Live Well With Arthritis
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.