Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints that affects more than 20 million people. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is the most common form of
arthritis and occurs gradually over time. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include achiness of the joint, stiffness (felt more often in the morning upon waking) and swelling.
Osteoarthritis of the spine, known as spondylosis, is a degenerative process that occurs normally as we age. Though we are all at risk to osteoarthritis at some point in our lives, there are certain factors that cause this to occur earlier than others. These factors include genetics, past injury, obesity or excess weight, and strenuous occupations.
Spondylosis usually occurs concurrently with Degenerative Disc Disease. The intervertebral discs tend to be the first area of the spine that experiences wear and tear and as a result of the spine’s faulty biomechanics, the vertebra begin to grow bone spurs in order to regain its stability. These bone spurs, known as osteophytes, may cause narrowing of the nerve
spaces, pinching the nerve and causing pain. The osteophytes may also causes radiculopathy, or radiation of pain
into the extremities as well as spinal stenosis.
Chiropractic treatment is effective in treating both spondylosis and degenerative disc disease because it corrects the areas of the spine that are not moving properly and decreases the risk of further spinal degeneration. Manipulation of the
spine helps to increase the range of motion by restoring the normal biomechanics of the spine. Additionally,
cervical traction and flexion-distraction of the lumbar spine helps to increase the disc height and open nerve spaces, ultimately taking the pressure off the nerve and lowering inflammation.
Chiropractors can also treat other joints commonly affected by osteoarthritis such as the knee and shoulder. By applying physical therapy modalities to the area and using mobilization techniques, pain can be reduced and range of motion is restored.