Arthritis is the word used to describe pain in the joints;
it literally means inflammation of a joint.
Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage covering the bones in a joint becomes eroded and roughened. Tendons and ligaments holding the joint together get weaker and the joint itself may become deformed, painful and stiff. Joints which have been injured or subjected to unusual stress, perhaps as the result of a sporting career or heavy manual job, are likely to wear faster.
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare from of rheumatoid arthritis that mainly affects young men. Beginning with pain and stiffness in lower back, thighs and buttocks, it can result in severe inflammation and eventually fusing of some joints of the spine.
After taking a full case history and conducting an examination which may include x-rays if needed, your chiropractor will make a diagnoses and propose a treatment programme. While chiropractic treatment is appropriate for many forms of arthritis, for some it can only give pain relief and you may be referred to your GP for further treatment.
Although the degeneration of joints cannot normally be reversed, your chiropractor can regularly adjust them to keep them healthy and mobile, reducing pain and helping to slow further wear and tear. In addition, chiropractic care can keep your spine free of the nerve irritation which may prevent your body from fighting disease and healing itself properly.
Degenerative changes in themselves need not produce symptoms. They do, however, make the spinal column more susceptible to damage. Regular manipulation by a chiropractor, together with an appropriate rehabilitation and maintenance plan, can improve movement and reduce the stresses that may cause pain in the future.
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This article was written by the British Chiropractic Association.