By Mark P. DiRoma, DC –
Arthritis Pain and Inflammation
The term “Arthritis” is often used as a catch phrase to describe the aches and pains associated with aging. Actually, arthritis is not a single disease; it is a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 conditions that affect people of all ages, races and genders. The types range from those related to wear and tear of cartilage (such as osteoarthritis) to those associated with inflammation resulting from an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis). Together, the many types of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness in the United States. Arthritis is not just a disease associated with aging, 2/3 of all sufferers are under the age of 65 including 300,000 children.
What Causes Arthritis?
To better understand the cause of arthritis let’s look at the anatomy of a joint. A joint is where one bone moves on another bone. Ligaments hold the two bones together. The ligaments are like elastic bands, while they keep the bones in place your muscles relax or contract to make the joint move. Cartilage covers the bone to prevent the two bones from rubbing directly against each other. Cartilage acts as a cushion, allowing the joint to work smoothly and painlessly. A fibrous capsule encloses the joint. The space within the joint capsule- the joint cavity – has synovial fluid to provide nutrients and lubrication to the cartilage of the joint. If you have arthritis, something goes wrong with the joint(s). What goes wrong depends on what type of arthritis you have. It could be that the cartilage is wearing away, a lack of synovial fluid, autoimmunity (your body attacking itself), infection, direct trauma, repetitive micro-traumas, or a combination of many factors.
For most of the twentieth century, it was widely accepted that the diagnosis of Arthritis would mean an end to activities, sports, and the energy that we all enjoy. This does not have to be the case. Although there is not a cure for Arthritis, often times patients just accept the pain and manage it with over the counter or prescription medications. Many of these medications can have significant and dangerous side effects, and do not address the need to proactively manage symptoms.
Managing Arthritis Symptoms: Arthritis can become a manageable ailment that no longer has to be feared. Chiropractic care is one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive treatments available and has proven remarkably effective in treating arthritis and its symptoms. Reduced pain and increased function is the basis for managing the Chiropractor’s approach to treatment combining a variety of techniques and therapies that accommodate the specific aspects of an individual’s condition. In other words, not all patients with Arthritis should be treated with the same technique or treatment protocol. Chiropractic treatment opens up possibilities for maintaining an active lifestyle. It provides not only a resolution of chronic pain, but also addresses the disease by focusing on long-term health and support for chronic conditions and prevention of further joint degeneration.
Diet: Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight supports strong bones and muscles while reducing the strain on joints. To reduce inflammatory symptoms of arthritis and pain associated with the disease, follow the following guidelines:
• Eat Clean by avoiding gluten, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sugar.
• Since food sensitivities are linked to inflammation, understand your food allergens and sensitivities and work to eliminate these foods from your diet. With Specialty Lab blood testing, it can be determined if something you are eating daily is causing or adding to your inflammation.
• Include pharmaceutical grade supplements (as they are controlled for dosage and optimal absorption) that reduce inflammation and support joint health such as: Omega Oils, Probiotics, Vitamin D, Glucosamine/Chondroitin Mix, and Vitamin A. Unpredictable quality of your store bought vitamins and supplements will produce unpredictable results.
What is the difference between food grade and pharmaceutical grade supplements….
the difference is like coal and diamonds! Food grade supplements can allow capsules that include only 20% of what they say they contain, and the FDA allows them to have questionable fillers and binders. Therefore, you really don’t know what you are taking. Pharmaceutical grade supplements must meet the USP, or the United States Pharmacopeia standards. The USP provides assurance to consumers of the purity of the capsule. It must contain in excess of 99% of the ingredients stated. In addition to this, the bioavailability is much higher in pharmaceutical based supplements than that of store or food grade vitamins, allowing it to be better absorbed at a cellular level. It is important to understand the difference between the supplements you buy in the store called “food grade” supplements and the pharmaceutical grade supplements available from a Physician with the proper training and facilities.
Exercise and Physical Therapy: For people experiencing joint pain a walk around the block or swimming a few laps may seem impossible. Many sufferers think exercise will aggravate joint pain and stiffness, this is not case. It’s quite the opposite. Movement and exercise is a valuable tool in the fight against arthritis. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services there is strong evidence indicating that both endurance and resistance types of exercise provide considerable disease-specific benefits for people with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatic conditions. Knowing the correct exercise and the proper way to do it can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints. Proper Exercise and Physical Therapy can:
• Strengthen the muscles around joints
• Help maintain bone strength
• Provide more strength and energy to get through
• Make it easier to get a good night’s sleep
• Help control body weight
• Improve posture, mood, and self confidence
Arthritis does not have to debilitate your life or stand in the way of activities you enjoy. With an individualized treatment plan tailored for your specific symptoms, arthritic condition, and lifestyle you can reclaim you life without the pain associated with this family of diseases. Chiropractic care can offer this holistic approach and get you back in the game of life.
• Arthritis comprises over 100 diseases and conditions.
• 50 Million Americans suffer with arthritis requiring some type of medication to manage acute/chronic pain.
• Arthritis is not just a disease of old age. Twothirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65, including 300,000 children.
• Approximately 1 out of 7 people will be diagnosed with Arthritis at some point in their life.
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