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Joint WEAR AND TEAR
Chiropractic – can’t stop you getting old, but might stop you feeling it!
Like tooth decay, degeneration of your joints begins without you knowing. Like the hard skin on an often-rubbed toe, it happens –slowly – to all of us. The general wear and tear of a lifetime results in joints laying down extra areas of bone in an attempt to support the damaged area. Generally, our bodies compensate for this, and we feel little or no pain – even if the wear and tear is quite advanced. However, slight loss of proper movement in a worn joint may cause nerve irritation and inflammation, which could lead to pain.
Arthritis, spondylitis or rheumatics are names normally given to the pain and stiffness resulting from wear and tear to your joints. They can occur in any joint of your body, including your spinal vertebrae, but chiropractic may often relieve the pain.
There are however, some types of arthritis – such as rheumatoid arthritis – that also involves periods of inflammation and destruction of the joints causing severe pain. Although chiropractors cannot treat the cause to this kind of arthritis, they may be able to help relieve the disability that results from it once the inflammatory phase is over.
Other joint problems, caused by repeated trauma, that chiropractors treat include:
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Knee pain
Putting a stop to it
Degeneration of your joints cannot be reversed, but your chiropractor can help to improve muscle and joint function and if necessary, reduce any nerve irritation. Once he/she has examined you fully, discussed your case history with you and, where necessary, taken x-rays, you will be given a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. This may involve often gentle, specific hand movements, known as manipulations, to treat the joints, reducing pain and inflammation. You may also be given advice about healthier habits in your workplace or favourite sport, as well as tips on exercise, diet and posture.
After chiropractic care, your body may become more resilient to further damage. Many chiropractors have a special interest in orthopaedic-related conditions.
Many elderly patients participate in spinal rehabilitation with specially modified exercise programmes.
What about just taking painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs?
These can dull your pain, but it may well return as they do not necessarily deal with the cause. They may also have side effects.
How can chiropractic help joints that are already degenerated?
Degenerated joints are sometimes the result of the surrounding joints not doing their fair share of work, so that the load is not managed equally. Chiropractic aims to restore your normal joint function spreading the load and taking excessive strain away from degenerated joints. Your chiropractors can also give you advice on exercise for maintaining joint function.
Can I still receive chiropractic treatment if I suffer with osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis happens when the amount of calcium in the bones (which gives them strength) is very low and leaves them weak and easily breakable. This is particularly common in women past the menopause. However, having osteoporosis doesn’t mean that you will have a fracture. Your chiropractor will be able to use various modified treatment methods to cater for someone with osteoporosis as well as advise on other available treatments. Chiropractic helps to keep your joints mobile and improve your balance and muscle tone to minimise the risk of falling.