Signs and Symptoms
decreased range of motion
There are two main types of arthritis that damage the joints in different ways:
Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis, this is a wear-and-tear type of arthritis that results from years of improperly supported skeletal structures. Obesity, inactivity, and poor posture all can lead to osteoarthritis, which involves the calcification of ligamentous tissue, resulting in a decreased range of motion, stiffness, and painful result.
Rheumatoid arthritis: In this condition, the body's immune system attacks the joint capsule, specifically a tissue known as the synovial membrane. The synovial membrane, over time, becomes inflamed and swollen and can eventually lead to a cartilage destruction within the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is less common than osteoarthritis.
The Medical Approach
Treatment is different for the two main types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is typically treated with over-the-counter NSAIDs, analgesics, or corticosteroid injections. Rheumatoid arthritis is often treated medically with immunosuppressant drugs such as Remicade or Humira. Unfortunately, these medications come at a cost. Some of these drugs damage the liver and stomach, while others can damage the immune system, leading to a variety of cancers following long-term use. Always be aware of side-effects when considering treatment.
The Surgical Approach
Joint Repair: In mild cases of osteoarthritis, it is possible for surgeons to smooth the involved regions enough to slow the degenerative process.
Joint Replacement: This procedure is extremely invasive and involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial one.
Joint Fusion: This is typically done for small joints like in the wrist, or spinal bones, where the ends of two bones are joined together turning that joint into one solid rigid unit.
The Non-Medical Approach
The non-medical approach to treating arthritis are typically natural pain-management techniques: acupuncture, glucosamine supplements, yoga or tai chi, and massage.
The Chiropractic Approach
Chiropractic does not treat symptoms. The only health condition treated by chiropractic is subluxation. Subluxations have a negative effect on almost every tissue in the body. They cause an inflammatory response that can interfere with normal physiology, biochemistry, and function of otherwise healthy tissue. Subluxations may, therefore, lead to the development of many health conditions. One study showed a group of patients who were diagnosed with degenerative and posttraumatic osteoarthritis experienced restoration of joint space following upper cervical chiropractic adjustments.