Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common kind of arthritis. It is a joint disease caused by “wear and tear.” Healthy cartilage (the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints) lets bones glide over one another, while cartilage absorbs energy from the movement. In OA, cartilage breaks down and wears away. As a result, the bones rub together causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
OA may also limit the range of motion in affected joints. Most often, OA develops in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
Signs and symptoms of OA may include the following:
- Joint pain – often a deep, aching pain that gets worse when you move and better when you rest the joint. In severe cases, the pain may be constant.
- Stiffness in the morning or after sitting or lying down for more than 15 minutes
- Joint swelling
- Limited range of motion
- Muscle weakness, caused by favouring the painful joint
- Growth of bony knobs near joints — such as Heberden’s nodes, in which bumps appear on the outermost finger joints
Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation can:
- Increase range of motion
- Restore normal movement of the spine
- Relax the muscles
- Improve joint coordination
- Reduce pain
- Decrease stiffness
- Improve functional ability
- Improve walking distance
A review of the scientific literature suggests that Chiropractic care, especially when combined with glucosamine supplements, stretches and exercise, helps treat OA. Chiropractors will avoid using direct thrusts or pressure on red, swollen joints.