Arthritis is a condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage, most common in the weight bearing joints of the body such as the knees, hips, and back. It is also common in the neck and hands.
As the joint is broken down it can lead to joint stiffness and increased strain on the muscles in that area. Additionally, as joint function changes it can lead to movement compensations and place strain on other areas of the body.
Although degenerative changes are common with age they do not automatically result in pain. Research now shows that it is not the degeneration of the joint that is responsible for pain, but the effects the degeneration has on how the joint is functioning.
We focus on restoration and maintenance of function by emphasizing joint movement and increasing the ability of the muscles to support and stabilize the affected joints. In addition, we assess how the body as a whole if functioning to uncover any other movement abnormalities that may be affecting the degenerated area.
Joints of the body need to move. When this movement becomes restricted and normal motion is altered several problems arise. Most commonly joint dysfunction results in pain, stiffness, muscle tightness, cartilage breakdown/degeneration, and movement compensation leading to undue stress on other areas of the body.
Joint dysfunction are common in the spine and the extremities and can commonly occur with injury, poor posture, muscles tightness, scar tissue, or muscle imbalance. The doctor will assess movement of the joints to feel for areas of altered or restricted movement.
Once identified, the abnormal movement can be restored using a combination of chiropractic joint adjustments and muscle relaxation therapy. Whenever possible simple home exercises are demonstrated to facilitate and maintain proper motion in key areas.
Underlying factors such as poor posture and muscle imbalance often need to be addressed in cases of chronic or recurrent joint dysfunction.