Last month we introduced the topic of arthritis and gave a brief overview of what it is and the major types of arthritis. In the second part of our series we want to go over what you can do to prevent and/or treat arthritis.
Let’s start with the basics and talk about lifestyle and how it pertains to arthritis. As with any condition, the most obvious cure is a healthy lifestyle. Proper movement in the form of appropriate exercise and stretching, a healthy diet and stress management will improve your body’s ability to adapt to and recover from the damage that occurs throughout the day. Of course, chiropractic is a vital aspect of a healthy lifestyle because the chiropractic adjustment removes interference from the nervous system which leads to improved overall function.
First I want to talk about movement. Movement is key to the health of a joint. Movement around a joint helps to move nutrients and waste out of the joint, specifically the cartilage and other connective tissues that surround it. It also keeps the muscles flexible and conditioned. A joint that remains immobile for too long begins to stiffen, and deteriorate.
Another factor, with regards to movement, is traumatic injury. An injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis over time. That is why if you are injured you should seek appropriate care as soon as possible. Depending on the nature and extent of the trauma, care may include chiropractic, physical therapy, massage or medical intervention. The point is, don’t ignore it. Your body will heal damaged tissue, but with the appropriate intervention you can improve the long term outcomes.
As we know, nutrition is an important aspect of health and for the purposes of this article we can’t delve too deeply into the specifics. However, arthritis is an inflammatory condition and therefore you want to avoid foods that promote sustained system-wide inflammation. Avoid foods that are highly processed, and sugar. Also, unless you eat a diet rich in omega-3 I suggest a supplement. Omega-3s are an important component in regulating inflammation in the body. Some forms of arthritis, such as Gouty Arthritis, have specific dietary requirements which should be discussed with your doctor.
Although stress alone does not cause arthritis, it certainly can be an exacerbating factor in the symptoms of arthritis. Stress also puts the body into a fight or flight response which is great when you’re in danger but not good for your daily life and not good for your body’s ability to adapt and heal.
Finally, a word on medication and surgery. Medication and surgery may be necessary in some cases but should always be a last resort. Increased intervention always comes with increased risk. Start with lifestyle modifications and conservative treatments first, medication and surgery last.
Dr. Buchan and Dr. McComb are board certified doctors of chiropractic and owners of Kingwood Chiropractic Associates. They have extensive education and training in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, applied clinical nutrition and acupuncture. They are committed to helping you and your families obtain the information which is essential to achieve health and wellness, and through that process empower you to make decisions that will lead to fulfillment of your goals and a life of greater potential. For more information on methods of improving your health, go to www.kingwoodchiro.com.