“Isn’t Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) a normal part of getting older?” As a chiropractor, I am asked that question all the time. The American Medical Association has more descriptively termed osteoarthritis – Degenerative Joint Disease, or if it occurs in the spine, Degenerative Disc Disease. To be clear, osteoarthritis is a disease. So to answer the question, Osteoarthritis is absolutely not a normal part of aging. No disease is normal. Osteoarthritis is a mechanical breakdown of proper form and function of a joint, the surrounding soft-tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage or disc of the spine. When left untreated or treated solely with medication, the degenerative process is allowed to progress, which is to say, worsen. The surgical option can be of help for many areas – knee, hip, shoulder – but with the spine, it is not a preferred remedy. The one key element to the spine is it’s all about function. The less functional, the more degeneration occurs. Spinal fusions diminish function which allows the degenerative process to continue at other levels of the spine.
Age is, however, a factor. The longer joints and soft-tissue remain dysfunctional, the more damage is done. The body in its architecture is simply amazing. For a lack of better words, it is truly built to last. Your body is designed to keep itself healthy, active, and functional for a long time. All it asks is that we keep everything functioning the way it was designed. Once we let things falter, the body will break down at a faster rate than intended. That faster rate of breakdown or degeneration leads to major disability and illness, which is not intended.
The positive side to this is when you work the body correctly – stimulate the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and discs appropriately – it does respond very well. The joints and soft-tissue can be trained to function at normal or near normal levels, maintaining their health. If degeneration has occurred, progression can be stopped. Discs can heal, but need to be worked very specifically in order to be retrained.
The primary concern when dealing with arthritis, especially in the spine, is to not let the condition continue to deteriorate. The more degeneration that occurs, the more difficult it is to correct.
To be evaluated and determine if you are a candidate for our program, please contact us to schedule an evaluation.
265 Highway 34 South
Colts Neck, NJ 07722