So, a lot of us, if we ever think about it, think that arthritis (osteo- not rheumatoid or other inflammatory arthritides) is just something everyone gets as they age or that it is some kind of inheritable disease. Research is finding out more and more that arthritis is highly affected by how our joints are loaded. That’s right, studies suggest that maintaining how well your joints move, much like “an apple a day”, “keeps the hip, knee or shoulder replacement surgeon away.”
Herzog, Clark and Longino found in 2004 that if they surgically cut one of the ligaments in a cat’s knee then the muscular control and joint stability of that knee would be negatively changed. Follow up study of that knee showed highly accelerated formation of osteoarthritis. Other studies have been done on cartilage samples to test their response to loads and have found that too much load and too little load on joints causes accelerated cell death.
We can learn from these studies that weight bearing joints of our body need a few conditions for long term health. They need PROPER muscular control, ligament integrity, movement and cyclical loading.
When I first see a patient with low back pain, they always get a thorough hip examination. If I find significant tightness in one or both hips, those hips may be greatly contributing to the back pain. They are also developing arthritis and aging at an accelerated rate. My job is to help the back, but also educate that patient about the consequences of having stiff hips. This goes for the spine, shoulders, knees, wrists, and ankles as well.
Some easy strategies to maintain the health of your joints include supplementing with glucosamine/chondroitin and omega-3 fatty acids, maintaining an active lifestyle, having injuries checked AFTER they heal to ensure no dysfunction resides, and having a functional examination performed by a specialist.
For much more information please visit www.imsjc.com or call In Motion Spine & Joint Center at 615-302-4747. As always, Get In Motion Spring Hill!