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Posted on 06-03-2016

Can arthritis be “cured” or reversed or is it simply a chronic illness associated with aging?  Many people have been told that certain aches or pains they are experiencing are simply the effects of “arthritis” and that it’s just a part of “getting older” and can only be treated for the pain symptoms.  But is this really the case?

The term “arthritis” means inflammation of a joint and is considered by the medical community as a chronic illness which essentially means both long-term and progressive.  While there are different varieties of arthritis, all affect the joints in the body with the most commonly diagnosed types being rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.  52.5 million American adults or 22.7%of the US population have received a diagnosis of some form of arthritis over the past year.  Rheumatoid arthritis is the unique one of the group since it’s an auto immune condition that attacks the joint lining equally on both sides of the body and affects 1.5 million Americans.  Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is by far the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis usually affecting isolated joints on one side of the body or in one area of the body.  Over 30.8 million American adults last year were diagnosed with osteoarthritis.      

The most common treatment for all forms of arthritis usually starts with the daily intake of some form of pain medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), from over-the-counter varieties to stronger prescription forms as the pain progresses.  Other treatments are directed at the inflammation such as steroid injections.  The problem with these treatment methods is that they use drugs created and tested as a short-term therapy and apply them as a long-term therapy to manage a disease rather than to address the underlying cause of the inflammation.  By using this approach, these common treatments have shown limitations by not only allowing the arthritis to progress in severity over time but also by increasing the potential for adverse reactions and side effects including addiction to the medications themselves.

Looking at the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis, let’s consider what mechanisms might be causing the inflammation in the first place.  Osteoarthritis usually affects joints on one side of the body and usually only in specific areas of the body.  Rather than assuming that a joint has just gone rogue and is breaking down for no reason, consider that this fact actually is giving us a key indication as to why the inflammation is there in the first place.  Inflammation is a healthy and normal response of the body to an injury and actually aids in healing.  However, long-term inflammation is not so beneficial for our body.  If a joint in one area of the body is being chronically injured each day due to the mechanical stresses placed on it by say a bad posture, a misalignment of the joint itself, imbalanced muscles, repetitive strained movement patterns, or even our postural adaptations (poor postures) to our modern world of cell phones, iPads and computers, then inflammation on one side or in one area of the body at those stress points will be the byproduct.  To properly address the arthritis and the inflammation so that it reverses this process, treatment methods must first address the underlying postural dysfunction, joint alignment, and movement patterns to insure that a person is in the most structurally stable and balanced position possible.  If your car tires are out of alignment, we know that they will wear down unevenly.  Likewise, if your joints are aligned unevenly or moving in an imbalanced way, they also will wear down unevenly causing chronic micro-injuries that the body will try to fix with inflammation, muscle spasms and eventually by fusing the joint structure itself in an attempt to stop the process. 

The key is always looking to the cause rather than managing symptoms if your desire is to truly  reverse or correct the problem.        

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