Everybody ages, no matter how immaculate our healthy lifestyles are. With age comes natural degeneration, as well as wear and tear. Diet and exercise aren’t the only determinants of how a body will change as the years go by. Whether you’re sedentary or active, an all-organic dieter, or a mixed eater, factors like genetics, stress, sleep, and self-care all play into the way your body will age. Given that aging is inevitable, it’s essential to understand how age-related degeneration can affect us and what we can do to prevent and treat it.
What is Arthritis?
So many people have heard the word “arthritis,” but many of us don’t understand it beyond the fundamental concept of “joint inflammation.” The truth is, arthritis is the fundamental cause of many different disorders, and inflammation is just one symptom that can appear. Arthritis is usually accompanied by swelling, pain, stiffness, immobility, and loss of function. Among the many types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, infectious arthritis, gout (known as metabolic arthritis), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and childhood arthritis.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It’s known as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis by some people. The hands, hips, and knees are the most commonly affected joints.
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease in which the cartilage within joints begins to break down, and the bones begin to change. These changes often develop slowly but will eventually get worse over time if not treated. Osteoarthritis can cause intense pain, stiffness, and swelling, making it difficult or even impossible for patients to perform everyday tasks or go to work.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in various parts of the body, making it hard to sleep and causing fatigue. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, which equals to about 2% of the adult population in America. Even though we don’t know what precisely causes it, treatments and management plans are available to help ease symptoms.
Infectious arthritis, also known as septic arthritis, is caused by an infection in the joints. When germs from another area of the body invade a joint or the fluid surrounding it, infectious arthritis can occur. Germs may enter your body during surgery or via open wounds or injections. Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is a bacteria that dwells on healthy skin and causes most cases of infectious arthritis. A virus or fungus might also induce inflammatory arthritic symptoms. Infectious arthritis is usually only seen in one joint.
Infectious arthritis usually manifests when an infection based in another area of the body spreads through the bloodstream to the joint. Rarely, the infection enters directly through a surgery or wound near the joint.
Gout is a common type of arthritis that causes inflammation and severe pain. It often only affects one joint each time, most commonly the big toe joint. There are times when symptoms intensify, called flares, and other periods with no symptoms called remission. Recurrent episodes of gout can degenerate into gouty arthritis, a more serious form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis often attacks numerous joints simultaneously, especially those in the hands, wrists, and knees. When rheumatoid arthritis is present in a joint, the lining around it becomes inflamed and starts to damage nearby tissues. If this tissue damage is severe or chronic enough, it can lead to pain, an inability to balance oneself, and even visible deformities.
Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t just affect bones and joints; it can also cause problems for other organs like the lungs, heart, eyes etc., by causing inflammation in them as well.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects many different body systems. An autoimmune disease happens when the immune system mistakes its own tissues for foreign intruders and attacks them.
Lupus symptoms are often very vague, which makes the disease hard to diagnose. Lupus is commonly referred to as “the great imitator” because its symptoms can mimic those of other diseases. Lupus symptoms range from mild to life-threatening, so it’s important that the disease is diagnosed early and treated by a rheumatologist—a doctor who has specialized training in diagnosing and treating arthritis, lupus, and other joint-related diseases.
Arthritis in children is known as juvenile arthritis or childhood arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, often known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most frequent form of childhood arthritis.
Childhood rheumatoid arthritis can cause long-term joint damage. This harm might make it difficult for children to walk or dress, and it may lead to disability.
Arthritis and Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care can be a very therapeutic treatment for those suffering from any form of arthritis. Because arthritis often targets the bones and joints—which chiropractic is known to treat—chiropractic care can work harmoniously with other interventions to help reduce swelling and inflammation, combat pain, and improve mobility.
Short of surgery, there are very few treatments offered by traditional medical care for arthritis. Typically, medication, surgery, and physical therapy are the medical standards of treatment for arthritis, and aside from these interventions, there seems to be no medical cure.
On the other hand, chiropractic care provides a non-invasive therapy that can provide real, rapid benefits to those suffering from arthritis. Because of the sensitivity of the joints, a chiropractor may or may not use adjustments as a form of treatment. Chiropractors, in particular, Chiropractic BioPhysics® certified chiropractors, have hundreds of techniques and processes in their arsenal that they may utilize to improve the condition and sensation of arthritic joints.
A Chiropractic BioPhysics® certified chiropractor will take an x-ray before beginning treatment on an arthritic part of the body. X-rays allow the chiropractor insight into the condition of the joints, and the visual, combined with a self-report from the patient about what living with their symptoms feels like, will allow your expert chiropractor to create a treatment plan for you.
Once your chiropractor has identified which techniques your body will tolerate best, you can expect chiropractic care that is gentle and attuned to your body (and whether or not you are experiencing a flare-up). Among the types of care you can expect to receive are Chiropractic BioPhysics®, ultrasound, electrotherapy, low-level/cold laser therapy, and infared heat application.
What is Osteoporosis?
Like arthritis, osteoporosis is a bone and joint disorder that can wreak havoc on your health and lifestyle. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone creation can’t keep up with the loss of old bone. The body constantly breaks down and replaces bone tissue, but sometimes this process isn’t equal, and more bone is lost than is replaced.
Osteoporosis makes bones fragile and weak to the point where even a cough or bending over could lead to a fracture. Fractures caused by osteoporosis usually happen in the hip, wrist, or spine.
Osteoporosis affects both men and women of all races, although it is most common among postmenopausal women. A healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises, and supplementation of essential minerals and nutrients might all help to prevent bone loss or improve already weak bones.
There are two main categories of osteoporosis, called primary and secondary osteoporosis. Primary osteoporosis is presumed to be caused by age-related bone loss, and secondary osteoporosis is caused by certain lifestyle behaviors, diseases, or medications. Factors that typically contribute to secondary osteoporosis are hormonal imbalances, exposure to steroidal medications, COPD, asthma, alcoholism, smoking, gastrointestinal disease, hypercalciuria, and lack of physical activity and exercise.
When it comes to standard medical care for osteoporosis, there are two basic models of treatment: repair care, which is the treatment of fractures and injuries from osteoporosis, and medications that slow bone loss. Aside from this, medical doctors (and other health practitioners) often encourage patients with osteoporosis to supplement their nutrition, resistance-train when possible, and adopt activities and habits that will increase their body’s resilience and strength.
Osteoporosis & Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care isn’t a cure for osteoporosis, but it can help to fortify the body against further breaks and damage. A Chiropractic BioPhysics® certified chiropractor will proceed with treatment only after a comprehensive assessment in which x-rays are taken, you’ve both discussed your medical history, and any injuries or diagnoses have been reviewed. At this point, you can expect to receive a complete treatment plan, customized uniquely to your needs.
A chiropractor’s goal for a patient with osteoporosis will be to strengthen the body, ensure that no undue pressure is occurring at the junction of the joints, and encourage healing and rehabilitation if any injuries have already occurred. If you or someone you love is suffering from osteoporosis, chiropractic care may be just what you need to begin encouraging healing and recovery in your body.
To schedule care with a Chiropractic BioPhysics® certified chiropractor, visit our directory. Our chiropractors are trained to develop an individualized plan of care that takes into account any disorders or symptoms you may be experiencing, whether that be arthritis, osteoporosis, or something else that is causing you discomfort or impeding your lifestyle. Additionally, Chiropractic BioPhysics® and chiropractic care are powerful ways to improve your baseline of health, even if you’re already healthy. For more information, contact us today.