Healthy cartilage – the body’s built in shock absorber which can be found in all of our joints, is essential to staying fit, active and healthy throughout life, but too often we take it for granted! Aging, wear and tear and injury can all cause degeneration in the cartilage, often leading to a condition known as osteoarthritis. Today, Dr. Paul Irvine discussed ways that osteoarthritis can be prevented and managed.
Osteoarthritis is a condition we see very often here at complete chiropractic – it most commonly affects the hands, spine, knees and hips. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, loss of physical function , immobility of the joint and associated muscle weakness.
Its not surprise osteoarthritis is a regular issue for us, since researchers now say that osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions affecting the aging population worldwide . What’s more, its thought that osteoarthritis is going to become a bigger issue as out population ages. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way! There are many things that you can do to mitigate the risk of osteoarthritis and manage the condition if it does occur.
Regular Chiropractic Care
When spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned, the result is a common disorder known as vertebral subluxation. Because the body functions as a unit , misalignment in the spine may cause a chain reaction , producing misalignment in joints throughout the body – causing greater stress on cartilage. At complete chiropractic, we provide many of our clients with a regular maintenance adjustment, which helps to keep the vertebrae properly aligned – thereby reducing unnecessary wear and tear on the joints. For many, your regular adjustment might be enough to stave off osteoarthritis altogether!
When the condition has already developed, research shows that regular chiropractic care wards off related pain, including lower-back pain. A recent study of 262 patients with LBP secondary to osteoarthritis showed great success in this regard. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either moist heat packs plus chiropractic care or moist heat packs alone. After 20 sessions, extended over a period of several weeks, researchers noted that those receiving chiropractic care reported greater and more rapid pain reduction than the moist heat only group. They also benefited from increased range of motion and an improved quality of life .
Considering the cost of many of the over the counter solutions for osteoarthritis and for back pain a chiropractic adjustment can be very much cheaper and more effective!
If applicable, lose Weight
The act of simply losing weight wont prevent osteoarthritis – if you’re already at a healthy weight , or if regular exercise is physically difficult for you attempting to drop some pounds may not help much – but if you are over weight its something to consider. Obese patients have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee than their leaner counterparts. Dropping weight can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints – which may limit further injury. and increase mobility  .
This is particularly true for older patients, as osteoarthritis of the knee currently affects 40 percent of people over the age of 75 – keep the above in mind though, taking on a strenuous exercise regime al at once might not be the best approach, especially for senior citizens! For more advice please ask us! .
Minimize Red Meat
Believe it or not, Greater consumption of red meat may also be associated with a higher prevalence of degenerative arthritis and soft tissue disorders in both male and female subjects – at least this was the conclusion of researchers from Linda University in Loma Linda, Ca. While we wouldn’t recommend cutting out red meat entirely, you might consider antioxidant rich beans, nuts and other protein sources, if you are at risk of osteoarthritis.
Include avocados and soy beans in your diet
In stark contrast to red meat, a unique compound that combines the health benefits of avocados and soy beans may help to promote cartilage repair Avocado and soybean unsaponifiables (ASU) is an extract prepared from avocado and soybean oil. Experts in Denmark have also shown that this same compound is a powerful antioxidant! It also increases the activity of cartilage-producing cells.
We know that proper exercise and activity goes a long way to promoting health, especially as we age – this is true both for individuals and as a society – but proper exercise might also help to prevent osteoarthritis.
Strengthening exercises, performed with weights or exercise bands, help to strengthen the muscles that support joints and thereby reduce the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Range-of motion activities as well as postural strengthening exercises are also great for keeping joints limber. At complete chiropractic we provide our clients with these kinds of long term strengthen exercises, which can help to prevent a wide variety of problems, all while improving your posture and supporting the spine!
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