Natural Osteoarthritis pain relief isn’t out of reach – at ChiroCare of Florida, our physicians use multiple treatment techniques to help relieve the discomfort and pain caused by OA.
Affecting over 30 million US adults, osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis, OA typically affects hands, hips, and knees. Known as the most chronic joint condition, osteoarthritis affects cartilage, causing the bones within the joints to rub together, thus leading to bone damage.
Although osteoarthritis can happen in adults of any age, it most commonly affects older people, primarily those over age 40. Osteoarthritis can cause pain and other symptoms that can significantly affect everyday lifestyle activities. And while treatment can help with these symptoms, there is no cure for this condition.
Are you suffering from OA? Discover what chiropractic treatment can do for osteoarthritis symptoms.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by aging joints, wear and tear, sudden injury, and in some cases, obesity. In patients with OA, cartilage within a joint begins to break down, causing the underlying bone to rub against other bones. Defined as a flexible connective tissue, the main function of cartilage is to connect bones together.
Cartilage helps to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a shock absorber for the bones. When OA causes the cartilage to become stiff, it starts losing its elasticity, which makes it more vulnerable to damage. Over time, the cartilage often wears away, which can lead to ligaments stretching, resulting in pain and discomfort. These changes usually develop slowly, however, they do get worse over time if not treated.
Understanding the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Unlike other forms of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis only affects the joints. The most common symptom experienced with OA is joint pain, which gradually worsens throughout the day. However, OA symptoms vary from patient to patient, with some patients experience debilitating symptoms while others experience few symptoms in spite of dramatic joint degeneration.
Osteoarthritis can affect the hands, fingertips, knees, hips, and the spine, particularly the neck or the lower back. The most common OA symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Joint inflammation
- Limited joint mobility
- Tenderness or discomfort
As the degeneration becomes more advanced, pain associated with OA may become more intense. Those with stage 4 or severe osteoarthritis might experience different symptoms including:
- Increased swelling and inflammation
- Increased pain throughout the day
- Noticeably decreased range of motion and flexibility
- Joint instability or the feeling of joints “giving out”
- Muscle weakness
- Bone spurs
- Joint deformity
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Many patients confuse OA with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as both conditions share similar symptoms. However, they are very different conditions. On one hand, OA is considered a degenerative disease, which means it can develop and evolve over time. On the other hand, RA is an autoimmune disorder and can also affect internal organs.
Chiropractic Care for Osteoarthritis
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, which means OA treatments are centered on managing symptoms by using a combination of different therapies. Many patients seek pain management via over-the-counter medications and analgesics. However, these methods are only masking the pain instead of providing a long-term symptom management solution.
Many patients with OA and other degenerative conditions report seeing a significant improvement in managing their symptoms with natural treatments such as chiropractic care and massage therapy.
Benefits of Joint Manipulation
For chronic conditions, chiropractic care can provide help to ease the symptoms. For osteoarthritis episodes, joint manipulations performed during a chiropractic adjustment can be helpful. Because joint dysfunction produces pain, mobilizing the joints through manipulation can restore the alignment and help decrease that pain.
In addition, chiropractic adjustments also support proper function of the nervous system by removing any subluxation that’s interfering with nerve flow. By maintaining spinal alignment, chiropractors also foster joint flexibility, increased mobility, and overall well-being.
When a spinal adjustment is too forceful, another joint manipulation technique known as traction can also be used to provide symptom relief.
Complementary Osteoarthritis Treatment
While joint manipulation is the core of OA treatment, at ChiroCare of Florida our qualified chiropractors are trained in all matters of the musculoskeletal system. By combining spinal adjustments with other anti-inflammatory treatments, we can effectively manage your osteoarthritis symptoms.
Massage Therapy: Combining spinal manipulations with therapeutic massage can help to improve circulation, decrease swelling, and effectively help reduce OA pain symptoms. Massage therapy also helps in reducing stress and muscle tension, which helps with motion and flexibility.
Acupuncture: Many patients report feeling energized and relaxed after receiving acupuncture treatment. Patients with OA can use acupuncture to replace conventional painkillers, promote relaxation, and effectively manage their symptoms.
Electric Stimulation (E-Stim): Through this technology, chiropractors deliver small amounts of electricity to reduce the sensitivity of nerves and helping to reduce pain symptoms.
Weight Management: In addition to specialized treatments, patients with osteoarthritis who are obese can significantly benefit from weight management programs. Weight loss can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints and reduce the advancement of joint injury and degeneration.
Is Osteoarthritis Treatment Right for You?
Chiropractic treatment is safe and effective, especially for those with osteoarthritis. However, for those with severe OA, the aggressive manipulation of joints could result in further injury, which is why disclosing your OA stage is critical to properly personalize your chiropractic treatment.
For this reason, your first visit at ChiroCare of Florida begins with a comprehensive medical history and physical examination. By doing this, our chiropractors can determine the right approach to your body’s needs. If spinal manipulation is not right for you, other treatments and proper lifestyle guidance can help to lessen OA symptoms while reducing pain management medication dependency.
Don’t let your osteoarthritis symptoms stop you from enjoying your life and being active. Fight back against debilitating OA symptoms and reclaim your pain-free life once and for all. Contact ChiroCare of Florida to schedule an appointment at one of our 11 conveniently located facilities throughout South Florida. A caring and qualified chiropractor will be ready to answer all your osteoarthritis questions and help you get started with your OA treatment.