While there are many types of arthritis, not all will respond to chiropractic care. For example, patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis generally respond better under the care of a qualified rheumatologist.
In a chiropractic office, the most common form of arthritis we deal with is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is also referred to as spinal decay, “wear and tear” arthritis, spinal degeneration, or bone spurs.
Osteoarthritis is not really a “disease” as much as an indicator that your spine has not working the way it’s supposed to for some time.
In a healthy functioning spine, there is movement at all spinal joints. This movement allows for normal blood flow in that area, which nourishes the joints of the spine. When a vertebrae gets stuck, out of alignment, or both — it’s no longer receiving the normal blood flow and nourishment that it should.
Once the joint becomes stuck, it will start to degenerate and break down. The ligaments that connect the vertebrae start to calcify, giving the appearance of a bone spur on x-ray. This is a slow, but steady process and we’ve seen x-ray evidence of this process on patients that have brought in several years worth of x-rays.
To stop the degenerative process from continuing, you need to restore normal movement in the spine through chiropractic adjustments. The chiropractor will look for the areas of your spine that aren’t moving properly and perform an adjustment to restore normal movement.
This is just one reason why patients continue to get adjusted even after all of their pain is gone. In addition to wanting to feel their best, they look to do more preventative measures in helping their body work at its best. One of the bad things about this process is that it can occur completely painlessly, so you won’t even know you have a problem until it’s progressed a long way.
Once the degeneration has reached the point where the spinal joints have fused together, there’s no way for a chiropractor to get that joint moving again. Up until it fuses, we can keep motion in that spinal segment. The further along the degeneration scale you go, the less likely it is that we can return your spine to a fully healthy version.
Even though the degenerative process takes time to form, undoing the process takes even longer. However, we can get movement in the spine with just a couple of visits and help you keep this terrible and painless process at bay.
Read more about this condition at the website for the Arthritis Foundation.