Osteoarthritis (OA) is the body’s adaptive response to mechanical imbalance. Poor alignment of the Axial and Appendicular Skeleton (spine and extremities respectively) place uneven mechanical forces on the bones and joints. When a car’s tyres are out of alignment the rubber becomes worn both unevenly and prematurely. The symptom is the damage to the tyres but the cause is the poor alignment of the wheels.
Uneven gravitational forces on the spine and joints cause the joint structures to break down faster than they can heal. The specific areas of the bones, which are under increased load, respond by growing back in an attempt to strengthen the load-bearing structures. This process is scientifically known as Wolff’s Law. The best example of this is that of poorly fitting womens’ shoes, which initially causes a callus (thickened skin), eventually causing the underlying bone to form a bunion (extra bone growth).
This universal law always aims to strengthen bone, even when the joints are balanced. This is why people with good posture and a balanced musculoskeletal system who maintain weight-bearing exercise, have stronger, denser bones. The opposite occurs in areas which have no mechanical stress acting upon them (astronauts in space, sedentary lifestyle).
The key is to have balanced forces acting on the body, which minimise the effects of gravitational torque/large moments (mechanical physics) acting on the spine. Remember how easy it is to hold a broomstick upright on your hand compared with holding it horizontally out in front.
Other changes with OA: The joint cartilage degenerates, the ligaments, tendons and surrounding muscles lose their elasticity and the joint’s proprioception (joint position sense) reduces. The pain associated with this chronic low-grade inflammatory response acts to limit further movement and aggravation. If this occurs in the spine it affects the Central Nervous System. Considering the spine’s job is to house and protect the Central Nervous System, and allow body movement, it is imperative that you have a balanced spine. Poor posture and injuries (micro and macro) cause these common imbalances (subluxation).
For the layperson, this equates to stiff and painful joints, which appear to be ‘worn out’. This is not an age-related natural process. If so, we would see OA spread evenly throughout every joint in the body on everyone who was of an older age. It is important to note that the spine and joints of the body are living, dynamic tissue that has the ability to heal and rejuvenate. OA is therefore the consequence of more breakdown than the body can heal. For that reason it is not a disease entity, but rather the body’s attempt to stabilise an unstable mechanical system.
The human body’s job is to adapt to its environment so it can survive. The body knows how to be healthy. This innate (inborn) knowledge, which aims to self-heal and regulate, requires spiritual, physical and chemical balance. You must think, move and eat better! OA put simply, is the musculoskeletal system adapting to poor alignment and balance. Gravity is the force, and early degeneration is the consequence.
What is the Solution?
- ‘Think better’: Make a paradigm shift towards knowing you can heal and makeimprovements in degenerated joints (OA). Mind you, there is limitation of timeand matter. This simply means the longer and more severe the degeneration, theharder it is to rejuvenate. This doesn’t mean you will not be able to move and feelbetter once the underlying postural and joint alignment issues are addressed.
- ‘Move better’: Get your posture and spine checked by a chiropractor. They willutilise weight-bearing X-Rays to assess your alignment, level of degenerationand bone density. The Chiropractor will also test your neurology (NervousSystem function). Weight-bearing cardiovascular exercise and Pilates willstrengthen your posture. Stretch your spine and extremities-Yoga is great.
- ‘Eat Better’: Organic wholesome produce fuels the body with the vital nutrientsand trace elements to thrive. Assessing and improving your body chemistry willhelp healing. Chemical Toxicity or Deficiency can lead to poor function of thenervous, immune, digestive, endocrine, circulatory, integumentary, respiratory,reproductive and urinary systems.
Please note/ inflammatory arthritises, which include Rheumatoid, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, etc are caused by an autoimmune reaction. Poor body chemistry and nervous system function causes the body’s immune system to attack its own joint structures. The antibodies present in the blood (Rh factor) mean there is an inflammatory process. People, who believe that this inflammation is an incurable disease rather than the body’s adaptive response to its environment, tend to have a progression of symptoms, which manifest into physical derangement of the spine and joints.
Yours in health,
Dr Howard Cameron Bsc. M Chiro.