The Secret To Avoiding Arthritis
By Dr. David Biedebach, D.C., C.C.F.C.
What Causes Arthritis?
Are you a little afraid that arthritis is inevitable? Just a little bonus that comes along with aging? Nothing could be farther from the truth. And the good news is that preventing arthritis is actually very simple: you need to use your joint structures repeatedly, regularly — and non-painfully.
But the story is a bit more complicated than that. How do you know if you’re using your spinal joints? You know if your arm is moving but you don’t know if all your spinal joints are moving because the spinal joints are all wrapped up and covered.
If you have an injury with a spinal joint, it defends itself by bracing with the exterior muscles around it — called paraspinals. Think of the way a broken arm hurts horribly. But when you put it in a cast, then the next day the pain is largely diminished. It doesn’t hurt much but the point is that it’s still broken. The same way with your spine. If a spinal joint is damaged, our body uses the paraspinals to create a brace so when you move during normal activity, your spine goes along for the ride — but there’s actually very little or no joint function. So all the smaller muscles that should be used for normal functioning are in reality atrophying. Also, the outside, larger muscles become stronger.
The body’s brace then extends above and below the injured joint which healed without pain because of the body’s natural bracing. The drawback to this bracing — the real problem — is that joint function is retarded in the once-healthy joints above and below the formerly injured joint. That accelerates their atrophy and they stop the pumping motion of the vertebra through the discs that normally gives them enough circulation. So they end up slowly drying and dying, which is a form of atrophy but does not immediately cause pain.
The pain eventually comes when the holes where nerves come through get smaller. Or the walls of the discs become weaker because of their dryness and allows them to bulge — discs simply don’t bulge without a reason. The problem gets worse as the brace expands and your symptoms get worse. Your vulnerability goes up as the gap between strength and weakness increases. Suddenly you bend down to tie a shoe and your back goes out — it’s ridiculous but a common cause of back surgery is bending down to tie a shoe.
Masking The Pain
One of the big differences between Western medicine and wellness involves how Western medicine looks at pain — it looks at pain and asks, “What medication can we use to stop or get control of the pain?” Wellness, on the other hand, asks what the problem is and how we can cure the problem in order to stop the pain. Nothing is wrong with using medication because it can be very helpful. However, medication will not normally help function. The function of a joint is its health. If you keep using medication, then you’re only feeling better momentarily — not solving the underlying problem. So it continues to alter the joint’s wear which in turn alters the aging process. Degenerative changes then eventually escalate. Arthritis itself does not hurt. It only begins to hurt when arthritis gets big enough to get in the way of something. That results in inflammation, which can be calmed down with anti-inflammatories. But the arthritis itself continues to grow even with anti-inflammatories.
In contrast, if you improve the joint’s function it tends to defuse the pressure, which will then either halt or diminish the growth in arthritis, at any age. Lack of function causes the joint structure to absorb pressure, which in turn tells the bone to defend itself and grow more bone. That is called Wolf’s Law: Bones grow in direct proportion to stresses laid upon them. A functioning joint defuses the process by signaling not to grow more bone — you must give a joint the right message to regain and maintain wellness.
How To Prevent Arthritis
The easiest and best way to know if your spinal joints are functioning is through a chiropractic exam. It’s just like going to a dentist when you don’t hurt to get an X-ray and see if you have the beginnings of a cavity — catch it early and you won’t end up with a root canal.
You go to a chiropractor to examine alignment, which is considered the most important element in all radiology including MRIs. Why? Because altered alignment impairs function which then causes disc problems. An X-ray for chiropractic purposes is most helpful to see which discs are functioning properly and what condition they’re in.
Make an early resolution for 2021 and give us a call today to arrange for your chiropractic exam. Keep your back functioning properly and you’re on your way to avoiding arthritis over a long and healthy life!