Arthritis, osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (all terms used interchangeably) is a condition that occurs when the flexible tissue at the ends of bones in our joints wears down. The wearing down of this tissue, called cartilage, happens gradually and worsens over time. Arthritis most commonly occurs in people with old accidents or injuries, repetitive stress jobs like manual laborers, or old sports injuries, usually from contact sports like football or hockey. Spinal joints can shift out of normal alignment or become locked with limited movement, which can cause abnormal wear and tear on the cartilage and dehydration in the joints. Arthritis usually occurs in older adults but can also be an issue in people under 60.
Patients may exhibit joint pain, stiffness, or aching in – most commonly – the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips. Some patients have nerve pain from arthritis radiating into the shoulders and arms or down into the hips and legs. Signs of arthritis on an X-ray may show loss of normal joint space, thickening of the bones toward their edges, or bone spurs (osteophytes). These changes are permanent and irreversible.
Medications can help temporarily. If the arthritis is severe, surgery may be necessary. Chiropractic is an excellent treatment for patients with arthritis. If spinal joints are locked in an abnormal position with improper wear on the joint, the chiropractic adjustment is a perfect remedy to reduce or slow down the wear and tear on that joint. The adjustment improves the joint’s mobility, takes pressure off the nerves, and corrects normal alignment. The adjustments also help diffusion fluids through the joint spaces and tissues, reducing dehydration on joint surfaces.
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How Our Chiropractic Care Works
2. Customize A Plan Of Attack
The chiropractor will create a customized care plan to not only get you out of pain but work toward keeping you well long term.
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Start doing all the things you couldn’t do, or were afraid to try because of pain, and change your life for the better.
How We Treat Arthritis in Belmar, NJ
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
When a patient comes into my office with neck pain or back pain, hip or knee pain, it’s important to take a thorough history to determine what may have caused the pain. In our office, we go above and beyond to ascertain what past history (even years ago) may have contributed to the patient’s current state. Once we have a complete history, we can move into the exam.
We do a thorough exam in our office. We perform orthopedic, chiropractic, and functional tests, palpation, range of motion, and postural exams. Then we take a series of digital X-rays so we can clearly see the spine and problems. At Kinney Chiropractic, we do not want to guess what might be, we want to see so we know the root cause of the problem.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Belmar, NJ
The leading causes of arthritis are traumas, repetitive stress or wear and tear on the spine, and poor posture for years. I might have a patient involved in multiple car accidents with neck arthritis. Or a retired construction worker with lumbar arthritis. Or perhaps a person who worked at a computer for 30 years with neck and lower back arthritis. Whatever the cause, typically, all my arthritic patients also have subluxations in their spines.
Subluxations are when spinal joints shift out of normal alignment and get locked or stuck, causing abnormal motion in the joint and wear and tear on the cartilage. Over time, subluxations cause abnormal nerve irritation and pain. Long-standing subluxations will give rise to arthritis.
Adjustments are what chiropractors use to correct subluxations. Once we know where the subluxations are, we utilize small forces in the spine to improve motion, correct alignment, and alleviate pressure on the nerves. Adjustments slow down arthritic or degenerative changes in the spine. Once arthritic changes are there, they cannot be reversed, but adjustments help restore motion and mobility and reduce pain overall.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
Certain movements like standing, bending, or walking can worsen arthritis pain. That’s why getting proper movements or exercises is essential to support and lessen pain. Abnormal alignment and motion in the joints cause arthritis. Lack of motion worsens the condition, causing dehydration and brittleness to joint surfaces. Proper stretches and exercises will help get motion and movement in the joints and almost act like a lubricant bringing fluids and blood flow to the area to provide nutrients and hydration.
At Kinney Chiropractic, we prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises for each patient depending on their condition to help minimize pain and maximize motion. Plans are customized and specific to each patient to help reduce pain and support their chiropractic care plan. Exercises focus on improving mobility, flexibility, and strength to get patients out of pain and prevent future aches and injuries.
