Osteoarthritis is a condition in which joint cartilage and underlying bone deteriorates and degrades. The degradation often causes progressive symptoms of pain, stiffness, and even joint and bone disfiguration. It can occur in any joint within the body. Common areas that are afflicted include the spine, knees and hips. It is generally diagnosed with signs, symptoms and X-ray confirmation.
Joints are where two bones meet and that juncture is wrapped in connective tissue and filled with fluid. There are different types of joints that all have motions specific to that type. Spinal joints move in the direction of bending forward, bending backward and some rotation or twisting. This is different compared to a hip joint that is a ball and socket, which allows flexion, extension, moving leg away from body, moving leg toward the body, as well as internal and external rotation. In a healthy body, bones are full of living cells called osteocytes that are going through a constant process of breaking down and reabsorbing bone minerals, and building up new bone, based on joint pressure and other environmental influences.
When joints function and easily move through the full range of motion properly, correct alignment of the bone is maintained; when bone is healthy and being reabsorbed and laid down at a consistent rate, both joints and bones remain healthy and don’t degrade. When the range of motion, alignment, and bone breakdown, the process is off, the joints begin to wear and tear and are under undue stress. Osteoarthritis is the body’s protective mechanism.
With osteoarthritis, initially joint cartilage, tissue and fluid are all negatively affected and get worn out. As a result, the joint motion and function is further impeded and the degradation worsens. When these imbalances have been present for a long enough period of time, the body senses the need to stabilize itself and lays down “extra” bone in places it wouldn’t normally be present. In turn, these boney changes further limit joint motion and function and eventually symptoms appear.
The spine houses and protects the nervous system, which is your master communication system. Proper functioning of the spinal joints is imperative for optimal brain and body communication and for your health. When osteoarthritis is observed in the spine, it is a very clear sign that subluxation (partial misalignment or dislocation) is present and has been for some time. Although osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, when proper motion, function and alignment is re-introduced to the joint on a consistent basis, it is quite logical to infer that it will slow the progression of the condition that is based upon improper motion and function. Chiropractic adjustments restore joint range of motion and regular care from a chiropractor can help in restoration of proper joint function and alignment.
Osteoarthritis is not some wild condition that results for no known reasons. It is degradation based on improper motion, function, and alignment. If people regularly consulted a spinal specialist such as a chiropractor to assess any joint problems and received regular adjustments to correct them, their life and health could be much improved.
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