Posted By Gwinnett Medical Back & Neck Pain || 4-Mar-2018


According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis (OA) affects approximately 27 million Americans. It’s the most common chronic condition of the joints! Also called degenerative joint disease, the disease can be found in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.

As the Arthritis Foundation explains, “In normal joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones.” Those who suffer from osteoarthritis are experiencing the pain and discomfort that occur when the cartilage in their joint(s) breaks down. Swelling and stiffness often accompany the pain.

There is no cure, so over time, osteoarthritis will continue to progress. Patients may develop bone spurs, bits of bone or cartilage may become trapped in the joint, causing further irritation. “In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain,” the Arthritis Foundation says.

Who is at risk of developing osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is generally associated with patients older than 65, but it can affect others. In addition to advancing age, the Arthritis Foundation cites the following common risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Previous joint injury
  • Overuse of the joint
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Genes

If your job required repetitive motions or if you hurt your knee playing sports as a kid, you are at a higher risk of developing this degenerative joint disease. Losing weight and exercising lessen the risk in others.

Still, as the Arthritis Foundation reports:

  • Of those 60 years or older, one in 12 will suffer from OA in the hand.
  • One in four adults will develop symptoms of hip OA by age 85.
  • Half of all adults will experience the symptoms of knee OA during their lives.

Chiropractic Care for Osteoarthritis

The Arthritis Foundation says there are a number of ways that chiropractors can help those who suffer from osteoarthritis. “A chiropractor may gently manipulate your soft tissue to stop muscle spasms and relieve tenderness. Or she may use active exercises or traction to slowly stretch your joints and increase your range of motion,” they report on their website https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/chiropractic-medicine.php. “Your visit may feel like a more hands-on version of physical therapy.”

Chiropractors use a holistic approach to treating osteoarthritis, focusing on the relationships between structure and function. When the structure has degenerated, the joint won’t work as it is intended to. “The place where chiropractic really shines is in maximizing the function of an arthritic joint,” Robert Hayden, DC, PhD, a spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association who has been in private practice for 22 years, told the Arthritis Foundation. “Our goal is to restore patients’ function so they can have the kind of life they want.”

Osteoarthritis in the Back and Neck

Neck pain that gets progressively worse over time may be a symptom of osteoarthritis. Typically, the pain might radiate into your shoulders and arms, and you may feel numbness or tingling in hands and fingers. Other symptoms of arthritis may include headaches, dizziness, and even a grating / grinding feeling when you move your head. It is very important for your chiropractor to examine you to rule out osteoarthritis or identify it and see that it is properly treated.

According to Scott Haldeman, MD, a neurologist in Santa Ana, California and Chairman Emeritus of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic, who is quoted on the Arthritis Foundation’s website, “If you have back or neck pain due to osteoarthritis, chiropractic is one of the safest therapies you can use.”

If you would like to speak to a chiropractor for neck pain you are experiencing, call Gwinnett Medical Clinic for a free consultation. Same-day appointments are available with our experienced chiropractors in Norcross GA and Lawrenceville GA. We can also assist you with transportation to and from appointments at our Gwinnett Medical Lawrenceville location as well as with our Norcross chiropractors.

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