Recently, SportsCare Center Huntington Beach has seen a number arthritis patients seeking chiropractic care after seeing a medical doctor. They want to be treated and address issues, but their medical doctor said they shouldn’t have chiropractic adjustments because they have arthritis or arthritic changes in their neck or lower back.
Without going too deep into chiropractic philosophy or joint physiology, nothing could be further from the truth.
How Arthritis Develops
A healthy joint is one that is free moving and free of excessive biomechanical stress. When joints get locked and are unable to move freely, they can’t get properly nourished. The nourishment of the joint cartilage depends on movement to promote the process of imbibition, which is the taking up of synovial fluid. Even more simplified, when we move, joint cartilage gets squeezed so bad stuff gets pushed out and good stuff goes in to supply the cartilage with necessary nutrients for growth and repair. (This is another reason regular exercise is important for health, and why we added yoga classes to our practice, but that’s another blog post.)
When joints are locked and unable to move freely, imbibition occurs less frequently or not at all. Over time, joints degenerate because they are unable to get the nutrients to rebuild or repair. Eventually, the joints begin to show signs of arthritic changes.
To make matters worse, when spinal bones get shifted out of place, two things happen:
- The normal movement of the joint decreases.
- There are increased biomechanical stresses placed on the joint.
Excessive stress speeds degeneration because the forces cause joint cartilage to wear out at an accelerated rate. Eventually, the accelerated degeneration causes pain, and when x-rays are taken, the joint looks arthritic because of advanced stress.
Chiropractic adjustments repair subluxations (misaligned joints), increase joint range of motion, and reduce excessive biomechanical stress. They also remove nerve pressure, alleviate pain, relieve local muscle spasms (trigger points), release endorphins, and foster a sense of well-being throughout the body.
While chiropractic care can’t reverse arthritic changes, it can stop or slow the degenerative process. Getting regular chiropractic care starting at an early age can prevent arthritic changes in the first place.