Happy summer everybody! I hope all my patients and friends are enjoying the outdoors and maybe a vacation? It’s a season when a lot of us are spending more time in recreational activities: hiking, swimming, (and one of my favorites, stand-up paddling). We live in a paradise, be happy!
Here at the clinic, it’s also a time when we start seeing more complaints about joint pain either during or after exercise. We take an x-ray, and no surprise, the blame often goes to arthritis. So what’s the low-down on this condition? What’s the best way to treat it? One of the main causes of arthritis is good old wear-and-tear. As you use your bones and cartilage, over time they tend to wear down, creating pain and stiffness in joints. Certain injuries might seem like they get better and the pain goes away…then later arthritis will appear in the joint where the original injury occurred.
Other causes can be obesity, infections, allergies, certain foods, autoimmune disease, even a physically demanding job. You’ve got a lot of company: statistics show about 1 in 5 adults have arthritis. It affects some younger people, too, even children. It’s also not a single disease; there are over 100 medical conditions classified as arthritis.
Okay, you’re saying, got it, Brad. So what can we do about it? Physical therapy (like chiropractic adjustments and deep tissue massage) is often effective in restoring some mobility and lessening pain. Studies have also shown that early use of physical therapy can delay the need for invasive treatments (like surgery) in more severe cases of arthritis. Every year more people are choosing to have hip replacements, knee replacements, and ankle replacements. These now have a pretty good record of success, but the recovery time can be long and painful, with severely reduced mobility. The “bionic” joints have their own set of problems, including not lasting forever. All moving parts, whether human or mechanical, eventually wear out. When you come in to see me, I can show you your x-rays and discuss exactly where your arthritis is and what the outlook could be. It really helps to be informed, and to understand how reducing your risk, along with following the best treatment methods, will have you feeling a lot less pain and moving more freely. Have a great summer!