Spinal Decompression in Belmar, NJ
The most common type of degeneration or arthritis we see as chiropractors is degenerative disc disease. This is when the disc, or the fluid-filled shock absorber in between the vertebrae, becomes compressed, dehydrated, and brittle. The ends of vertebrae develop boney changes called osteophytes or bone spurs, and the big, open spaces between the vertebrae where the nerves exit become closed down and minimized, creating pressure and interference on the nerves. This gives rise to pain.
The treatment we utilize for degenerative disc disease is a type of decompression called Flexion-Distraction. The patient lies face down on our specialized tables, which creates a flexion motion. This motion allows the patient’s spine to open in a way that helps release pressure on the nerves and create more space, decompressing discs and joints. Along with other types of adjustments we do for patients, this technique is a perfect complement for lower back arthritis.
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Common Types of Arthritis in Belmar, NJ
Also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, osteoarthritis is the most commonly seen type of arthritis in my office. It happens after years of wear and tear, poor posture, old accidents or injuries, or chronic repetitive stress. It usually affects the joints in the neck or lower back spine, knees, hips, shoulders, and hands. Symptoms include stiffness, pain, and loss of normal motion. Patients with osteoarthritis in the spine will have pain with walking or bending.
Normalizing the spine’s alignment with chiropractic adjustments will help lessen some of the pain of arthritis. Adjustments will help take abnormal pressure off of the nerves and help improve motion in the spinal joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) causes joint inflammation and pain. It happens when the immune system doesn’t work correctly and attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. The disease commonly affects the hands, spine, knees, or ankles, and usually the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both hands or both knees. But sometimes RA causes problems in other parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, circulatory system, and lungs. For unknown reasons, more women than men get RA, which usually develops in middle age. Having a family member with RA increases the odds of developing RA.
This type of Arthritis is different from Osteoarthritis as its causes an inflammatory response and thickening of the actual lining of the joints rather than just the joints themselves. Along with adjustments that help alleviate abnormal alignment of the joint and nerve irritation, we recommend natural anti-inflammatory supplements like turmeric and ginger root.
Gout is a form of arthritis that can affect anyone and is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in one or more joints, most often in the big toe. Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain of a gout attack. Sometimes the pain is so intense that just the weight of a bed sheet can cause severe pain.
Urate crystals can form when your blood has high uric acid levels. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines — substances found naturally in your body. Foods high in purines include red meat, organ meats, and purine-rich seafood like anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna. Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose), promote higher levels of uric acid.
The best way to treat Gouty Arthritis is with diet modification and elimination of trigger foods. Usually, symptoms subside in a day or two with rest. If symptoms persist, you may need to see a doctor for possible medical treatment.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 16. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and sometimes limping or clumsiness. Some children may experience symptoms for only a few months, while others have symptoms for many years. Some types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis can cause serious complications, such as growth problems, joint damage, and eye inflammation.
At Kinney Chiropractic, treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing damage. Depending on the specific characteristics of your child’s condition, your chiropractor may recommend solutions that include chiropractic adjustments, dietary changes, and controlled exercises that reduce swelling, maintain joint health, and relieve pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is chiropractic care good for arthritis?
Yes. One of the primary causes of arthritis is joints locked in an abnormal position with abnormal motion on them. Chiropractic adjustments restore health, motion, and alignment.
Does chiropractic make arthritis worse?
No. In fact, for most of our arthritic patients, improving motion in the joints with adjustments feels great, and they feel better over the long term.
Can a chiropractor help with back or neck joint pain?
Yes. Painful joints mainly occur when there is abnormal motion, alignment, or pressure on nerves. Chiropractic helps alleviate all of these things.
Is massage good for arthritis?
Yes. Abnormal motion in a joint because of arthritis will affect the musculature around that joint. Massage will help reduce tension and muscle spasms around a joint.
What type of arthritis affects the spine?
The most common type of arthritis that affects the spine is Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint disease.
How often should you get adjusted by a chiropractor?
Treatment plans vary from patient to patient. Often the patient will be seen more frequently at the beginning of care, perhaps 2-3 times per week, and then less as treatment progresses.