Dr Neil Gardner, CONTRIBUTOR
Arthritis is not something that is caught and it is not hereditary. It is the result of wear and tear in a joint because of improperly moving or misaligned bones that form the joint. The more mobile or weight-bearing a joint is, the greater the likelihood of arthritis developing. The most common sites for arthritis to develop are the spine, knees and hips.
Arthritis is a time-dependent process, not really an age-dependent one. It typically takes between five to 15 years of poor postural stresses, or following trauma, to develop. The more time that passes, the more wear and tear is expected to occur.
Spondylosis is arthritis of the spine
October is Spine Health Month, hence the spotlight on this very important, but often overlooked aspect of our health - our spinal health. Our spine, or backbone, serves to protect the spinal cord and allow for structural stability and flexibility of our body. There are 24 moveable bones of the spine that allow for the flexibility and mobility of the spine.
Physical traumas like sports collisions, falls, car accidents or chronic poor posture can cause misalignments of some of these bones. These misalignments, the chiropractor refers to as subluxations. If left uncorrected, subluxations lead to the degeneration or wear and tear of the joints of the spine - spondylosis.
When most persons speak of arthritis, they usually mean osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the type that occurs in the spine as a result of degeneration or wear and tear. Spondylosis may occur in any region of the spine, but most commonly in the neck and low back. Subluxations in the spine is considered 'pre-spondylosis', because they lead to spondylosis.
Medications Cannot Correct Spondylosis
When you have pain as a result of spondylosis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may help relieve the pain. Sometimes an NSAID can be injected directly into the spinal joints. The biggest problem with painkillers or anti-inflammatories is that they work. People often feel so much better, that they resume their normal activities, which may only accelerate the degeneration.
"Cortisone injections can help in situations where mobility is impacted or pain is severe, but it is important to note that these injections should only be done intermittently (less than three per year) into each affected joint, as multiple corticosteroid injections may actually weaken the cartilage, causing further joint damage." (Excerpt from jointhealth.org).
Sometimes there are warning signs that let us know that we are headed for trouble. These may include the occasional crick necks, pain or stiffness between our shoulders or lower back pain. When it is advanced, you may start to experience postural alterations, neurological symptoms like numbness or weakness in our hands or feet.
When Should You Visit a Chiropractor?
Traditionally, we tend to ignore our spinal health unless pain forces us to do something. Usually people only see a chiropractor when severe pain forces them. By then, the spondylosis is usually severe and cannot be reversed or undone. It is very important that you visit your chiropractor as soon as you have had any trauma, like a fall or an accident, with or without the presence of pain. If you have already started to experience any of the above-mentioned warning signs, then visit your family chiropractor before it is too late.
Neil Gardner, DC, DACNB, Diplomate, American Chiropractic Neurology Board, chiropractic neurologist, Gardner Chiropractic & Neurology Ltd. www.gcnjamaica.com Phone: 876-978-1050-1/876-622-9241/ 214-432-5464 ( USA).