Question: Dear Dr. Harvey,
I have been suffering from back pain for three months now. I went to see my M.D. who took some x-rays. He said that I have arthritis in my spine and that is the reason for my pain. I was given some drugs but they give me stomach problems and the pain is not any better. What can chiropractic do for me?
Arthritis of the spine is something that we as Chiropractors deal with on a daily basis. There are many types of arthritis however; osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common arthritis of all. Osteoarthritis or OA, affects over forty million Americans. Most everyone over the age of 50 has it to some degree. In some people it may cause little or no symptoms, whereas in others the symptoms may be severe. OA is usually the result of too much wear and tear or stress on the joints. In the case of the spine, its presence may be a sign that it is out of alignment or balance. It may also be the result of trauma to the spine, especially in the case of past car accidents or other significant trauma in years past.
The lipping and spurring (bone growths often seen on x-rays) are a form of the body’s defense. It is trying to strengthen an area by laying down more bone. Recent research has shown that Chiropractic care can reverse some of the effects of osteoarthritis, something which had previously been considered impossible.
The medical approach to arthritis usually involves the use of drugs, some of the more common being aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Indocin, Advil and Naprosyn. Although the use of these may reduce some of the pain and stiffness, they can also cause stomach problems, ulcers, kidney damage, and GI tract difficulties. Approximately 10,000 arthritic sufferers die every year from GI complications of various arthritis drugs.
The Chiropractic approach is to determine why the arthritis is in the spine and treat that instead of merely addressing the symptoms. The most common problems as mentioned above are misalignment and past trauma. Once the spine’s alignment is improved through Chiropractic adjustments, the joint will have a great deal of stress removed from it. This results in a more freely movable joint and usually a great reduction in symptoms. There is also usually a reduction in the rate of speed in which the spine is degenerating and of course less pressure of the nervous system in that area, which results in a better functioning nervous system.
There are a number of other factors which may also need to be addressed, such as diet, exercise, weight loss, smoking, etc. In my clinic, once you have been given an exam and had the necessary x-rays taken, we will show you a brief video which explains the various phases of spinal degeneration. You will then be given a written report as to our findings and a recommended treatment plan. We have been able to help thousands of people with similar problems. Remember, in arthritis the sooner you start care the better your outlook will be.
©2009 Dr. Harvey