Osteoarthritis in the Lumbar Spine
Almost every movement you perform involves your joints. Walking, running, typing and lifting are just a few of the common things people do that would be impossible without them. To prevent our bones from wearing down during these movements, our joints rely on cartilage, a spongy tissue that helps to cushion the friction between connecting bones. Without it, everyday activities would be painful.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes this cartilage to break down and become rough and flaky, making movement in the affected area difficult. OA usually occurs in weight-bearing joints, like the hips or the knees, which support the body. However, any joint can become affected. In fact, OA can occur in several joints at the same time. It's possible, for example, to have pain in one knee and not the other, and at the same time have pain in the shoulder or the ankle.
Patients with OA often report having mild pain, morning stiffness and limited movement in the affected joint. The pain tends to come in bouts, with particularly painful periods followed by periods of relief. Patients usually report the most discomfort at night and after extensive use of the affected joint. Although rare, some patients also complain of a complete loss of motion in certain areas.
No one knows for sure what causes OA, but age and obesity seem to play a role. Almost everyone experiences some changes in their joints by the age of 40, and although few people show any symptoms, OA occurs most often in those who are middle-aged and older. Obesity also increases the risk of becoming affected as extra weight puts more stress on joints.
While there's no cure for OA, your chiropractor can implement a management plan that prevents its progression, promotes joint health and relieves pain. By seeing your chiropractor and adopting lifestyle changes, you can reduce the condition's debilitating effects.