This question is asked frequently by patients visiting chiropractors.
To answer this question, let’s first talk about, “what is arthritis?”
The word “arthritis” is derived from “arth-” meaning “joint” and “-itis” meaning “inflammation.”
Hence, arthritis is basically swelling in the joint.
Many types of arthritis have been identified – in fact, over 100!
Some types of arthritis are primary (not caused by anything that can be identified), while others are secondary to a disease or other condition.
The 9 most common primary forms of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, gout, pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Still’s disease, and ankylosing spondylitis.
The most common type that virtually affects everyone sooner or later is osteoarthritis. This is basically the wearing out of the joint, which usually seen in the older person but can be found at any age after trauma or injury occurred or, after an infection in the joint.
The next most common is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease where the person’s antibodies attack the joint (and possibly other tissues as well). This can occur at a young, middle or older age, whenever the body is triggered to produce the joint attacking antibodies. Crystals deposited in joints can injury the cartilage surface of which the most common is gout- often attacking the base joint of the big toe, and pseudogout.
SO NOW THE QUESTION – CAN CHIROPRACTIC PREVENT SOME FORMS OF ARTHRITIS?
The answer is yes…. sometimes. For example, when a spinal joint is fixated, stuck, or subluxated, the normal biomechanics of the spine are altered because of the faulty movement between the vertebrae.
Restoring movement can restore proper function so excess forces are not exerted on the adjacent levels.
A good example of this is when 2 or 3 vertebrae are fused together (surgical or congenital), the levels above and below the fusion have to work harder for the spine to move and function and tend to become osteoarthritic sooner than the other non-fused levels.
From a more broad approach, lifestyle changes including exercise, weight management, the use of a brace or splint, certain medications and dietary supplements can be helpful as well.
Exercise, in particular, can have significant benefits to the joint surface in both pain relief and slowing down or even stopping the degenerative process (osteoarthritis).
Diet emphasizing an anti-inflammatory approach includes the paleodiet or caveman diet where grains/glutens are avoided and lean meats, fruits, and vegetables are emphasized (see http://www.paleodiet.com/ and http://www.deflame.com/).
Here is a list of websites that offer additional information: