What is Arthritis?

When people think about arthritis, the typically imagine a bone that grinds up against another bone.  While this is sometimes the case, there are different levels of arthritis ranging from mild to moderate to severe.  This is typically measured based on the level of joint space compared to the opposite joint and/or a “normal” joint.  Arthritis is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the body in response to altered forces and/or degeneration.

Basically, arthritis is when two surfaces of a joint come closer to each other. There can actually be some tearing of cartilage, inflammation, and bone spurs that may occur. Although many people do you have arthritis, it is not always painful.

Wolfs Law

Wolf’s law states that bone will be laid down according to the forces that are placed upon it. This makes perfect sense in that if there are stresses on the body, the body will adapt and lay down hard bone to help support that joint. That being said, if there are abnormal stresses on the body, extra bone will be laid down to help support the structures. When we see this in the body, we call this a bone spur.  

Based off of this information, if you just remove the abnormal forces on the body, and less bone will be laid down. Most people do not realize that arthritis (osteoarthritis) is in part reversible, manageable, and preventable in many cases.

Many doctors use this principle (Wolfs Law) when there is a patient who is experiencing osteoporosis or osteopenia is told to increase their walking and resistance training and take supplementation to help bone grow and become more dense.

How joints get their nutrients?

Joints do not necessarily have direct blood flow like muscles do and therefore get their nutrition from  movement. This movement allows the secretion of synovial fluid that help to lubricate the joint so that it can keep moving properly. The pressures that occur from normal range of motion and movement allow proper blood flow to the region, proper secretion of fluid, and prevent the body as well as the cartilage from degeneration generating.

Whаt iѕ Shoulder Arthritis?

Thе ѕhоuldеr is a unique joint and that it is comprised of twо jоintѕ.  The major joint is called the Glenohumeral joint and is considered the ball and socket joint.  The other joint is known as the AC joint (acromioclavicular joint) and that is where the clavicle collarbone meets the scapula.  

All joints in the body can obtain arthritis & the shoulder is no exception.

Most of the time, you can see arthritis in these two areas and is very common to see osteoarthritis at the AC joint. A lot of arthritis can occur from degenerative changes, trauma, poor mechanics, autoimmunity, and various injuries.

Oѕtеоаrthritiѕ (OA)

Oѕtеоаrthritiѕ iѕ a dеgеnеrаtivе соnditiоn thаt iѕ оftеn referred to as thе ‘wear аnd tеаr’ arthritis. Oѕtеоаrthritiѕ аnnihilаtеѕ thе оutеr covering оf thе bоnе knоwn аѕ аrtiсulаr саrtilаgе.  This is the type of arthritis that most people think of when they say “bone on bone.”

Rhеumаtоid arthritis

Rheumatoid аrthritiѕ iѕ аn inflаmmаtоrу and autoimmune соnditiоn that аffесtѕ thе joint lining, known as thе synovium. This tуре оf аrthritiѕ mау affect реорlе of all аgеѕ and typically imрасtѕ multiple jоintѕ on both sides оf thе bоdу.

Post traumatic arthritis

Arthritis can result from trauma.  Many shoulder trauma include a dislocation оr fracture of the ѕhоuldеr, AC joint separations, crashes, accidents, slip and falls.  

What are some соmmоn Shoulder Arthritis symptoms?

The соmmоn ѕуmрtоmѕ оf ѕhоuldеr аrthritiѕ inсludе раin thаt progressively wоrѕеnѕ over time. The раin саn bе aggravated аѕ activity оссurѕ & patients may report increases in pain the following day or two.  In addition, many patients state that there is pain at night.

A classic sign for arthritis is joint stiffness in the morning that loosens up with movement  throughout the day. Sometimes patients will also notice a warm feeling or heat and inflammation in the area after use.

During daily activities, you may experience limited range of motion, and achy or dull feeling of pain.  Some other symptoms include stiffness and soreness and sometimes non-painful pops or clicks called cavitation’s. Typically, patients will report improvements with light activity and improvements heat prior to activity and ice after activity.

Often times, patients will avoid overhead lifting or certain activities that increase the pain or soreness the next day. These altered patterns can lead to altered movements and muscular imbalances that further the complexity of the injury.

Types of Acromion (Shoulder)

There are three major types of Acromions and the shape of acromion bone can dictate your movements and arthritis at times.  Type II and type III acromion processes have been associated with shoulder impingement syndrome as well as rotator cuff tears. A full thickness tear are often seen in type three acromion processes.  Because type II and type III have less space for the tendon to pass underneath, it can create more shearing, fraying, and degeneration of the Supraspinatus tendon that runs underneath and may lead to a rotator cuff injury in the future.

Type 1 – Flat Acromion

Type 2 – Curved Acromion

Tpe 3 – Hooked Acromion

Hоw tо diagnose Shoulder Arthritis?

