Arthritis is a condition which affects the smooth movement of the joints, and while the term usually conjures up images of crippled fingers and hobbled movements, the effects of arthritis can actually range from benign to severe. Regardless of severity, sufferers are sure to be looking for effective arthritis pain relief.
There are several different forms of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis. It first appears in the second and third decade of life, and can become very common by age 70. This does not mean, however, that arthritis only affects the elderly. Some forms of arthritis can appear in childhood and early adulthood. General arthritis symptoms include pain, stiffness, redness, heat and often swelling in inflicted areas.
There are several reasons for arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Some arthritis types have auto-immune causes (when the body begins to attack itself), and others are due to undue stress placed on the joints of your body. People with poor posture, excess weight, injuries or those who work in physically stressful industries are at most risk.
Inside healthy joints, the ends of the bones are covered with a tough tissue called cartilage. This cartilage is smooth and slick, so the bones can move easily. Inside arthritic joints, the cartilage becomes rough and pitted. As the joints wear down, calcium deposits, spurs and swelling may develop. This restricts the movements of the joints and causes pain and inflammation.
Many arthritis sufferers assume that nothing can be done to reverse the degeneration or relieve arthritis pain. Others resort to surgery to replace joints with synthetic devices. In the case of chronic arthritis, the following can assist in reducing the severity of symptoms:
- maintaining healthy balanced diet
- having an active lifestyle
- regular chiropractic care
It is important to maintain as much normal function as possible in the affected areas. This is where chiropractic is of benefit. Specific chiropractic adjustments can help increase motion. These adjustments are effective in reducing pain, improving joint mobility and increasing muscle flexibility for arthritis sufferers.
Chiropractors can also recommend stretches, exercises, and aids available to help improve mobility and range of motion in people with arthritis. Activities such as yoga, swimming and specific joint mobilisation exercises can be beneficial in this respect.