Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis degenerative joint disease, OA, or osteoarthrosis, is a form of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and the eventual loss of cartilage in the joints – the cartilage wears down over time.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, USA:
- Women are more affected by osteoarthritis than men after the age of 50.
- Symptoms typically start after 40 years of age, and progress slowly.
- In America, loss of joint function due to osteoarthritis is a major cause of work disability and reduced quality of life.
- In America, arthritis and related conditions, such as osteoarthritis cost the country almost $128 billion annually in medical care and indirect expenses, including lost income and productivity.
- The average direct cost of osteoarthritis in America is about $2,800 per patient annually.
- The total annual cost of osteoarthritis per person living with the condition is about $5,700.
Osteoarthritis has as its main symptoms:
- Problems moving affected joints.
- Stiffness – more severe on waking up in the morning, and improves within 30 minutes when the individual starts moving about.
Ok, so you probably know how uncomfortable it is or how uncomfortable a friend or family member is living with this condition. These alternative treatment options are what we offer at our clinic, and like with every condition we have a holistic approach to OA, and we treat the cause and not the symptoms like western medication mostly do.
Some clinical studies indicate that spinal manipulation may:
- Increase range of motion
- Restore normal movement of the spine
- Relax the muscles
- Improve joint coordination
- Reduce pain
A review of the scientific literature suggests that chiropractic, especially when combined with glucosamine supplements and stretches and exercise, helps treat OA. Chiropractors will avoid using direct thrusts or pressure on red, swollen joints.
Physical therapy can improve muscle strength and motion at stiff joints. Physical therapists have many techniques for treating OA.
Manual therapy and supervised exercise may help you put off joint replacement surgery for a time or even avoid it. In one study of people with OA of the knee, those who got manual therapy to the lumbar spine, hip, ankle, and knees showed the following improvements:
- Less stiffness
- Reduced pain
- Improved functional ability
- Improved walking distance
- Less need for knee surgery 1 year later
Illness occurs when this energy flow is disrupted or becomes unbalanced, the theory goes. Precise insertion of acupuncture needles is said to restore the flow of this essential energy and improve health.
Western medicine doesn’t recognize the concepts of qi and meridians. However, a solid body of scientific evidence suggests alternate explanations for why acupuncture might provide pain relief.
“There’s a lot of research that says when we put an acupuncture needle into the body, a number of physiological mechanisms occur,” says Brian Berman, MD, a professor of family and community medicine and director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine.
A well-placed needle insertion sets off a cascade of events, Dr. Berman explains, producing a signal that travels along the spinal cord to the brain, triggering a release of neurotransmitters called endorphins and enkephalins, which scientists believe reduce the sensation of pain. Research also shows that the inserting an acupuncture needle induces production of cortisol, a hormone that helps to control inflammation. Acupuncture may stimulate activity of other pain-relieving chemicals in the body, as well.