Dr. Matthew Gianforte

About 46 million people in America are suffering from arthritic pain. Did you know that arthritis can be preventable and in some cases – can actually be reversed?

It is important to understand arthritis and the steps you can take now to prevent it from happening.

Arthritis is an inflammatory reaction that happens in the joint.  You may see swelling, inflammation and pain. You may also see reduced range of motion within that joint. This all comes from the breakdown of the cartilage in the joints that protects the bone.

There are three main causes of arthritis.

1. The first cause is when autoimmune disease attacks the joints. The two most common autoimmune diseases that we see are: rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. This is where your body – your immune system – starts to attack your joints.  

There are many people that live with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, and they just take medication after medication to mask the symptoms. There is hope! With functional medicine, you can get down to the root mechanism of what is triggering your immune system to attack your joints and break them down.

To uncover what’s triggering your immune system, there’s testing that can be done, some lifestyle changes, supplements and nutrients that can help to balance everything out.

Our functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Corey, is a very skilled practitioner at getting to the root cause of many autoimmune conditions. If you want more information on functional medicine and other ways to handle your rheumatoid arthritis as well as other forms of autoimmune diseases, you can look on our website. https://www.lifeworkskc.com/functional-medicine/

Check out Sally’s Rheumatoid Arthritis testimonial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=k-3SL175dAM

2. Another cause of arthritis is broken bones and infections.

3. The most common, and this is probably the one that is most overlooked, is general wear and tear. “Wear and Tear” is not the same as old age. There has been a huge misconception about arthritis, “Oh, we just get it (arthritis) as we age.” Unfortunately, that is not the truth.

Yes, we wear down as we age. There is no question about it. But age does not play a role on whether your joints are or are not going to wear down. If it did, then every joint in your body would wear down at the same rate, and it is just not the case.

I have looked at many x-rays including, but not limited to, knee joints, hip joints, and shoulder joints. I have looked at them bilaterally on the same exact patient at the same exact age and very often the two joints have different levels of degeneration, or one may not even have degeneration in it at all. So I think it is very important to understand that arthritis is not age related, and you can control how fast or how slow it is going to progress in many cases.

How Arthritis happens:

  • Arthritis begins to form when adhesions of soft tissue begin to form around the joints.
  • These adhesions reduce the range of motion within the joint.
  • The reduced range of motion within your joint doesn’t allow the nutrients to get into the joint and the toxins to get out of the joint
  • It accelerates an inflammatory reaction going on within the synovial fluid in the tissue
  • Which causes an accelerated breakdown and we get degenerative joint disease beginning to happen.

At a very young adult age, in the early 20s, we lose the vascularity to the inside of our joint. Vascularity Loss means we don’t get any nutrient flow from blood, or anything, inside the joint anymore.

The nutrient flow comes into the joint capsule that surrounds the joint. There is a hydrostatic pressure that begins to build up inside of that joint and the way we get the transfer of nutrients in and toxins (or waste material) out of those joints is through movement. So, movement pumps those joints and pumps the waste material out and brings new nutrients back in.

With our society today and our lifestyles, one of the biggest things that has contributed to arthritis that we have seen is that we are living more of a sedentary lifestyle. With the increase in the sedentary habits, we are seeing an increase in the degenerative changes that are happening to joints more and more; which in turn is causing more scar tissue to build up and it is really this cyclic action that begins to happen within the joints.

If you want to stop the progression or prevent arthritis then here are a few things that you can do:

  1. Increase movement within the joint.
  2. You are also going to want to regularly get exercise. In fact, they say about 30 minutes of exercise a day is not just good for your heart, but it is actually good for your joints.  It helps to pump the waste material out of the joints and bring in good, healthy nutrients for those cells inside the joint so they don’t decay.
  3. Make sure you handle the biomechanical issues properly. Biomechanics is how a joint should move.  As time goes on, or injuries or adhesions build up, it changes the biomechanics where the joint doesn’t move properly.   This creates inflammation.
  4. Stretching every day plays a fantastic role in keeping those muscles, tendons and ligaments stretched out so they are not building up adhesions as quickly. Yoga is a wonderful way to make sure you stretch properly and can assist in breaking up any present adhesions.
  5. Get a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments help to do a couple of things.
    1. First, it is going to help correct the biomechanical issues that are going on within the joint.
    2. Second, it is also going to break up some adhesions that have built up in the joint.
  6. Massage is another way to help keep the amount adhesions down.
  7. Nutrition is an important factor when it comes to the development and progression of arthritis. Avoid adding inflammatory foods to your diet. In fact, you want to add anti-inflammatory foods and herbs such as tumeric, ginger, and Vitamin D. These will help to keep your tendons and ligaments healthy and strong while preventing inflammation.

Something interesting to think about is that our medical field today, and throughout history, has not been able to identify these biomechanical changes because they are not found on x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. They are found through functional testing to determine the weaknesses and tight areas as well as the adhesions and reduced range of motion of biomechanics. So if we only rely on going to our doctors and they take an x-ray and look at it, according to the literature, 80 percent of the time, they are not going to find anything. It is not going to show up on an x-ray, MRI or CT unless it is broken, there’s a torn meniscus, or there’s a torn ligament of some sort. However, a large percentage of biomechanical issues are not going to be found. This allows for more wear and tear to happen and if the biomechanics are not corrected that wear and tear can accelerate.

Let’s use your teeth as an example. You can’t stop eating to live. Dentists have taught us very well that we have to floss and brush our teeth on a daily basis to prevent tooth decay because we only get one set of teeth. Of course today we can put in replacements, but we only have one set that comes with us, so we want to take care of those teeth the best we possibly can.

It is the same way with your joints. The dentists, however, have done an even better job of educating us on the prevention of tooth decay. Where we have really failed in our country is educating the prevention of arthritis, which is quite honestly, no different than tooth decay. It just happens inside your joints and can cause a whole lot of pain.

Chiropractic has actually been shown to have the greatest benefit among all therapies when it comes to treating joint pain. More than massage, physical therapy, acupuncture and so forth.

When you take a comprehensive approach of putting them all together, then you can really see some great long term benefits of keeping your joints healthy and strong. Hopefully this has helped you a little bit on understanding arthritis, the progression of arthritis, and that there are more causes to arthritis than just autoimmune issues and broken bones.

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