Let’s take a look and see how arthritis may be hard to handle.
There are two different conditions known as “arthritis.” By definition, “arthritis” is inflammation of the joints, but there are two kinds. First, there’s osteoarthritis, which includes something called DJD or Degenerative Disc Disease. Then there are several variations of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear arthritis,” is just that—a sort of wearing away of one or more of your joints. It typically shows up as you age or after years of excessive use or wear on your joints. Many people tell me, “The doctor told me the disc in my neck or low back is worn down because of my age.” My response is a very simple question: “How old are the other discs in your spine?”
DJD, or osteoarthritis of the spine, is usually caused by bones in the spine that are not in alignment and/or postural distortions. The discs wear away, and when that happens your body tries to stabilize this area. On x-ray, this reaction looks like little bone spurs. It’s actually the body trying to fuse these vertebrae in order to protect you. Usually, the problem is not noticed until the disc is about gone and the spurs (osteophytes) start to press on nerves, causing pain.
Is Your Arthritis Reacting Poorly to Medication?
The standard medical approach to “wear and tear” arthritis is self-medication with over-the-counter painkillers and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol, Advil, etc.). If not resolved, you can end up on steroids or prescription painkillers that can lead to addiction. The eventual medical solution is surgery—sometimes very risky surgery with long-term consequences.
The other type of arthritis, called rheumatoid arthritis, is an inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes pain, swelling, and disfigurement, usually easily seen in the hands. As with most autoimmune conditions, the cause is unknown . . . and yet treatments start with over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, then prescription painkillers, then immunosuppressant drugs. The mandatory warnings on these drugs warn you of infection, disease, and even death.
Make sure you’re aligned, so you give your body every chance of not suffering from any type of arthritis pain. Please call the office and set up an appointment if you know someone who has arthritis and would like our help with that condition.
Dr. Scott Cabazolo
112 E 6th Street
Front Royal, VA 22630