Non-Surgical Treatment of Osteoarthritis in the Elderly

jdand blog

If you’re over 55, chances are you’ve noticed some extra aches and pains in your joints. For some people, this can be a warning sign of osteoarthritis, which can become worse after 60. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in elderly people, with about 30 million people suffering from the ailment in the United States.

Athletes, veterans, overweight people, women, and people with relatives with osteoarthritis are all at an increased the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. Medications, surgery, and canes or crutches are the most common treatments of osteoarthritis.

However, there are non-invasive treatments as well, including chiropractic care.

Causes of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis occurs when there is a deterioration of the cartilage that creates a cushion between the bones in the joints. With enough wear and tear, the cartilage can deteriorate completely, leaving the two bones rubbing against each other.

As you age, your risk of developing osteoarthritis increases; however, former athletes, veterans, and obese people have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. In fact, 1 in 3 veterans develops osteoarthritis. Some people, depending on their weight, former professions, or former injuries, are more likely to develop osteoarthritis as early as their 40s. Any long-term condition or injury which has compromised the integrity of cartilage in the joints can lead to earlier symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Locations of osteoarthritis

The most common area of osteoarthritis development is in the knee. Knee pain is especially debilitating because it can cause many patients to lose their mobility and independence. Many patients end up relying on a walker or a cane when knee pain becomes too severe. When the cartilage is completely worn away, patients may have to face the risks and complications of a total knee replacement.

The hip joint is another common and debilitating location of osteoarthritis. The pressure from the wearing down of bones and cartilage can lead to fractures in the hip and permanent disability. The need to use the hip joint for movement, much like the knee, can result in the use of walkers and canes, or a total hip replacement.

Other common joints affected by osteoarthritis include the fingers and hand, shoulder, elbow, ankle, neck, and back (known as Facet Joint Syndrome). All of these areas can cause a significant decrease in quality of life and activity and can become very serious debilitations.

Treatment options

Many treatment options for osteoarthritis include lifestyle changes such as losing weight and cutting out foods that may cause inflammation. Light exercise such as biking, swimming, and walking do not cause a lot of pressure on the joints and can increase blood flow.

If these options do not alleviate symptoms, or if deterioration continues, your doctor may suggest surgery such as a knee or hip replacement. With every surgery, there is the risk of complications and pain management afterward.

Chiropractic care is one of the best options for non-invasive treatments in Garden City, MI. Your chiropractor will go over your diagnosis and come up with a complete care plan to help alleviate your symptoms. Some treatments include ultrasound and electrostimulation to help improve blood flow and rebuild damaged tissue. Stretching exercises can greatly increase agility, flexibility, and strength to an area weakened by osteoarthritis.

Gentle manipulation of the spine and joints can also help stimulate blood flow and decrease nerve pain caused by compression and cartilage loss. Massage is another excellent way to increase blood flow to a compromised joint and decrease pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis.

Final thoughts

Don’t let pain interfere with your retirement travel and relaxation. Before taking the drastic step of surgery, or depending on pain medications for long periods of time, investigate non-invasive chiropractic care treatments instead.