My patients have often heard me say Uncle Artie (as in Artie Ritis) was not invited to the party although they either were told their problem was arthritis or they assumed that they had arthritis due to aging.
To diagnose arthritis, you need an X-ray and a blood test. Medical healthcare providers and often patients assume their pain or stiffness is due to arthritis which can be anything from osteoarthritis to an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid or gout.
While it is true that the body has changes that occur over time which we all experience, the truth is that many types of arthritis can be autoimmune which often begins in the gut and results in a systemic disease process to gout which has to do with problems dealing with uric acid.
By far, the most common is osteoarthritis, which is assumed to be due to wear and tear. There is growing evidence that osteoarthritis is caused by systemic inflammation, poor body mechanics, poor adaptations to old injuries, old injuries, and ignorance of mechanical problems from a young age which will destroy joints such as hips, knees, and shoulders.
Medically speaking, many medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories will further joint damage and make problems more chronic instead of solving the reason you experience pain. Years later, the damage shows up on an x-ray which actually may show us a history of malfunction instead of a pathology that is the problem itself. Chronic problems that destroy joints are the main reason so many joint replacements are done. The bad news is, most of these damaged joints could have lasted as long as you do with the proper care and advice in your younger years. Compounding this problem is the one size fits all approach of overspecialized care in our medical system that misunderstands the nuances of movement and why poor movement patterns often result in damaged joints years later.
Currently, the most qualified physician-level providers to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal problems are chiropractors. They are taught to look at the human body holistically and many sports-certified chiropractors will do a much deeper history and are a simple one-stop shop for all things musculoskeletal.
Preventing arthritis requires better hygiene of the musculoskeletal system.
In healthcare, a simple holistic approach to systems that is patient-focused vs. one size fits all when we are all built differently and come from different regional and genetic backgrounds often yields more satisfactory results while reducing costs as well.
Often, the medication approach fails over time because you cannot fix a mechanical problem with drugs. You also cannot fix problems with multi-specialists looking at the parts which is our current model that tries to manage rather than solve why you hurt. Mechanical compensations are obvious if you look at the person holistically, something our medical system is not designed to do effectively.
The chiropractic approach recognizes that most painful problems in joints have to do with poor adaptive movement patterns and improving these reduces or resolves problems such as neck pain, lower back pain, and sciatic pain as well as knee, foot, wrist, or arm pain. The natural holistic approach to improving how you move can significantly reduce the likelihood of osteoarthritis destroying the joints years later due to better spinal hygiene and better care of the human frame.
The NY Times recently published an article suggesting how you can reduce the risk of arthritis which has comments from many experts in the field. You can read the article here.
The article omits very important things you can do such as find a good chiropractor, and have good dietary habits such as reducing sugars and other things that promote inflammation in the body. Health is a lifetime habit, not something you do once you are in acute pain although, that is what makes our phones ring in our offices. Need help today? Book online here.