SM News September 2010
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis
and accounts for 85% of hip and knee replacements. It is a
degenerative disease of the bones and most commonly described as "wear and tear". I tend to describe it as "grey hair for bones" and if you
look hard enough it is present in most people over 55, often without symptoms.
The neck can be viewed as seven differently
shaped blocks balanced on each other separated by cushions (cartilage) and
supported by a system of ropes (ligaments) and springs (muscles). Together they support the head which is roughly the size and
weight of a 10 pin bowling ball. Weaving
through these structures are the nerves and the blood supply to the head neck
and arms. Damage to any these
structures, often traumatic such as car crashes or sporting injuries,
stimulates the normal repair mechanism. However, in some people, perhaps because of the severity of
the trauma, problems with the repair process or repetitive over use (usually at
the computer!), there is continued tissue damage and symptomatic OA results.
Technically, the disease process
involves damage to the load bearing and articulating cartilage, new bone
formation at the joint margins (osteophytes), changes in the bone below the
cartilage (sclerosis), inflammation of the lining of the joint, the synovium
(synovitis), and a thickening of the capsule around the joint.
Treatments for OA are many and numerous. In my experience a multiple approach
addressing all the different aspects of OA has the best results. Chiropractic adjustments will ensure
the head and neck are balanced correctly and that the weight through the neck
is evenly distributed. This will
discourage the formation of osteophytes, improve the range of motion and reduce
the stiffness. A dietary supplement
of Glucosamine sulphate and Chondroitin is now widely accepted as beneficial in
repairing the lining of the joints and cartilage. Exercises will promote synovial fluid (joint oil) production
as well as strengthening the muscles.
Dry Needling (acupuncture) is effective at reducing the pain and a
shaped pillow, that hugs the contours of the neck, will be beneficial at night. Beyond this, many have found that
dietary changes, magnets and topical lotions as well as anti-inflammatory and
pain killing medication will help.
It really is a matter of trying different things and sticking to those
that help the individual.
In summary Osteoarthritis is a condition that can be successfully managed
with a structured care program.
South Street Chiropractic