February Issue

Retirement, we understand, is great if you are busy, rich and healthy. But then, under those conditions, work is great too.

Bill Vaughan

Who suffers?

  • Almost 16 million Americans over ago 60 are afflicted with osteoarthritis.
  • By the year 2020, it is estimated that 60 million Americans will be affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Five percent of those who leave the work force do so because of osteoarthritis. Only heart disease has a greater impact.
  • Before age 45, osteoarthrits occurs more frequently in males. After age 55, it develops more often in females.
  • Although up to 85% of people over 65 show some evidence of osteoarthritis on X-ray, only 35% to 50% experience symptoms.
O steoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common arthritic disease. In addition to man, nearly all vertebrates suffer from osteoarthritis, including porpoises and whales, which discount the theory that the disease is caused by walking upright. Osteoarthritis occurs in the joints of the body when cartilage is damaged or lost and bones begin to undergo abnormal changes.

Joints are designed to provide flexibility, support, stability and protection. These functions, essential for normal or painless movement, are primary functions of cartilage and synovium, the slipper tissues that coat the ends of the bones and the membranes that surround the entire joint. The synovium is filled with lubricating fluid or synovial fluid, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to cartilage. The cartilage itself is composed of water and collagen, which forms a mesh that gives support and flexibility to the joint. This combination of the collagen meshwork and high water content creates a resilient and slippery pad in the joint, which resists compression between bones during muscle movement.

When the cartilage in a joint deteriorates, osteoarthritis develops. In the early stages of the disease, the surface of the cartilage becomes swollen and there is a loss of other tissue parts. Fissures and pits appear in the cartilage and as the disease progress and more tissue is lost, the cartilage loses elasticity and becomes increasingly prone to damage due to repetitive use and injury. Eventually large amounts of cartilage are destroyed, leaving portions of the bone or joint unprotected.

Unlike some other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis concentrates in one or more joints where deterioration occurs. Osteoarthritis affects differently depending on their location in the body. While asteoarthritis is commonly found in the joints of the fingers, feet, knees, hips and spine, it is rarely found in joints of the wrists, elbows, shoulders and jaw.

Osteoarthritis Management

Weight Loss
Overweight osteoarthritis patients can help lesson the shock on their joints by losing weight. Knees, for example, sustain an impact three to five times the body weight when descending stairs. Consequently, a loss of only five pounds can climinate at lease 15 pounds can criminate at lease 15 pounds of stressful impact on the joint. The greater the weight loss, the greater the benefit.

Joints require motion to stay healthy. Long periods of inactivity cause joints to stiffen and the adjoining tissue to atrophy. Exercise helps to reduce pain and stiffness, and increases flexibility, muscle strength, endurance, and a sense of well-being. Patients should avoid high-impact sports such as jogging, tennis and racquetball. Strengthening, exercises include isometric exercises (pushing or pulling against static resistance) and stretching exercises to build strength and flexibility without unduly stressing the joint. Cycling and walking are beneficial and swimming or exercising in water is highly recommended.

Occupational Changes
Once osteoarthritis has been diagnosed, patients should reduce the shock to the affected joints. Continually working deteriorating cartilage is likely to speed up degeneration. People in occupations requiting repetitive and stressful movements should explore ways to reduce trauma. By adjusting the workload and substituting tasks, you can help reduce the stress on joints.

The most common approach to treating arthritis in extremities has been a heating pad, soaking in a hot tub or dropping a hand or finders into a hot paraffin or wax solution. The chiropractic approach to osteoarthritis following a detailed history and examination, is utilize specific chiropractic adjustments designed to improve the motion and flexibility of the joints. This increase motion can improve the function of the joint and its surrounding soft tissues while degrading the symptoms of stiffness, grinding noises and pain most commonly associated with disease.

Call today to schedule your appointment to see how chiropractic can help you and your family.

Tel: (416) 332-3769

Vitality Chiropractic Health Centre
2023 Sheppard Avenue East • Toronto • Ontario • M2J 1W6
Tel: 416-332-3769