Either you have it – or you’ll get it !
If you don’t already have osteoarthritis, it is almost a certainty that you will get it. Statistics show that about half the population have it at 40 years of age and that almost everyone over 60 is affected by it.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease, which is characterised by gradual damage and destruction of the joint cartilage. Symptoms of osteoarthritis vary depending of the joint it affects.
- Acute locking and stiffness of the neck or lower back.
- Back and neck pain
- Pain and stiffness in the affected joint (hip, knee, toes and fingers).
HOW IS OSTEOARTHRITIS DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis is made on the basis of an XRay examination. The appearance of cartilage thinning and the formation of bone changes is indicative of the disease. It is not possible to see the earliest changes of osteoarthritis on an X-Ray but we know that abnormal curves of the spine and abnormal joint position already within a few weeks begin to affect the cartilage adversely.
There are two types of treatment for osteoarthritis. One is symptom based whereas the other is focussed on treatment of the disease itself.
Symptom based treatment involves most commonly either pain killing antiinflammatory medication (Aspirine, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac Sodium, Naproxen) or joint injections (steroids). For more advanced disease the treatments involve either burning of the nerves (denervation) or joint replacement surgery.
The side effects of anti-inflammatory medication can be stomach ulcers and long term use can cause an acceleration of the osteoarthritis itself.
Disease Focused treatment
It is clear that a treatment approach, which aims to maintain the joints’ normal function and thereby delays the advancement of the disease process is to be preferred. Treatment should combine the following:
- Correction of the restricted joints with chiropractic treatment
- Stretching & Exercise
- Glucosamine sulphate
The above treatment as a ‘package’ is an effective strategy aiming not only to minimise or remove pain, but also to achieve the best possible function of joints and muscles, and help prevent setbacks.
Your body’s cells and organs communicate with your brain via the nervous system. Nerves travel up and down your arms and legs and send messages through your spinal cord to and from the brain. If there is any disruption or interference to the nerves this communication will be compromised. It does not take a science degree to understand that your body will then function less well, and your health can suffer.
The body requires a certain amount of rest in order to function efficiently. During rest some aspects of your body slow down whereas others are more active to help digestion, growth and repair of damaged cells. Some people function well with 5 or 6 hours per day, and others may need 8-9 hours. Similarly a baby needs different amounts of rest to an adult and not getting sufficient rest is one of the first barriers to natural healing.
If you want to recover in the quickest possible time make a decision to get sufficient rest – starting tonight.
You are what you eat. Your body has evolved to extract energy and ‘building blocks’ for growth and repair from just about anything you eat. It is no secret that your diet affects your health. But there is no need to convert to vegetarianism – your body was designed to consume both meat and vegetables.
Although we regularly hear of exotic foods that may have ‘super’ qualities, the truth of the matter is that you can be 100% healthy with quite ordinary foods.
Numerous studies identify that regular exercise has dramatic positive effects on a person’s health. Whether you cycle, run, play tennis, bowls, pilates, yoga even gardening – these are all good choices.
Exercise helps regulate your digestion, strengthen muscles, increase your energy levels, improves your self-confidence and helps you get a better and more restful night’s sleep.
Exercise should help you rely less on treatments and more on your own efforts. It’s not only better but may also save you money in the long run.