Managing Arthritis
Managing Arthritis
Monroe Chiropractic Care of NJ

More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis. ThatÌs about one in seven Americans afflicted with this potentially crippling disease. Even more shocking is that nearly all Americans over the age of 50 show varying degrees of arthritis symptoms.

Although the term is applied to a wide variety of disorders, arthritis is, in reality, the inflammation of a joint, whether as the result of a disease, an infection, a genetic defect, or some other cause.

Fortunately, many of the problems commonly labeled ÏarthritisÓ are easily healed or controlled, and the prospects of debilitating complications are far less than they were for our parents and grandparents.

How Do I know If I Have Arthritis?The warning signs of arthritic development include:

Pain that occurs during or after movement, after extended periods of non-activity, or with a change in weather.
Joints that may become progressively stiffer and difficult to move.
Skin around joints that may appear red, swollen, and warm to the touch.
Additional symptoms can include: restrictive range of motion and poor posture leading to excessive weight pressure on a joint.
Over time, excess bone can grow around the affected area creating more pain and less freedom of movement
There are basically two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage and bone at the joint. Pain, stiffness, crackling, enlargement, and inflammation often result. Osteoarthritis is categorized into two forms.

The more common Primary Osteoarthritis, is a slow, progressive condition that usually strikes after age 45. It mostly affects the weight-bearing joints of the body (knees, hips, lower back, neck and fingers). It develops when excessive stress is put on ordinary, healthy joint tissues or when normal amounts of stress are applied to an already weakened joint. Obesity and a family history of arthritis can put a person at greater risk.

Secondary Osteoarthritis usually strikes a person before the age of 40 and is primarily caused by trauma to the joint. The trauma can be received from a sudden injury (such as a car accident or a fall), after surgery, or it can be caused by many small injuries.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease brought on when the immune system attacks the bodyÌs own tissue in the joints as if it were a foreign material. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than two million people in the U.S. and women are three times more likely to get it than men.

You Can Prevent Arthritis÷But you must take action NOW to ensure that your body stays healthy and pain free for as long as possible. Here are some suggestions to help you minimize pain and progression of the disease÷

Increase your range of motion: Although the natural response to pain may be to rest or not move the affected area, thatÌs one the worst things you can do. You must work to increase the range of motion in the painful joint. Normal range of motion is necessary for proper circulation and to repair sore joints. By increasing range of motion and flexibility throughout your body, you minimize your chances of suffering from arthritis later in life.

Nutrition: A proper, nutritious diet can help prevent or relieve arthritis pain. Some people believe that elimination foods in the night shade group [THIS PHRASE IS NOT AT ALL CLEAR: I THINK OF ELIMINATION FOODS AS FOODS Ò SUCH AS PRUNES AND SALADS - THAT HELP THE ELIMINATION SYSTEM. AND WHATÌS THE ÏNIGHT SHADEÓ GROUP?] would help minimize flare- ups of pain. These foods include tomatoes, potatoes, egg plant, and peppers.

Exercise: Physical activity helps relieve arthritis symptoms as it strengthens bones, muscles and joints, increases flexibility, prevents joint deformities, improves the immune system, and reduces stress.

Suitable exercises include walking, swimming, bicycling, strength training, and stretching as these do not put additional stress on joints.

Weight Loss: Studies show that overweight people are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. These findings show that when your joints have to carry more weight than they were designed for, pain and damage often occur. Likewise, by dropping excess weight, many who suffer from joint pain find that pain becomes minimal and may even subside.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Recent studies show that the supplements, Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate, can play a major role in the treatment of arthritis by actually repairing and rebuilding protective cartilage in the joints.

Other supplements that have been shown to help are vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral Selenium, which helps reduce properties in the blood known as free-radicals, that can cause damage to joint tissue. Fish oils high in omega-3 fatty acids can help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Chiropractic Can Actually Help Arthirits Sufferers In order to prevent or reduce the pain of arthritis, itÌs important to make sure that joints function properly. According to a study cited by the Arthritis Foundation, Chiropractic manipulation can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis and improve joint function. According to another survey done in 1999, 63% of chronic arthritis sufferers use complementary and alternative medicine; 73% of study participants found Chiropractic helpful. Chiropractic ranked the highest in terms of patient satisfaction.

Chiropractors specialize in restoring normal range of motion and balancing posture by gently restoring the normal position of joints and the spine.

Did You Know That Chiropractic Is The Third Largest Health Care Profession In The United States? [HEADING] ItÌs used by approximately 50 million Americans each year.

A study found that elderly patients who received Chiropractic care were less likely to suffer from arthritis and had greater mobility than those who did not. Other studies have found that Chiropractic geriatric patients are less likely to have been hospitalized, less likely to have used a nursing home, more likely to exercise vigorously, and more likely to be mobile .

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