Family Ties

“Uncle Arthur.” The one uncle most people have, but no one wants to see. Once he shows up, he often doesn’t go away. Unless you take something to numb yourself to his antics, he becomes a real pain that just continues to increase over time. He begins to get in between you and the motion of daily events and the activities you enjoy. After enough time of putting up with him, you finally just have to cut him out of your life. This “uncle” is osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of a hundred different kinds of arthritic conditions that can affect the body. It is often referred to as the “wear and tear” kind of arthritis. It is the most common type, approximately 30 million people are affected and is the leading cause of disability. Between 2008 and 2011, an estimated 80 billion dollars per year in earnings were lost due to OA. It takes time—months to years—before symptoms are noticed. Many people will state something to the affect that “it runs in the family” or “I got it from my mother.” Except for a very small number, OA is not genetic. The small margin of people that can say this either have a RARE genetic defect that prevents proper production of collagen, a protein used in various ways of binding other proteins in the body, or someone with a congenital joint defect that causes the joints to move abnormally, leading to increase pressures of the joint surfaces. However, the increase pressure on joints surfaces is exactly what leads to OA. This is preventable.

Injury, occupational activities, and obesity are among the leading factors that lead to OA. Injuries such as those most commonly experienced by athletes places him/her at a greater risk of developing osteoarthritis. These include joint dislocations, meniscal tears, and ligament injuries, just to name a few. But, their tissues are not the only body structures that are affected from an injury. In whiplash cases, deformation of the anterior inferior (front lower) portion of the cervical vertebra are noted on x—rays. Most joints of the body are lined with cartilage to allow smooth motion and cushion to the joints, or in the case of the spine, vertebra discs. What happens to these tissues during an injury? What about the joint alignment? After all, if you hit a pothole with your car while driving, it can easily throw the tire alignment out of proper positioning, causing your car to pull to one side. This leads to your tires wearing out sooner and unevenly. The same consequences apply to the joints of the body. However, I would venture to say this aspect of health and healthcare is often overlooked with the faulty idea of “it will go away.”

These changes of joint structure and function causes the body to respond by doing its best to stabilize the problem areas. This leads to the development of bone spurs and sclerosis of the joint surfaces, along with muscle tightness/spasms. The body is affectively trying to fix the “Leaning Tower of Pisa.” It responds to the increased stress place upon the joints. But, this whole process can be mitigated if the joint alignment and function is addressed soon after injuries instead of waiting till other symptoms show. Chiropractic manipulation helps to realign the joints, enabling smoother motion, and less work by the muscles to achieve such motion. This reduces stress on the whole system. Let’s not forget, that the inflammation process of this degenerative disease can irritate nearby nerves, leading to its dysfunction as well. Now, obviously, the longer a bad process has been in place, the more time it will take to make a change in the positive direction. But it can happen. So, first seek a qualified Chiropractor soon after any injury (falls, vehicle accidents, sports injury, etc.). Then stick with the treatment recommendations. Chiropractic is not just about pain relief, it is helping the body to help itself and function as its best. This is the best way to not invite “Uncle Arthur” in the future.

To see if chiropractic is right for you,
Contact Dr. Fulkerson at Tulia Family Chiropractic at 806-995-4699

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