We understand that joint pain is a vague topic to cover. After all, we have a lot of joints and a lot of things can cause them to be painful. In this article, we will discuss:
- What causes joints to hurt
- How to maintain joint health yourself
- How does chiropractic help with joint pain
If you are suffering with joint pain, book an appointment today to get some help and advice:
What causes joint pain
Firstly, let's talk about what makes up a joint. There are several different types but the most abundant type of joint in the body is the synovial joint. This has two articular surfaces, the surfaces of the two bones connected by the joint, a joint capsule that encloses the joint and this is filled with synovial fluid. On a basic level, these elements create a strong, yet mobile structure that allows our bones to move next to each other.
Whilst the concept may be simple, we are anything but simple and our complexity is what allows us to exist in the world and perform complicated actions such as sitting upright, walking, running or lifting. But, that amazing complexity leads to a range of potential problems.
Joint tissues can start to degrade and cause pain. Often this is alongside a reduction in the range of movement. Osteo Arthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and two of the most common causes of joint tissues degrading. Whilst RA is often treat primarily with medication, chiropractic treatment for OA has been demonstrated to be effective in a range of areas, mostly the hips. Chiropractic treatment for OA does not claim to reverse any of the physical causes, but instead focuses on improving joint range of movement and reducing pain.
How to maintain joint health yourself
Eat well, move well.
Those are the most important aspects of looking after your joints. In terms of nutrition, joints require a wide variety of nutrients the maintain and improve the various tissues they are made of. Not only does your nutrition affect what building blocks are available, but also how your body transports those building blocks to the right place. Even if you eat plenty, you can still be malnourished if you don’t have wide variety of foods containing vital micronutrients. The best source? Vegetables, and a little fruit. At the very least, try to get your 5-a-day. If not, more. And if you like a particular vegetable, don’t just stick with that, variety is important. If your diet isn’t great, and you know it and are finding it difficult to change, it may be worth taking a supplement such as a multi-vitamin. For us, experimenting with food and trying new and varied things is a much better and tastier way to get what you need.
So what about movement? Well, you have the right building blocks from your nutrition, but your body still needs to know what to do with them! Our body functions on the SAID principle, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. It doesn't matter where you are on the scale of "completely unable to function" to "athletic ninja", there is a level of exercise and activity for you that won't break you but will place demands on your body that it will adapt to. As your body gets this stimulation and adapts, it will be capable of just a little more, and then a little more. Bit by bit your body can get stronger, more flexible, and take on any challenge you want to be able to do.
When it comes to working out how to get from where you are now, to where you want to be, think about what it is your body needs to be able to do. Let's run through an example. You want to climb Snowdon in Wales, but currently your knees hurt just walking up or down the stairs. Clearly, the load of walking up or down stairs is currently too much. Try to avoid this as much as reasonably possible and instead work on knee and hip strength but doing chair squats, slowly lower yourself into a chair and then raise back up out of it. Repeat this for a week or two and then try walking up and down stairs to see if this still aggravates your knee pain. If it doesn't, great, now you can use stairs climbs as some training. Graduate yourself to a local hill, get comfortable with that and find a bigger hill. All this time you can back up what you are doing with chair squats, or free standing squats, or weighted squats. If your knees start to hurt again, take yourself back to a level you can do comfortably. This principle can be applied to any joint pain on movement.
Can chiropractic help with joint pain?
In many cases, yes. It will always depend on exactly what the cause is, joint pain is a very broad term. But if we refer back to some of our common causes, OA can be managed effectively with chiropractic. There is a great deal of evidence around OA of the hip. Primarily, chiropractic treatment will improve joint range of movement and reduce pain. Some of these effects may be temporary but they are a fantastic window of opportunity if followed up with the right exercises prescribed by your chiropractor. Often with joint pain we also see associated tension in muscles related to that joint movement. With some soft tissue work we can help calm this source of pain and restriction down. Joint manipulation can also reduce local pain which can reduce the guarding effect of muscles.
Whilst chiropractic treatment can be beneficial, on it's own it is unlikely to reverse and physical changes leading to joint pain. But with that window of opportunity, and the right advice, you will be amazed at what you can achieve yourself.
If you would like to speak to us about your joint pain, call us on 01264 527001 or book an appointment today: