There are many names for arthritis including degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis. Let’s break down what this long word ‘osteoarthritis’ really means. Osteo = bone Arthr = joint Itis = inflammation
Unfortunately, arthritis is considered a fairly normal aspect of aging and comes on over many years of wear and tear on the body. Factors that increase arthritis include repetitive motions from work or sports, being overweight, genetics and increased inflammation in the body.
This disease affects the cartilage, which is the covering at the ends of bones where two bones meet to create a joint. This cartilage normally helps bones glide past one another and limits the amount of friction created. Arthritis begins when the protective cartilage breaks down, creating an uneven surface with areas of exposed bone. Bone is much more sensitive to pain than cartilage, which is why there is more pain when the cartilage is lost. When the bones start rubbing against each other people see swelling, loss of mobility and feel pain.
The good news is that you may be able to help or even prevent arthritis!
Any word that ends with “-itis”, like arthritis, means inflammation. One way to help arthritis is to lower the level of inflammation in the body. This can be accomplished through dietary changes and nutritional supplementation. The most pro-inflammatory or inflammation promoting food groups are dairy and grains. By limiting or better yet eliminating these foods from your diet will lower your inflammation. There are also supplements that can be taken to help lower inflammation including MSM, fish oil, flaxseed oil and bromelain, which is found in pineapple.
Another way to keep arthritis at bay is to keep the joints moving. Low impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, tai chi, and cycling are good choices since they put less force through the joints.
Chiropractic care is also helpful to keep the joints moving. Chiropractors are specifically trained to assess the joints throughout the body, not just the spine, to see if minor changes in alignment or adjustments need to be made to improve the joints function. Most patients see an improvement with their overall pain from arthritis with chiropractic care. Chiropractors are also trained to assess and make recommendations about diet and supplements that may help with arthritis.
While you cannot change your genetics or erase the wear and tear your body has taken over the years you can impact how much it affects your daily life. Take the time to see if a natural treatment option can keep you active for many years to come!