IS IT CAUSED BY LOCAL INFLAMMATION, SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, OR BOTH?
Osteoarthritis is the result of a combination of two different issues; Systemic Inflammation and Local Inflammation. In case you are one of the 99% of Americans who believe that Inflammation and swelling are synonymous, let me take a moment and explain. Inflammation is the collective name given to a group of chemicals made by your immune system. These chemicals are involved in intercellular communication ---- the ability of cells to "talk" to each other. Some Inflammation is necessary for the healing process to proceed as normal. Too much of these chemicals we call Inflammation and you have a problem on your hands.
- LOCAL INFLAMMATION: When you injure a specific area, or have faulty biomechanics (improper movement or alignment of joints ---- in Chiropractic we refer to this as "SUBLUXATION") or POOR POSTURE, you leave yourself open to local inflammation. The subsequent tissue damage causes a local Inflammatory response. The greater the damage, the greater the response (HERE).
- SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION: Systemic Inflammation is Inflammation that occurs throughout the body. It can be driven by an endless array of issues --- many, if not most, ultimately having to do with your diet. SUGAR is extremely Inflammatory. Food Sensitivities (GLUTEN, for example) cause Systemic Inflammation. ANTIBIOTICS or OTHER DRUGS that disrupt normal GUT HEALTH are mega-Inflammatory. Others would include YEASTS, MOLDS, HEAVY METALS, PARASITES, OVER-CLEANLINESS, and that's just for starters.
It is important to understand that not only is most sickness and disease the result of Inflammation (HERE), Inflammation always results in Fibrosis (HERE). Fibrosis is what I usually refer to in my practice as "SCAR TISSUE" (it can cause DENSIFICATION as well). Something you need to understand is that our models for understanding some of these "Inflammatory" conditions are changing.
For instance, we've known for quite some time that the mere fact that you have a Disc Herniation does not necessarily mean you are going to have back pain (HERE). The same is likewise true for Osteoarthritis. It's just that these things are easy to see with STANDARD IMAGING (with OA it's calcium deposits, bone spurs, and thinning cartilage). I cannot tell you how many people I have treated who had severe arthritis --- many to the point of being told they needed joint replacement --- but after really getting down to business and dealing with the Inflammation, they either dramatically improved or became totally pain free.
It is important to understand that the drugs commonly used to treat joint pain (NARCOTICS, NSAIDS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, and ANTIDEPRESSANTS) are not only dangerous, but largely ineffective. Any relief you do get will be temporary at best. Then it's time for SURGERY. That's how the medical community thinks. If you can be kept alive longer, but with more sickness, pain, and dysfunction, you are a precious commodity; a real moneymaker. Not that your doctor does not want to see you having less pain, but as far as actually getting better with problems like OA; it's not really in their paradigm (HERE).
If you remember back to a post I wrote several years ago about Blood Sugar (HERE), you will see that "Uncontrolled Blood Sugar" (whether your numbers are in normal range or not) is a major factor for developing not only DIABETES, but for developing Osteoarthritis. Here's some brand new proof of this. A study published in this month's edition of BMJ's Rheumatic and Muskuloskeletal Diseases Open (Association between Diabetes Mellitus and Osteoarthritis: Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis) concluded that, "This meta-analysis highlights a high frequency of OA in patients with DM and an association between both diseases." Doesn't sound like much, but in essence they are telling you if you have one, you are far more likely to have the other as well. This is a particularly big deal considering not only the numbers of Americans with OA, but that nearly 100 million Americans have PRE-DIABETES --- most of these being completely unaware (HERE).
Another huge factor for Oseoarthritis is being OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE --- itself another of the myriad of health problems considered to be "Inflammatory". In case you had not heard, just over a month ago, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study done at St. Louis' Washington University (Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in the United States, 2007-2012) that not only revealed that 7 of 10 Americans weigh more than they should, but that, "those who qualify as obese now outnumber persons categorized as overweight".
Honestly folks, whether your problem is CHRONIC PAIN, one of the many CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, or AUTOIMMUNITY, you are going to deal with most of it the same way. It's time to wake up to the fact that excepting rare instances, DRUGS are not going to "cure" you. They are going to mask symptoms while you get worse. If you are really interested in solving your health-related issues, HERE is the starting point.