Arthritis & Chiropractic Care
There is good reason why chiropractic physicians have a high level of patient satisfaction among arthritis sufferers. Medical management of illness too often treats the symptoms rather than the causes. Medical treatment for arthritis usually focuses on dulling or covering up the pain. Pain relievers may temporarily ease discomfort, but they do little to actually correct the source of the problem. The chiropractic approach is based on finding and correcting problems that interfere with your body’s own natural state of good health.
Dr. Kiefer uses gentle spinal adjustments to relieve strain and stress on a joint. By appropriately positioning a joint that is out of place or not moving properly, normal position and function are gradually restored. Dr. Kiefer may also recommend other therapies to compliment spinal adjustments. These include, massage, ice, heat and conditioning exercises.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis, often considered a disease of aging, affects millions of older Americans. Almost everyone over the age of 50 will develop arthritis to some degree.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis affecting older adults, occurs when a joint begins to wear out through use or injury. Then it becomes inflamed (swollen and irritated). In some people, this may cause only occasional mild stiffness or pain. They may not even be aware that they had the condition. In others, pain may be quite severe and disabling. In either case, if nothing is done, the joint continues to degenerate and the condition worsens.
Arthritis and the spine.
Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or hypertrophic arthritis. Forty million Americans, including 80% of persons over 50, suffer from osteoarthritis. It often affects the hands, but is also commonly found in weight-baring joints such as the knees and hips. The spine, with its numerous joints, is especially vulnerable.
The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae stack on top of each other and fit together like puzzle pieces. The spinal joints are formed where these bones meet. Osteoarthritis of the spine means that joints in the spine have become worn down and inflamed. Bone growths (called bony spurs) often form in the damaged joint as the body tries to stabilize the area. Bony spurs can lead to further spinal imbalance and nerve irritation that may cause pain and improper function.
Osteoarthritis of the spine may be a sign that it is out of alignment or balance. Injury, poor posture, overuse, and other stresses to the body can cause vertebrae to move out of place, and the spinal joints to lose their normal position and motion. Joints that are not moving properly are more likely to wear down. In addition, the spine surrounds and protects the spinal cord, the central message carrier for your nervous system.
Spinal imbalances can disturb delicate nerve tissue nearby, causing interference with normal nerve flow. This starts a degenerative chain reaction and can affect the health and function of nearly every system in the body, leading to problems that cause arthritis to worsen.