Arthritis can be a debilitating pain condition. Not only is it extremely common (especially for seniors), but there are a number of different types of arthritis, some of which target younger people. What are the symptoms of arthritis? What are some arthritis causes? Is there any way to find natural help for the pain of arthritis? Read on to learn more about this condition and how upper cervical chiropractic is providing new hope to arthritis sufferers.
3 Types of Arthritis
Rather than spending a great deal of time discussing every single type of arthritis, we’re going to look at three common types: osteoarthritis, spondylitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. For each, we will discuss what that particular type of arthritis is and what symptoms occur.
• Osteoarthritis – When you hear the word arthritis, this is probably the type you think of first. It is the type that accompanies aging. It is the form of arthritis that a person would feel years later after suffering an injury. While it most commonly causes pain in the fingers, hips, and knees, it can affect any joint. Obesity can also increase the effects of osteoarthritis by putting more weight on the affected joints.
• Spondylitis – This is a series of conditions that affect the spine. It can be connected with other forms of arthritis. Back pain is often related to inflammation. The type of spondylitis a person has is usually determined by where the pain is felt. For example, spondylitis can affect the neck, hips, mid back, or lower back. Inflammation is the key factor that separates this form of arthritis from simply being osteoarthritis of the spine.
• Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis is another form of arthritis that results in swelling and stiffness in the joints. In most cases, multiple joints are affected. Some patients feel tired or ill often and may even get an occasional fever. Pain usually occurs bilaterally (the joints that hurt will hurt on both sides of the body). This has to do with a malfunction in the immune system which causes the body to attack its own joints, making this an autoimmune disease.
What Causes Arthritis?
The causes of arthritis also depend on the type of arthritis being experienced. For example, osteoarthritis can be caused by an injury. You may suffer a knee injury playing soccer as a child. The injury heals, and you think nothing of it until 20-30 years later when the knee begins to hurt every time a storm front is coming through. Of course, normal wear and tear on the body can also lead to osteoarthritis.
Spondylitis is also caused by wear and tear or trauma. For example, a common whiplash injury may even go undiagnosed, but if the upper cervical spine becomes misaligned, this can lead to faster degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. When these discs wear down too far, the vertebrae can become fused to one another, making it difficult to maintain proper posture. This stressed position can then lead to even faster degeneration of the discs of the spine, causing pain to become chronic.
While doctors are not 100% sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely. Some of these risk factors include:
• Age – Even children can get rheumatoid arthritis, but it becomes far more common once a person is over the age of 40.
• Family History – While RA is not inherited, there may be a genetic predisposition since it does seem to run in families.
• Gender – Women get RA far more often than men.
• Obesity – Being overweight increases the likelihood of getting RA, especially if a person is under the age of 55.
• Smoking – Smokers are more likely to get RA, and continuing to smoke if you have this condition causes it to advance more rapidly.
Finding Natural Help for the Pain of Arthritis
As we have discussed, some of the causes of arthritis pain are related to physical trauma or normal wear and tear on the body. Much of this goes back to degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae. There are also central nervous system connections for rheumatoid arthritis since the immune system is clearly getting the wrong messages. Is there anything you can do to help your body naturally when it comes to all three of these issues? Yes! Here is how upper cervical chiropractic care can help.
• Trauma – Head and neck injuries frequently cause upper cervical misalignments. Since upper cervical chiropractors focus on the C1 and C2, we are in the best position to help with this type of injury.
• Disc Degeneration – When the atlas (C1) is out of alignment, the rest of the spine follows. This can cause normal wear and tear to escalate. Correcting the C1 misalignment can relieve the stressed position the spine is in and cause disc deterioration to slow down.
• CNS Function – The atlas protects the brainstem, but a misalignment can affect proper brainstem function. The upper cervical spine also needs to be in place to facilitate blood flow to the brain. Thus, it is important to check for a misalignment in this location when it comes to enhancing CNS function.
Clearly, upper cervical chiropractic has advantages when it comes to many different types of arthritis, so if you are suffering from this painful condition, why not give it a try? Case studies performed by various upper cervical chiropractors show the practical benefits that this natural form of care can provide.