Do You Understand Arthritis?

Yes we all know it is painful however here are some clinical considerations leading to a true diagnosis of arthritis. Pain is the most obvious implication of arthritis that is easy to understand especially if you have arthritis in the feet or hand. There are extensive nerve endings in the extremities. One reason arthritis of the hands and feet are particularly painful is because these areas receive both motor and sensory nerve innervation. So you are feeling pain doubly so from the motor nervous system and the sensory system. Basically a double whammy when it comes to pain.

There are several types of arthritis. The most common is degenerative joint disease. This is your typical age related type of arthritis. As people age you will see their fingers become knotted, this is an example of osteoarthritis which is synonymous with degenerative joint disease. The next type of arthritis is psoriatic arthritis. Most people are familiar with golfer Phil Mickelson advertising a drug for psoriatic arthritis. This is an inflamatory condition of the skin (psoriasis) and joints which cannot be cured. There is no known cause however there is a genetic predisposition to this type. Next there is rheumatoid arthritis, which is characterized by chronically swollen and painful joints throughout the body. Sadly this is not curable as well and is often treated with cancer drugs to combat the swelling. Lastly there is gout which is random type of extremely painful arthritis tied into dietary issues and genetic predisposition. The episodes of gouty arthritis usually affect the feet or legs and can occur unprovoked.

The next thing to consider in arthritis is the joint surface where two bones comes together. When arthritis becomes chronic there will be erosion of the joint. The bone will change it’s shape based on the stress put on it. Over time the bone will deform and degenerate adding more pain and swelling. All arthritis sufferers will tell you that there is pain and swelling in varying degrees. The medications used in treating arthritis are very powerful so there can be systemic implications involving the liver. Less powerful but equally damaging nsaids will affect the gastrointestinal system with long term use.

Natural cures for arthritis exist with the most common being cold or heat application. Exercise makes sense to enhance mobility because loss of mobility is a major problem for arthritis sufferers. This is where chiropractic care comes into play. The chiropractor treating arthritis will see mainly osteoarthritis cases. By increasing mobility you will decrease pain in the joint. The chiropractic adjustment for arthritis can mitigate the swelling by reducing inflammation caused by joint tension. While chiropractic care can help mobilize all joints and reduce pain it will not address gout, psoriatic and rheumatoid which are considered auto-immune. Chiropractors can help with the pain but not cure these auto-immune arthritis cases.