As doctors of chiropractic here in Laurel, MD, some of the most common questions we get have to do with arthritis. Unfortunately, arthritis is one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed health concerns we see in our office.
Arthritis is more complex of a term than most patients realize. In fact, arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe joint inflammation or joint disease. There are four primary types of arthritis that can be categorized into different categories.
- Degenerative Arthritis
- Inflammatory Arthritis
- Infections Arthritis
- Metabolic Arthritis
When most people use the word “arthritis” by itself, they are referring to a type of degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis simply refers to a joint in the body that has worn down over time. This is a type of general wear and tear, and while it is common, it is not a “normal part of aging” to develop arthritis.
When we take x-rays here at our Laurel chiropractic office, we are able to look for signs of arthritis in your films. This will give us a better idea of what is going on in your joints so that we can help you get the proper treatment necessary.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are a few different warning signs that can help you identify the issue at hand. Look for these warning signs to help identify whether or not you may have arthritis.
- Pain- Perhaps the most annoying warning sign of arthritis is pain. While the pain may be constant for some people, for others it may come and go. The pain may occur when you are moving or at rest, and it may occur in one specific joint or you may feel pain throughout the body.
- Swelling- Certain types of arthritis can cause the skin over the affected joint to become swollen and red. Some people even find the swelling is warm to the touch. While not all swelling is alarming, swelling that lasts for three or more days may be cause for concern, and necessitate a trip to the doctor.
- Stiffness- This is the most common arthritic symptom. Many people experience stiffness when they wake up in the morning or after they’ve been sitting at a desk for a long time. While many people experience general morning system, when it lasts for more than an hour, you may have arthritis.
- Difficulty Moving a Specific Joint- It shouldn’t be hard or difficult to get up from your chair at work or to walk up the stairs at night. This can be a sign of arthritis and one that can interrupt your overall quality of life.
If you are experiencing these types of symptoms, make an appointment with one of our doctors here at our Laurel, MD chiropractic office for proper diagnosis. When you visit our doctors, try to make sure you have been keeping track of your symptoms, so we can get a better idea of your experience and your medical history.
What Causes Arthritis?
So, you suspect that you may have arthritis, but what exactly causes this condition?
If you are struggling with osteoarthritis, then it comes from abnormal pressure on the joints that can result in faster than normal wear and tear. There are several factors that can contribute to this extra pressure and stress, including accidents, falls and sports injuries.
Even small injuries that accumulate over time can result in this extra pressure on your joints. This can include sitting for long periods of time at your desk, or just having poor posture. This is why arthritis has become so common.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, this type of arthritis is actually caused by the body’s immune system attacking the lining of the joint capsule. This is the touch membrane around the joint part that encloses all of the joint parts.
This is a serious condition that can eventually destroy bone and cartilage within the joint.
Lifestyle choices, such sitting at a computer all day can increase your likelihood of having arthritis. However, there are other risk factors as well.
How Do I Treat Arthritis?
There are many people who simply use over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory treatments to help with their arthritis. However, solutions such as this only really cover up the side effects associated with your arthritis. This will not do anything for the root of the issue, and will not treat the underlying cause of your arthritis.
Advil will do nothing to better your arthritis. It may, at most, cover up the pain.
Pain is a warning sign that there is a problem going on the body, it is your body’s “check engine light.” When your check engine light comes in, you take your car to the mechanic to get it looked at and to get the issue fixed, right?
You don’t just put duct tape on it. Pain medication is your duct tape.
At our Laurel, MD chiropractic office, we are here to get to the root of the issue for you. We will address any mechanical problems going on in your body that is putting that extra pressure on your jokes. Adjustments will help alleviate the pressure on the joints that contributes to arthritis.
We will also help you with therapies and exercises that can help change the pattern of movement that initially contributed to your arthritis. At its most simple level, arthritis is a direct result of abnormal pressure on the joints—and we are here to correct the issues in your spine and joints that is causing this extra pressure.
We don’t want you to just mask your symptoms, we want to help you get a real solution, so the problem can get better, not worse. If you have questions about your arthritis, or if you are looking for a diagnosis for your pain, stiffness and discomfort, give our office a call. We can help you get the treatment your body needs to thrive in the way it is supposed to.
Call our office directly at 301-776-0755 to talk to one of our doctors, or book an appointment right online with us now.