What is arthritis?
There are actually many kinds of arthritis. The most common is called osteoarthritis¹. Osteoarthritis is a condition which is caused by the progressive wearing down of joints from pressure over time. Another term commonly used when referring to osteoarthritis is degeneration. Another form is rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory arthritis. This is an autoimmune condition which causes the immune system to attack the joint surfaces, breaking them down when it shouldn’t be.
In this blog post, I’ll touch on the basics of osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis affecting Australians today. Many people come to Brighton Wellness Group worrying that they might have arthritis, and not knowing what they might be able to do about it. Often, people believe there is nothing they can do about it, and most of the time, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Osteoarthritis often begins with a feeling of stiffness, especially in the morning. Often people with arthritis also describe a feeling of grinding, clicking or popping in the affected joint. As the joint wears down further, pain and increased stiffness often occurs. If there is an acute exacerbation of the arthritic joint, the joint may swell and become increasingly painful. This may be as a result of twisting in an odd way and aggravating the pain, or may happen out of the blue with no known reason.
How common is arthritis?
Arthritis affects around 1 in 7 people in Australia². This is an extraordinarily high statistic, and so anyone who believes they may have arthritis should be assessed by a healthcare professional to determine whether any care is recommended.
One of the reasons why arthritis is so common in humans is because most of us do not use our bodies the way they are built to be used. Many people sit for 8 hours a day at work, or find themselves lifting for work over and over again, putting abnormal stress on their spines. To compare, a study in 2016 examined the remains of aging great apes to investigate rates of arthritis in their relevant populations3. Rates of osteoarthritis in these populations were lower than that of septic arthritis, which is a bacterial infection of the joints. Results found arthritis in 1
out of 34 bonobo apes, 6 out of 79 central and 1 in 26 eastern chimpanzees³. The lower rates of osteoarthritis is interesting when comparing the way apes live to the way we do.
How can chiropractic help with arthritis?
One of the most common symptoms of arthritis is pain, which is something many people come in with on their first visit at Brighton Wellness Group. Quite often, people are unaware that the painful joint is arthritic, they simply feel the pain and wish to investigate it.
The short answer as to whether chiropractic can help arthritis is:
Maybe, it depends on your specific case!
The reason why it is difficult to determine whether we can help is because we require a thorough history and an examination to determine the best course of action. If you have never seen a chiropractor before, give us a call to see if we can help. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to get the best result for each individual person.
1. Arthritis, Arthritis – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2021, from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/arthritis/contents/arthritis
2. Arthritis and osteoporosis, 2017-18 financial year | Australian Bureau of Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2021, from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/arthritis-and-osteoporosis/latest-release
3. Lowenstine, L. J., McManamon, R., & Terio, K. A. (2015). Comparative Pathology of Aging Great Apes: Bonobos, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and Orangutans. Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.1177/0300985815612154, 53(2), 250–276. https://doi.org/10.1177/0300985815612154