Can Chiropractic cure Arthritis?
Can you Heal Arthritis
As a chiropractor, a week doesn’t go by without someone asking if Arthritis can heal. Maybe they’ve been to their GP and gotten an x-ray and the report says “degenerative changes” of this joint or that joint. Or maybe they have a sore knee or back and their doctor just declares that they are old and that’s the end of the story!
I am always amazed at the responsive nature of the body. Arthritis starts with joint dysfunction. That means a joint is either not moving well or is out of alignment. This causes inflammation and additional wear and tear on the joint. Over time the smooth cartilage on the joint surfaces gets roughed up. Does it ever sound like you have sand in the joints of your neck? That’s called crepitus and it means your cartilage is getting worn.
Eventually the cartilage can get so worn that the bones come in contact with each other. Bones respond to pressure by laying down more bone. This is called Wolf’s Law. Poor Dr. Wolf, I bet he had terrible arthritis! This new bone forms spurs. If this continues the bones can fuse. While this is happening there is constant irritation and inflammation around the joint. Any nearby nerves will be irritated causing pain, muscle tension, or numbness all along the course of the nerve. Fusion is really an adaptive process because once the joint fuses, it doesn’t hurt anymore. You may have heard of back surgery where they fuse two or more vertebrae together. The problem is, that joint can no longer move. This causes more pressure on surrounding joints and the process continues.
So what is a better solution? If the problem starts with a joint not moving well or being out of alignment, the obvious solution would be to restore movement and alignment. That is the goal of all chiropractic adjusting!
Bone spurring does not go away. So that cannot be fixed. However, when function is restored to a joint, it should decrease the pain and slow the degeneration. Cartilage can rebuild as long as there is some cartilage between the joint surfaces. This is a war of attrition. The cells in the cartilage that make more cartilage have to outpace the destruction of cartilage and its fellow cells.
This is the really cool part about the body. The body is responsive. That means, when given a challenge the body will rise to that challenge even on a cellular level. If you put motion back into a joint that was not moving well and use it. Starting slowly with rehab type exercises. And you give those cells that make cartilage the nutrition they need to make more; glucosamine, chondroitin, gelatin, or collagen, you will get new cartilage growth!