Just recently someone very close to me was diagnosed with an advanced case of osteoarthritis. For those of you who are not familiar with the condition, osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs in the joints. The cushioning cartilage in the affected joint erodes away thus causing the bones to eventually rest upon each other without the benefit of cartilage cushion.
Just thinking about the condition makes me cringe. Most commonly the condition affects the hips, knees or neck and is exacerbated by being overweight.
My loved one, I’ll call John, had been experiencing hip pain and stiffness. He attributed it to getting older (as we all attribute any new ache or pain). However, over time, the pain got worse. The pain worsened to the point to where it would wake John up at night.
To deal with the annoyance of the pain John took over the counter pain medication such as Aleve, Motrin, Tylenol, or any of the available NSAIDs.
Now an added Wrinkle (not an age joke)
Introduce Steve. Steve is another person who is very near and dear to me. Steve was talking to John about the effects of aging and how he finally decided to go through the battery of tests folks our age should go through. You know what I’m talking about. There’s the physical, colonoscopy, EKG, blood test, heart stress test, etc.
John’s conversation with Steve inspired John to make an appointment with his doctor to have a physical. In addition to the need for a physical, John wanted to find out what was causing his reoccurring and persistent hip pain. He found out the reason: advanced osteoarthritis of both hips.
Here’s the Question
Steve and John are the same age (a few months apart); they’re both reasonably overweight (love you guys). So, here’s the question. Why did John, rather than Steve come down with this degenerative disease? I know there’s no one answer as to why people develop osteoarthritis.
The doctors have repeatedly asked John if he had suffered a sporting injury or was involved in an accident or anything that would contribute to his condition. Although it’s a ‘wear and tear’ disease, the advent of an injury or accident can also give rise to osteoarthritis. John assured the doctors that there was no such injury and no family history of osteoarthritis.
Here’s the second Question (or hypothesis)
If Steve and John are both overweight middle aged men and Steve regularly received chiropractic care for most of his adult life and John didn’t, could John’s lack of regular chiropractic adjustments be a contributing factor to his osteoarthritic condition? After all, lack of chiropractic adjustments means that any skeletal malalignment is left unchecked. Poor alignment can lead to an abnormal range of joint motion. That abnormal motion over a long period of time can lead to abnormal wear and tear of the cartilage. See where I’m going with this?
The Beauty of the Internet
After rolling this around in my head for a bit, I did a little internet research to see if anyone agreed with my theory. I happened upon an article by Dr. Daryl Robert Bourke, DC ND. Dr. Bourke has the credentials and ability to articulate my theory much better than I. Take a moment to read it his Osteoarthritis and Treatments article.
Since achieving and maintaining health is all about the day to day choices one makes, I choose to continue my regular chiropractic care. And, until my children are of age to make their own choices, I choose regular chiropractic care for them too.