You are probably wondering why I would discuss this issue being an office that deals with children’s health. The sad reality is that we, as chiropractors, all see a large number of children with the beginnings of arthritis. Some of these children are very young - six, seven, and ten years old. It is actually a huge problem - it seems to be downplayed by society and our health care machine when it concerns children. No one wants to talk about it!
You may not realize this, but of all the illnesses that plague Mankind, this type of arthritis is the most widespread. That is huge! Research indicates that it can be detected in 35 percent of population by age thirty. And my experience, and that of my colleagues, tells me that this number should be closer to 70 percent. By the time someone is seventy- years old, this condition seems to be absolutely universal. In other words, almost every seventy-year-old on the face of the planet has it.
A research study by Lawrence a few years ago revealed that osteoarthritis can be noted on an x-ray in 10 percent of fifteen-year-olds (Although from my experience with children, and from the experience of other chiropractors, that figure should be closer to 50% to be more accurate.)
Let me translate that statistic for you: This means that five out of every ten fifteen-year-olds have arthritis of the spine already beginning. Did you know that? Were you aware that this condition is so prevalent? It is a condition which is the most frequent cause of aches and pains in people and can result in the most significant time lost from work. It has been regarded as a problem with no apparent solution for decades!
Osteoarthritis and Spinal Degeneration have been characterized clinically by pain, deformity, limitation of movement and eventually, by disability. Any notion or thought even remotely associated with slowing this condition down, stopping it, or most certainly reversing this condition, has been looked upon, until recently, as absolute “heresy.” It has been universally accepted as a simple and inescapable part of aging.
If you think about this from a logical perspective, however, and if that was the case, then why is it showing up in children who are five, six, seven or ten years old?
You have most likely heard that arthritis is a “wear and tear” degeneration of some of the structures of a joint.Something you maynot be aware of is that joints in your body are areas where two bones come together for the purpose of movement. The ends of these bones are lined with a very special material called cartilage, which is designed in such a way as to prevent friction. This results in movement that is very smooth, effortless and not painful. As a matter of fact, the surface of the cartilage that lines your joints is so perfect, as to be almost frictionless.
I want to also remind you that it is also a self-regenerating mechanism - cartilage has the ability to regenerate. Amazing!The whole joint is then bathed continuously in a special lubricating fluid called synovial fluid, which acts much like a super-lubricant.
Although I am speaking of the large joints of the body, such as the elbow, or knee, or hip, etc., the same applies for the smaller joints such as your fingers and alsothe vertebrae that make up your spine.
This lubricating system is near perfect - it is designed not to wear out. And yet we see that it actually does!
Why would that be?
Essentially, Osteoarthritis and Spinal Degeneration is an enormous, self-contained remodeling process. That is the key to understanding what I am about to explain next. It is, in essence, your own body attempting to repair something that has been damaged or changed, or is under undue pressure and is not functioning as it was designed - a spinal vertebra that is Subluxated and under tremendous and unrelenting stress.
When I am speaking of stress in this context, I am not referring to psychological stress. No. I am referring to physical stress on a particular joint or vertebrae.
The initiating and common denominator in this process of deterioration, is simply an alteration or change in the, what we call, normal bio-mechanical pattern of movement of some of the vertebrae of the spine. (Ok….I have to use a bit of techno-babble here. Please allow me to do that)
In other words, there is a change in the function of some of the individual vertebrae. They are no longer functioning and working as they were designed. This change is not seen as something normal. It is what we call a patho-bio-mechanical change - an alteration in normal movement and function - and even alignment! This is what causes abnormal stress on a particular vertebra, its joints and disc. What I am referring to is called a Vertebral Subluxation. A Vertebral Subluxation can be seen as either a “misalignment” or a change in normal function.
I will continue our discussion in the next post. Please stay tuned!.