UNDERSTANDING ARTHRITIS

The Osteoarthritis Society of Canada predicts that within the next generation one person will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) every 60 seconds. OA is a painful condition caused by a gradual loss of cartilage and inflammation in the joint. There are over 100 types of arthritis and OA is the most common. 1 in 10 Canadians are affected by OA. It is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. It affects predominantly the knees, hips, hands and spine and common symptoms include pain and stiffness in these joints. The prevalence of OA increases with age, and factors such as lifestyle, work and family history can contribute to this condition. What can you expect to determine a diagnosis of osteoarthritis? OA requires a combination of patient history, discussion of symptoms, manual examination and diagnostic imaging. The combination of imaging and a diagnostic examination leads to a better understanding of the patients symptoms. Based on the examination findings and your symptoms, your chiropractor will work with you to determine an appropriate course of treatment. How can we treat OA? Because OA is a multifactoral condition, a combination of treatments modalities and techniques is generally required to adequately treat it that is tailored to the patients specific condition. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to create an effective and acceptable long-term plan for managing with arthritis. Exercise has been proven to be beneficial and leads to an increase in quality of life of OA patients. This includes specific aquatic, stretching, aerobic and resistance exercises that are beneficial and effective for this condition. Spinal adjustments (SMT) have also been shown to be beneficial. Patients who undergo SMT report positive results, including pain relief and increased function. Acupuncture has also been show to be beneficial in controlling the symptoms of OA. Education and support is a major component of arthritis treatment. By learning more about arthritis you can better participate in your own care. It is important to discuss OA treatment options, the effects of OA on daily activities, and the strategies for coping with limitations imposed by OA with your chiropractor. Other treatments that are effective include weight loss, orthoses, certain assistive devices, heat and cold therapies and TENS treatment. There are many treatment options for OA patients and a customized balance of treatment options is generally required for maximum benefit. Patient commitment is a crucial component to establish an effective treatment plan. A working relationship between your chiropractor and other health care providers is also beneficial. Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to OA. Dr. Justin Arseneau, DC

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