What is Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis that usually gets worse with age and over use. When applied to the spinal joints it is usually referred to as spondylosis. All of these can be included in the umbrella term degenerative joint disease. In lay terms, it is referred to as “wear and tear.”
Osteoarthritis constitutes a major cause of morbidity, and the most frequent cause of musculoskeletal (MSK) disability in developed countries amongst the elderly.
The condition is chronic, of variable course and usually progressive. It targets synovial joints, most commonly affected being hands, hips, knees and spinal facet joints. It also targets the discs of the spine.
Who gets Arthritis?
Risk factors for developing OA are; Age (50+), obesity, developmental and acquired joint disease, smoking, previous joint trauma (due to sport, occupation, accidents), post-menopausal female and previous joint surgery. These factors (especially in combination) can equally be used as prognostic indicators.
Regarding occupations probable to predispose to OA for the hip (coxarthrosis) and knee (gonarthrosis), regular heavy lifting as performed in construction and farming especially are deemed high risk. Occupations involving kneeling, squatting and climbing are high risk for gonarthrosis.
How can I help my Arthritis?
There are many different management options for patients experiencing arthritic pain. From a Chiropractic point of view the use of adjustments, mobilisation and muscle therapy used alone or in combination are seen to be appropriate. The aim being to decrease pain, improve range of motion of the joint(s) affected and aid in the restoration of the joint complex.
Exercise will always be advised where exercise therapy (including cardio-vascular exercise) is more effective than usual care by a GP, and is better than back school.
Can supplements help with Arthritis pain?
Supplementation has been shown to have some benefit to arthritic pain. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend advising patients who want to buy glucosamine for themselves, to use glucosamine sulphate 1500mg once daily. However, the evidence for the use of glucosamine sulphate is generally weak in regards to preventing the disease.
Other supplements such as Avocado-soybean unsaponfiables (ASU), Green lipped mussel extract and SAMe (S-adenosylmethione) capsules have moderately stronger evidence for preventative measures or symptomatic treatment for OA.