Osteoarthritis and Chiropractic

I made a mistake early in practice: I would forget to tell them that they have osteoarthritis. It’s very common. I was bone-on-bone in my upper thoracic spine when I was 26. If you’re over 40, it’s a virtual guarantee that you will have at least early-stage osteoarthritis in your spine. It is what it is. It’s not scary. You were just told that it’s scary, and here’s a pill for the pain. I had a patient who came in with her left knee replaced, with a plan in her near future for her right knee to be replaced. She said, “It’s bone-on-bone!” I told her we can work with that. And I did! I corrected the function of her ankle, knee, and hip. She stood up, and her jaw dropped. The pain was gone. She said, “But I saw the x-ray! Its’ bone-on-bone!” I told her that there are many ways to treat the pain from osteoarthritis. It was a while before I saw her again. It must have been too disruptive for her paradigm. But this is such a good example of when to go to a chiropractor — even when your osteoarthritis is bone-on-bone. I had another older patient come in with neck and shoulder pain. When you’re a chiropractor you can feel when the joints are arthritic. And I forgot to tell her about the arthritis I was finding. We continued with the procedures, and she left feeling “much better”. She didn’t come in to her follow-up visit. In fact, I didn’t see her again for 3 weeks. On her second visit, she said, “Well, I went to my medical doctor to see what’s *really* going on.” I thought, Just kill me now. I know what she’s going to say next. I know exactly where this is headed. “And she said that I have *arthritis*.” I sighed deeply. She felt so much more informed by this medical assessment, and I just forgot to tell her about it! “Yes, ma’am. Of course you have arthritis. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you about it when you were in. Did you feel better after the treatment, though?” “Well, yes I did. But I could still feel some discomfort.” Of course she would after only one treatment! I totally blew it.

So folks! If you are 40+, when you come in, yes: you have bursitis, arthritis, and tendinitis. Those are symptoms of aberrant biomechanics, which I correct. It’s my passion. It’s my obsession! It’s what I do! And I’m sorry if I led you to believe that I could restore your joint health to that of a 19 year old athlete. Not happ’nin’. But I will make you feel better. I will restore your biomechanics. I will help minimize your progressive loss of cartilage by making sure to keep everything mobile.

BTW, did you know that all vertebrates get osteoarthritis except for bats and opossums? Food for thought 🙂

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