"Fourways Chiropractic For the Whole Family"

Chiropractor Fourways Sandton Johannesburg
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Arthritis Treatment Without Medication

what is arthritis

Arthritis is feared by all, but is a natural part of the ageing process. There are many forms of arthritis with osteoarthritis being the most common. Then there is also gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is also described as degenerative joint disease or 'wear and tear' which is very different to osteoporosis which is bone loss disease.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joints is worn down. The causes might be as a result of wear and tear, ageing, trauma injury or misuse. It can be due to either increased forces on a functional joint or a normal force on a dysfunctional joint over time.

Osteoarthritis also includes loss of cartilage, overgrowth of bone and the formation of bony spurs. This causes the bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling and loss of motion of the joint. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint but most often occurs in the hips, knees, hands or the spine.

Arthritic Symptoms

The typical symptoms of arthritis are:

  • Joint pain,
  • Morning stiffness,
  • Buckling of the leg while walking,
  • Instability and loss of function/flexibility.

How to Diagnose Arthritis

To diagnose osteoarthritis, an x-ray would be needed and possibly a blood test to rule out other forms of arthritis. A chiropractor can take an x-ray, process an x-ray and then interpret it also. So a chiropractor may diagnose you with having OA. A patient may also be sent to have a BMD scan (Bone Mineral Density) scan performed in order to see if there is any weakness in the bones, such as osteoporosis.


Treatment Options

Chiropractors cannot reverse arthritic joint changes, but they can help treat the pain and disability symptoms. These symptoms arise from structures, such as joints, not moving properly, and so a chiropractor would aim to re-introduce movement to an area.

If we take the spine for example, a chiropractor can perform manipulation or mobilisation to the back joints, either side of the vertebra, allowing them to glide over each other more easily. You can imagine if you keep a joint still and don't move it that it will eventually stiffen and cause the soft tissues, such as muscles,ligaments and tendons around it to also tighten. Some gentle, controlled joint movement helps stimulate the synovial fluid in the joint and helps to relax the soft tissues around it.

Specific soft tissue techniques on the muscles like trigger point therapy, dry needling acupuncture, active release technique or other fascial treatment may also be performed. It is also important that after a session appropriate arthritis exercise advice given. However, the type of therapy performed depends on the age of the patient and medical history.


Joint Pain Supplements

Glucosamine sulphate has also been shown to have a positive impact in those suffering from osteoarthritis, by reducing pain and stiffness. So to complement your Chiropractic therapy, and for long-term care, your chiropractor may advise you to take glucosamine as a supplement. So if you've been told you have a "degenerating spine" that is causing your pain, then see a chiropractor. If you leave it to get stiffer, it will most likely get worse. Again, osteoarthritis is a natural part of ageing, so something can be done to ease the symptoms that come with a 'degenerating spine'.

For more information about this form of arthritis click here.

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