Despite the similarity of their names, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are actually very different conditions that all require different treatment protocols. And while it is possible to have more than one of them at once, it’s important to know the difference between them so that your chiropractor can help with the most effective treatment plan to suit your needs. Let’s take a more detailed look into each of these conditions.
Most common in women, osteoporosis involves a loss of bone density, which results in the bones becoming brittle (due to the lowered bone mineral density) and easier to break.
Signs and symptoms include back pain, rounding of the spine in the mid back region, a decrease in height, and even permanent disability. That being said, osteoporosis is considered to be a silent disease, as it can progress for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Osteoporotic changes can, however, be easily diagnosed on a DEXA (or bone density) scan, which is why it’s important to go for regular check ups from about the age of 50.
A healthy lifestyle with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, together with regular weight-bearing exercise, can help to prevent or lessen the progress of osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear, and usually develops over time in joints that are injured by repeated overuse. Best described as the wearing away of the cartilage (the part that covers and protects the end of the bones in the joints), the bones eventually start to rub together until joint flexibility is reduced and joint swelling is noted.
It is a painful, degenerative joint disease that often involves the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or the small joints of the hands, and the first sign that a person has osteoarthritis is pain that usually worsens following exercise or immobility.
Chiropractic therapy may help to reduce pain and inflammation and improve range of motion and quality of life.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. A chronic, degenerative condition, it can start at any age and symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints.
If left untreated, joint damage can eventually lead to difficulty moving the fingers, hands, wrists, shoulders, knees, hips etc. Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA but you should be able to manage your pain with a combination of manual therapy, medication and low impact exercise that focus on stretching, strengthening, and posture.
Chiropractic treatment can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Find a CASA-registered chiropractor in your area here and give them a call about your treatment and diagnostic options for your condition.
This blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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