Arthritis … the be all and end all?

A lot of my patients say “my back/neck pain is caused by arthritis”, or “I got an x-ray and my doctor said it’s arthritis that is causing all my symptoms, and there is nothing I can do about it”, so I thought I’d explain what I would normally tell them in a consultation.

So you have arthritis, what should you do? There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common one, osteoarthritis, is actually caused by wear and tear of the joints (mainly age related), and news flash for you, actually starts in your 30’s. If we X-Rayed everyone over 30, I’m sure most people will have some sort of wear and tear somewhere in their bodies. To some extent, osteoarthritis is NORMAL.

So question is, what can we do about it? Well, young or old, I recommend EXERCISE. If you keep all your muscles and joints strong and mobile, you can slow the progression or prevent it from affecting you. The key, though, is to do enough exercise, but not too much. Too much will wear down the joints even further. I recommend you choose a full body exercise you love… swimming, yoga, pilates, gym, weights, dance etc… there are so many options out there these days, there’s really no excuse. And then make sure you go REGULARLY.

Some medical practitioners love to take x-rays and tell you that your degenerative joints are causing your new back pain, even though the degeneration has been there for years and your back pain only 2 weeks. Arthritis can predispose you to injury, but it is usually not the primary cause of your symptoms, especially if you have an episode that caused it (i.e. twisting your back, lifting something incorrectly, etc). So once your symptoms subside, you can go on like you were before (with a few tweaks so that you don’t hurt yourself again!).

For more specific tips and home care advice about your particular case, please book in for a consultation with Debbie or Camille. As always, you can BOOK ONLINE HERE.

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