It has many names: arthritis, degeneration, spurs, etc. But I think we can all agree on one name for it: the ugly enemy. We can all agree that it is bad, painful, and can haunt you for the rest of your life. And we all assume it’s just a disease for the elderly and maybe we’ll get it one day, but that day is far off.
Wrong! Trust me when I tell you that our office sees patients with mild to severe arthritis in all ages, from the mid-20s on up.
Arthritis forms when bones are under stress. In order for a bone to be put under stress, you have to strip away the cartilage. A layer of protective cartilage covers each joint surface. Think of it like a knight’s armor. Here’s an example of how you wear down that armor until nothing protects you from yourself.
If you injure your left ankle, you lean to the right to take the pressure off. That’s good. You’re body has adapted to a situation to save yourself from pain. But that means you’ve double to weight on your right knee as you lean to that side. That’s more weight than the cartilage is designed to deal with. The cartilage breaks down. Sometimes it happens slowly over the course of decades and sometimes it is very quick. Either way, eventually there will be no more armor and your joint will be bone on bone. THAT is painful.
Over the years the increased stress on the bones cause them to grow spurs, painful spikes that stick into bone and tissue. That is arthritis. It’s one of the unfortunate rules of the human condition. When a bone is under stress, it grows, and it never grows in a pleasant or pain-free fashion.
Now you lean back to the left to take pressure off the right knee, putting increased stress on the left hip. Eventually, the left hip wears down and degenerates. This in time becomes very painful. You lean back to the right, and on and on until your whole back resembles the knee.
So what started as a pain in your foot that lasted maybe a week has turned into chronic pain all over. Pretty lousy that something so small can have such unfortunate results later in life. Let’s look at another example with the same situation.
You hurt your left ankle. As you walk into your chiropractor’s office you lean heavy on your right side to take the pressure off the injured ankle. Your chiropractic physician treats your ankle and leg, you feel better, and as you walk back to your car you notice how much straighter you can walk now and how you can put more weight on the left side. End of story. Your chiropractor did a good job of explaining how little things like that can cause bigger problems later and the future looks pain-free.
Take control of your pain today. See your chiropractor and let him or her find the little stresses in your body. Don’t let the little things cause mountains of pain later.