Lisburn Chiropractic Clinic | Belfast | Northern Ireland
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Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation (swelling) of the joints and bones. The main symptoms of arthritis include:

- pain
- stiffness
- restricted movements of the joints
- inflammation and swelling
- warmth and redness of the skin over the joint

In the UK, arthritis is a very common condition, affecting over nine million people. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Symptoms include joint stiffness, swelling, joint pain, tenderness and joint locking. Common causes of osteoarthritis include:

- general wear and tear associated with aging
- injury to a joint(s) as a result of an accident or sporting injury
- obesity overloading the joints due to excess weight.

Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, spine and large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and the hips, although any joint in the body can be affected. As a person ages, the water content of their cartilage decreases, causing the cartilage to be less resilient. The collagen fibres of the cartilage can become susceptible to degradation and thus exacerbate the degeneration. Inflammation of the surrounding joint capsule can also occur.

The best treatment for osteoarthritis is prevention.

• Any injuries sustained during sports or accidents, should be attended to immediately so that the injured joint(s) can be stabilised and proper healing is ensured.
• People involved in occupations that require standing or walking should wear proper shoes that provide good support and shock absorption.
• Excess body weight can cause increased stress upon the weight-bearing joints of the body.
• Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables as they contain natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are essential for the health of the joints as well as the rest of the body.
• Ask your chiropractor about the positive effects of omega 3 oils, magnesium and glucosamine and chondroitin.
• Exercise regularly to stimulate improved joint function.

Treatment depends on the cause, type and severity of the arthritis. For simple, uncomplicated osteoarthritis, lifestyle changes are very important; these include regular exercise, reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking and adopting a healthy diet including supplements such as essential fatty acids, zinc, calcium, magnesium and glucosamine sulphate.

Chiropractic adjustments are a safe and effective treatment for osteoarthritis and can help restore proper mobility and function to the spinal joints and improve general wellbeing. Other treatments such as joint mobilisation, massage, hot and cold compresses are also helpful in the care of painful and stiff joints. Sometimes a brace is required to help stabilise the joint in order to alleviate pain. Exercises such as stretching, yoga, tai chi and other gentle mobilising activities are also helpful to maintain arthritic joints.

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