Chiropractic and arthritis

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Arthritis is basically defined as swelling in the joint. At this point, over one hundred different types of arthritis have been identified. Primary arthritis is defined as arthritis without an identified cause, while other forms of arthritis are secondary to a disease or other condition.

The nine most common primary forms of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, gout, pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Still's disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of primary arthritis. Almost everyone is affected by it sooner or later. This is basically the wearing out of the joint. It is usually seen in the older person, but can be found at any age after trauma or injury to a joint occurred.

The second most common is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease where the person's own antibodies attack the joint (and possibly other tissues as well). This can occur at any age when the body is triggered to produce the joint-attacking antibodies.

How can chiropractic prevent arthritis? When a spinal joint is fixated, stuck, or subluxated, the normal biomechanics of the spine are altered because of the faulty movement between the vertebrae. Chiropractic helps by restoring movement and proper function, so excess forces are not exerted on the adjacent levels. When a joint has proper biomechanics, it reduces the premature wearing of the joint.

A good example of this is when two or three vertebrae are fused together (surgical or congenital), the levels above and below the fusion have to work harder for the spine to move and function and tend to become osteoarthritic sooner than the other non-fused levels.

From a more broad approach to arthritis, lifestyle changes including exercise, weight management, the use of a brace or splint, and dietary supplements can be helpful as well. Exercise in particular can have significant benefits to the joint surface, in both pain relief and slowing down - or even stopping - the degenerative process. Diet emphasizing an anti-inflammatory approach includes the paleo diet, where grains and glutens are avoided, and lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are emphasized.

Most people only think about visiting their chiropractor after an accident, or injury, or when they are in pain. But the fact remains that preventative chiropractic care is just as important as acute care, especially if you are looking for long-term results. Through preventative chiropractic treatments, you can improve your overall quality of life and strive for optimum wellness. Preventative treatment incorporates regular chiropractic adjustments and counseling that can assist those who want to promote wellness and improve their quality of life.

It is not unusual to have degenerative changes in the spine that will cause chronic or recurring back pain over time. Research shows that more regular chiropractic treatment can prevent degenerative changes from developing.

There are many other benefits to preventative chiropractic care. Better sleep quality has been reported including longer, sounder sleep following adjustments. Many patients also report improved digestive health- less indigestion, heartburn and bowel irregularity after an adjustment. Research also shows that chiropractic care improves your central nervous system, thus improving your immune system. Another benefit reported following chiropractic care is less anxiety. Adjustments help to quiet down the body's response to stress.

You can use preventative care in order to prevent future pain or health problems, prevent a relapse and improve overall health. Spinal adjustments and exercise help your body stay at its best and enable your own natural healing abilities.

Your spine is a very important, delicate structure and unlike teeth, it is not replaceable. Statistics have shown that only about 1/3 of all spinal surgeries can be deemed successful upon completion. A little preventative chiropractic care early in life can go a long way in maintaining your spinal health for years to come.

While preventative care is one of the best ways to assure continued spinal health, there are some steps you can take at home in conjunction with regular care: Maintain a healthy diet and weight, avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest, warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities, maintain proper posture, and wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.

Whether you want to make smarter lifestyle decisions, improve your exercise routine, or learn the importance of spinal health, preventative chiropractic care may be the solution for you.

For more information, contact Dr. Wendy at haydenhealth@gmail.com.

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