One of the most common questions asked of chiropractors is whether or not we can help people who are suffering from osteoarthritis. The short answer is yes and no!
Degenerative joint disease is a better way to describe osteoarthritis, since it explains what is actually happening at the joint level. A normal joint has good space between the vertebrae (ie. bones),a smooth cartilage surface and smooth bony surfaces. When there is uneven wear and tear on a joint from either injury or repetitive movement, the joint will not work the way it is designed to and gradually develop a loss of joint space, roughening of the cartilage and bony growths (osteophytes) near the ends of the bones. The degeneration is usually graded mild, moderate or severe.
So, a structural change happens in the joint (which chiropractic care cannot reverse), but if we can keep the joints moving then the degenerative process can be slowed, assuming the cause of the stress on the joint has also been addressed.
How is Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Join Disease diagnosed (DJD)?
While many aches and pains are often attributed to DJD, the only way to properly diagnosis it is with an x-ray. Don’t assume that getting older automatically means a diagnosis of arthritis!
If you do have DJD, there can still be neuromusculoskeletal issues that a chiropractor CAN help resolve. So, instead of assuming that the sole cause of the problem is the degenerative process, a chiropractor will do a full assessment to identify other structural or muscular causes of pain. For example, a person may have DJD in his/her knee and back, but the low back pain is a result of compensating for the knee pain, not the arthritis.
Have an ache or pain that you’d like to get rid of? Drop us a line – we’d love to help.