis::A Case Series..Journal Of Orthopedic And Sports Physical Therapy2006; 36:588-599.
11.Palmer, BJ. Feature Case May 19, 1956.Palmer Chiropractic College Doctors Clinic Notes From The Clinic Desk1956; .
12.Palmer, BjDC, PHC. The Hour Has Arrived.1930; :53-71.
13.Pope, Michael DC. Chiropractic: The Physics Of Spinal Correction. Cbptechnique:Chapter 12: Applied Chiropractic Biophysics: Case #178.1994; :7-9.
14.Schmidt, Margaret J DC. Better Health For All Ages.The National Chiropractic1946; 16:10-10.
15.Stick, Alex W. Rieter's Syndrome-One Side Of The Triad:A Case Study.Journal Of The Australian Chiropractic Association1988; 18:88-90.
16.Vaux, P.. Hip Osteoarthritis: A Chiropractic Approach.European Journal Of Chiropractic1998; 46:17-22.
17.Weiant, BW PhD DC; Burry, HM BSc DC. Effect Of Chiropractic On Metabolism: A Preliminary Report.National Chiropractic Journal1946; 16:17-18.
The primary purpose of this list of and general discussion of health conditions is to inform the public of the possibility that use of Chiropractic care may be associated with positive improvements in a variety of health conditions for patients actively undergoing Chiropractic care. Many of these symptoms require co-management and/or referrals to other health care specialists. This information is not intended, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any individual’s unique health condition.