Arthritis is a common problem with osteoarthritis and rheumatism being the most common types.
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis generally the over 40’s, the worse hit 65+. This is usually a slow, insidious process.
Rheumatism, or rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, can hit hard fast, creating sudden joint inflammation. Sadly, this occurs in younger people, even teenagers.
When former athletes complain of a knee weakness and pain, or when senior citizens complain about joint pain on wet and cold days, these could both relate to osteoarthritis. As we age the cartilage and fluid sacs between their joints begin to disintegrate. Once this mechanism of protection and cushioning is damaged, the bones begin to irritate each other. This, in turn, causes the joints to form irregular deposits called osteophytes or bone spurs which are typical signs of arthritis.
Overuse injuries may contribute to osteoarthritis. Obesity and immobility can also be a factor. Weight gain may lead to increased stress affecting hips, knees and ankles, the three most common places where osteoarthritis develops.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease.
Women are two or three times more likely to develop this than males. The cause of rheumatism is still unknown, but it begins when antibodies begin to attack healthy tissue because the antibodies cannot distinguish healthy cells from unhealthy cells. Eventually, antibodies assault the areas around joints by breaking down bone, ligaments, tendons, synovium, and cartilage, resulting in deformed joints. The disease is first seen in the wrists and hands and can be diagnosed with an X-ray or blood test.
Treating osteoarthritis must start with lifestyle changes. Non-weight exercises such as swimming and bicycling put less, or little, pressure on joints and can strengthen muscles. Floor exercise and yoga, as well as correcting one’s posture, can also help. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints and stretching the tissues at the same time can improve the condition and prevent the further development of osteoarthritis. Pharmacological therapy is mainly used to treat rheumatism but early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better outcome.
For more information talk to your Chiropractor or call us at 5998 4554 to make an appointment.
About the Author:
Dr. Joe Cho is resident Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre. Joe has been living in Melbourne with my family since 2004. He was a mechanical engineer for 9 years in South Korea before becoming a Chiropractor.