Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), also known as Osteoarthritis, is a condition in which the protective cartilage that surrounds the bone begins to break down. DJD can affect any joint in the body but commonly affects weight bearing joints such as your knees, hips, and spine. Symptoms include local and/or radiating pain, stiffness, lack of flexibility, swelling, and more. You are at risk of suffering from DJD if you suffered a trauma to the area, are diagnosed with a metabolic condition, are overweight, a smoker, or have a family history of Osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, DJD is a condition that can gradually worsen over time if not treated. Fortunately, DJD is a common condition helped by chiropractic. The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that chiropractors induce motion and restore the joints back to their normal positioning to help relieve excess stress that was being placed onto the joints. Removal of excess stress helps the joints function at their optimum.
How does a chiropractor know what is the best course of treatment? To begin care, it is important to take a thorough history of the person’s previous health history to see what may be the cause of their problem and help navigate the best course of action. Next, a thorough examination is done that includes neurological, orthopedic and physical examinations to find the root cause of the problem. An important part of the examination, if deemed clinically necessary, would be to take X-rays of the spine or affected joints. This is important in helping find the root cause because DJD will show up on an x-ray with decreased joint space and jagged edges around the bones called bone spurs. Having the information given from the x-ray would be crucial in helping determine the best plan of care for you. Lastly, using all of the information gained, the doctor can provide a specific plan of care to help relieve the stress placed on the joints and help prevent further damage.
If left untreated, the condition will continue to worsen, creating additional problems such as ligamentous instability, an increase in pain and stiffness, radiating pain, and decreased flexibility. In severe cases, surgery may be the most appropriate course of action. More than 54 million people in the United States suffer from DJD, but you don’t have to be one of them! Our goal is to help you live your best life free from pain and suffering!
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