If you really want to see what arthritis looks like you will need to take some sort of imaging. Within a physical exam, patients will notice that they have reduced active range of motion. When the time for the doctor to move their arm or shoulder (passive range of motion), the patient will also have limited range and there may be a sudden stop of movement. This can give the Chiropractor or clinician good idea that there is arthritis preventing the joint from full movement.

Sometimes in the physical exam there may be popping, clicking, or grinding within the shoulder joint. While this may be true in arthritis of the shoulder, this can also be a normal variation or indicate other things.

The dark truth about arthritis? Read this in full!  

Have you ever went to the doctor and they told you you have arthritis? The truth is almost everybody has arthritis somewhere in their body. In many cases, it is a normal sign of aging.  Yes, it may be normal!

So then why are so many people concerned with arthritis if it’s just a normal sign of aging? This is a great question and to be honest there is no straightforward answer but I believe that this is just what doctors are told to say and report to patients.  In many cases and clinics (I have actually seen this first hand), have used arthritis and the diagnosis of arthritis to scare patients into committing to long-term care plans. Now, I’m not saying that long-term commitment to care is not a good option for some, but it is one of the ethical concern for me. Hence, I left to start my own clinic.  

Much of arthritis is diagnosed via X-ray and MRI and patients do not always exhibit pain and dysfunction the correlate with the image.   Research has demonstrated that patients do not follow typical pain patterns associated with the imaging. For example, you might have arthritis in the shoulder, but have no pain while someone else may have arthritis and a lot of pain. This is also true for a lot of issues like Sciatica, disc herniations, nerve compressions, etc.  Sometimes patients exhibit sciatica symptoms but do not have direct pressure on the nerve. I have even seen patients with Sciatica but upon imaging they have compression of the nerve on the opposite side of the symptom. Interesting ain’t it?

Since so many people have arthritis it’s really more of a concern of the function of your body and whether or not it interferes with your activity, life, and exhibits pain or symptoms.  Basically it’s more about function than it is about structure; however, we know that they both influence each other.

To wrap this up, arthritis can be a normal sign of aging and have nothing to do with pain or it can play a direct part in why you are actually having pain.  

Natural Treatment Oрtiоnѕ fоr Arthritis

I will start by saying that I see arthritis every single day in my office and most people do not even start with the basics. You cannot expect results if you don’t have the foundation laid.

Nutrition

Eating a healthy rich in vegetables may seem obvious but we still lack quality nutrition in the United States.  Increasing our vegetables is a great way to get it on both micronutrients that are beneficial for cellular healing.  For arthritis specifically, you want to focus on natural whole foods that are dark and leafy.

Supplementation

Supplementation can really help with pain and discomfort from arthritis but most people fail because they are very inconsistent. If you’re going to do any Supplementation to revitalize your joints then you better be consistent and give at least three months. Researchers shown that glucosamine chondroitin and Hylauronic acid supplements together have reduced pain for people with chronic arthritis after three months of use. In addition, you will want to have MSM supplementation. It is a good idea to have all three of these supplements together.

Bone Broth Soup

While this is not a new food, it certainly has been gaining a lot of attention in that it contains high amounts of protein (essential amino acids) and collagen. Yes, you can take collagen supplementation but this is a whole food that you can eat every day. Collagen is the basis of our skin, hair, nails, and connective tissue. Not only that, but it is great for new system and has active components like glycerin and proline that help rebuild our tissues and fight inflammation.

Rehabilitation, Exercise and Movement

Have you ever heard somebody say, “I cannot exercise because of my arthritis and when they exercise it hurts their arthritis?”  The problem might be true that some arthritis pain may come from exercise, the truth is that a lack of exercise will only lead to further degeneration of the joint and keep it from getting strong and performing they way it should.

The truth is you have to move! You must move! If you do not move, you cannot help in your own recovery.  Not using a limb or joint is linked to cartilage loss, muscle atrophy, and deconditioning of the entire body!  

This is exactly why you may need the therapist to help. Most often people will avoid exercise because it flares up the pain.  To combat this issue, it’s not necessarily the exercises fault, but rather the programming or the lack there of. This really means you’re not doing the correct exercises that are supporting your joint health and you may need small tweak in your program to help.  Not to worry, there are always ways to strengthen and improve your body based on your condition, age, weight, activity level, symptoms, etc.

I have some people who have had bad arthritis do very well with mild exercise. Remember, joints degenerate when you don’t use them and went to surfaces are now coming closer together there will be less movement, less blood flow, less synovial fluid secretion, less oxygen, and nutrition to the joint. How can you expect a joint to heal if you do not support the movements that the bodies designed to do?

Mobility

Mobility training essentially is things like foam rolling, stretching, Myofascial release, Active Release Technique, Graston technique (IASTM), and many other types of techniques that are geared towards improving the range of motion of that joint complex.

If the joint of the body is not moving well due to arthritis, it may be more adventitious to have a therapist move the joint for you.  We also call this mobilization. Again, improving the blood flow and adding proper movement is critical in helping the joint and its surrounding tissues heal.

https://youtu.be/FosaEbJpwQQ