Arthritis is a form of degenerative disease that can affect different joints within the body, causing pain and stiffness. The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term autoimmune primarily affecting the smaller joints of the body, such as hands, fingers, wrists and feet. The nature of rheumatoid arthritis means it affects the same joints on both sides of the body. I.e in the hands and fingers symmetrically. It can however also commonly affect larger joints such as the hips and knees. The first signs of rheumatoid arthritis are warmth and swelling over a joint, followed by pain and stiffness. Pain and stiffness are often worse after rest i.e in the morning.
Osteoarthritis results from ‘wear and tear’ of the joint, in particular the cartilage. This form of arthritis affects not only the cartilage but the ligaments, muscles and the adjacent bone. Osteoarthritis more commonly affects the larger joints of the body such as knees, hips, the pelvis and the spine resulting in pain, discomfort, swelling and stiffness. Osteoarthritis of the vertebral column (spine) is also known as degenerative joint disease. This condition arises when the spaces between the joints decrease as a response to increased weight-bearing and abnormal structural stress. With the progressive reduction in joint space, the surfaces of the bones start to rub against one another, causing discomfort, swelling and inflammation. The changes that result from osteoarthritis are best visualised with the use of an x-ray or MRI.
What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
A spine with degenerative changes of osteoarthritis has a greater predisposition to experiencing low back pain, neck pain, swelling, muscular hypertonicity and pain radiating down the arms and legs. As the condition progresses, the joints between each spinal segment lose a lot of their motion. This is when you’ll notice you are much less flexible than you may have previously been. The intervertebral discs in between your spinal bones will also become more fibrous and will reduce the ability to act as a shock absorber and in turn, impact movement.
Chiropractic and Arthritis
Chiropractic care can be of benefit to those who experience rheumatoid arthritis by addressing structural shifts in the body; which may be further exacerbating the degree of inflammation and pain at a joint.
Our chiropractors at Sims & Finn Chiropractic are focused on neuro-structural correction of the spine. Improving the structure of the spine allows correct function, in addition to improving the movement of the joints, minimising pain and reducing the degree of stress on the spine.
Hong, Y.. Upper cervical manipulation combined with mobilisation for the treatment of atlantoaxial osteoarthritis: A report of 10 cases. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics. 2011. Vol 34(2); 131-137
Brantingham, J. Spinal manipulation may help reduce spinal degenerative joint disease and disability. Dynamic Chiropractic. 1994. Vol 12(7)