When covering the broad topic of arthritis, it is important to clarify the type of arthritis as their are many different types. For this conversation, we will talk about the most common type which is osteoarthritis. This type comes about when the spaces in between your joints throughout your body decrease and change structurally. The most common places these changes occur are the:
- Cervical and Lumbar spine
- AC joint
- 1st carpometacarpal joint (Base of your Thumb)
How does someone get Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis will effect every single individual at older age groups but can develop as early as 40 years old. The difference in age groups is the severity of those degenerative changes in the joint structures. That severity is dictated how much repetitive stress is put on the joints, or “wear and tear”, that specific individual puts on his or her body throughout their life. That repetitive stress on your joints could be from being overweight, hypomobile, and continuous use of certain joint structures.
What are the Signs of Osteoarthritis?
Certain key signs of osteoarthritis are:
- Insidious onset of joint pain
- Pain that steadily increases in severity
- Older aged individuals
- History of severe trauma in your past
- History of repetitive activity
What can I do to prevent/treat Osteoarthritis?
In the event of being diagnosed with osteoarthritis, steps in managing can be confusing and frustrating for the patient. For starters, the video below is from the Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative which describes what you should do for care and treatment. For summary, there’s three lines of treatment:
- 1st line of treatment:
- Education: Learn about the disease and what to do next
- Self-management: How to treat yourself with applications such as when to use heat or cold
- Exercise: Examples include local muscle strengthening or an overall active lifestyle
- Weight-management: Obesity is one of the leading causes to osteoarthritis
- 2nd line of treatment:
- Medication: Such as pain and inflammation management
- Aids and Devices: This include braces, foot inserts, etc….
- Passive treatments: Joint Manipulation, manual therapy techniques
- 3rd line of treatment (only select cases):
- Surgical techniques
- Joint replacement
- Joint fusion
- Surgical techniques