Arthritis is inflammation of the joints primarily affecting the musculoskeletal system, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced joint mobility. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The pain and inflammation make it challenging to move or continue being active.
Arthritis is most common in the hands, feet, hips, knees, and lower back resulting in swelling, discomfort, stiffness, and decreased joint range of motion. It can be a chronic condition that varies in severity from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. While certain symptoms may stay the same over the years, others may advance and lead to further joint degeneration.
The most common symptoms include:
- Pain and stiffness in the joints, which may be worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity
- Swelling in the joints, accompanied by redness and warmth in the affected area
- Stiffness in the joints, making it difficult to move the affected joints through their full range of motion
- Weakness in the muscles around the affected joints, making it difficult to perform everyday activities
- Fatigue due to inflammation and pain
Understanding the lifestyle factors that play a role in the development of arthritis can help individuals take preventive measures to reduce their risk. Some key lifestyle risk factors include:
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese puts extra stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. This added pressure can accelerate the breakdown of joint cartilage, leading to osteoarthritis. Additionally, fat tissue produces inflammatory substances that can worsen joint inflammation.
- Physical Activity: Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining joint health and mobility. Lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle can weaken the muscles around joints and reduce joint flexibility, making them more susceptible to injuries and wear and tear.
- Joint Injuries: Previous joint injuries, especially those not appropriately treated or allowed to heal correctly, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the affected joint. Athletes, individuals involved in repetitive manual labor, or those with a history of joint trauma are at higher risk.
- Diet: A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for overall health, including joint health. Diets rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C and D may help reduce inflammation and maintain joint integrity. On the other hand, diets high in processed foods, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats may contribute to inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms.
- Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and may worsen symptoms in those with existing arthritis. Smoking can trigger inflammation and affect the immune system, potentially leading to autoimmune responses.
- Joint Overuse: Repetitive movements or overuse of certain joints can lead to early cartilage degeneration, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis. Avoiding excessive strain on specific joints and balancing physical activities to prevent overuse injuries is essential.
- Stress: Chronic stress may contribute to inflammation and exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, relaxation exercises, and adequate sleep, can benefit joint health.
- Occupation: Some occupations involving repetitive movements or requiring heavy lifting can strain joints significantly, increasing the risk of joint injuries and osteoarthritis.
While factors like age and genetics are beyond our control, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing arthritis or slow its progression. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking, and managing stress are essential components of a joint-friendly lifestyle.
How Our Arthritis Care Plan Works
1. Get To The Root Cause of The Problem
Pain is not the problem, it is merely alerting us to the problem. We follow your pain to the root of the problem, so we can uncover your body’s seen and unseen dysfunction. Addressing that underlying dysfunction will lead to long-term, sustained health and well-being.
2. Create The Best Plan of Action
A one-size-fits-all solution won’t work – even for two patients with the same issue. We create a plan of action that is based on your unique situation and health goals, ensuring the solution suits you and not the other way around.
3. Get Back To Living Your Best Life
Our body is capable of incredible things. You deserve a life of abundant joy. Illness or injury interferes with that life, making simple tasks more difficult and draining your energy. A body in full health is able to flourish, unleashing your full potential onto the world.
Chiropractic Treatment of Arthritis
You’ve probably considered visiting a chiropractor if you’ve experienced back discomfort or a stiff neck due to arthropathy or an injury. While it is true that chiropractors modify or manipulate the spine to reduce pain and increase the range of motion, the advantages may go beyond the back and neck.
Chiropractors attempt to enhance the connection between the spine and nervous system, which impacts the function of all the organs and systems in the body. Regular chiropractic appointments can improve overall health and aid with back pain and other symptoms brought on by a misaligned spinal column. To help treat inflammation and pain, they can also work with their patients to design exercise regimens and dietary changes.
Medication is the most popular treatment for this condition since it helps lessen pain, swelling, and inflammation. While drugs are effective, they have long-term health concerns, including internal bleeding, stomach lining damage, and impaired healing. But managing arthritis can be significantly aided by the natural approach of chiropractic care.
By seeing a chiropractor, you can lessen your dependency on these medications while managing your pain and symptoms naturally. Chiropractic care can:
- Keep your spine aligned to increase your range of motion.
- Increase flexibility and endurance
- Boost your muscular strength and tone
- Assist you in creating a diet and nutrition strategy to reduce inflammation naturally
Additionally, chiropractors might suggest an arthritis-friendly workout program. The American Chiropractic Association states that this is essential for controlling your symptoms.
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Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 types of arthritis, each with its characteristics and causes. The most common types include:
This is the most prevalent form of arthritis, typically occurring with age or due to joint wear and tear. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, leading to friction between bones and causing pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine, but it can also involve the hands and other joints.
Unlike osteoarthritis caused by joint degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. This leads to inflammation and eventually damages the cartilage and bones. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple joints simultaneously and cause systemic symptoms like fatigue and fever.
Gout is a form of arthritis that results from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. It causes sudden and severe joint pain, swelling, and redness, typically affecting one joint at a time. The condition most commonly affects the joint at the base of the big toe but can also occur in other joints, such as the ankles, knees, hands, wrists, and elbows.
Under normal circumstances, uric acid dissolves in the blood and is excreted from the body through the kidneys in the urine. However, in some cases, the body may produce too much uric acid or have difficulty eliminating it efficiently, leading to elevated levels in the blood.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in some individuals with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis typically affects people with psoriasis, but in some cases, joint symptoms may appear before the skin manifestations. This condition involves joint inflammation and can affect various parts of the body, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I prevent arthritis?
Your risk of acquiring arthritis can be decreased by:
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Exercising without bearing weight and with minimum impact
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular chiropractic care
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
The most common symptoms of this condition include pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness, and fatigue. The specific symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition.
How is arthritis treated?
While conventional medicine may treat arthritis with medication and steroid injections, chiropractic care is a natural, non-invasive approach to managing arthritis symptoms. Chiropractic aims to address the underlying causes of arthritis to relieve pain and other symptoms.
When should I see my doctor?
There are several causes of joint pain and swelling. An injury, overuse, or brand-new physical activity could bring it on. Pain is the body’s way of alerting us to a problem, so pain should not be ignored.
See a doctor if you have pain and stiffness that begins suddenly, lasts more than a few days, and results in swelling, redness, and warmth. It’s critical to start treatment as soon as possible to stop the problem from worsening and creating long-term harm.