Arthritis, What Is It And Why Does It Happen?

Hello everyone,

How many of you have ever read your X Ray or MRI report and looked at the words and thought, “what is that saying?”. Most of the words are related to some form of degenerative disease, which is just a fancy word for arthritis. But what is arthritis? Here we go…...

You can get arthritis in any joint of the body. Most of the time it occurs in the joints where the most pressure is applied, such as hips and knees and lower back. Everyone knows that the joints are lined with cartilage, and most think that the cartilage wears away over time, however, it does not. Excess pressure on the cartilage does not allow proper movement of fluid thru it and that causes the cartilage to basically die, and thus the amount of cartilage is reduced slowly. Since the pressure is not being absorbed by the cartilage in the joint, more pressure is placed upon the bones of that joint. When bones have extra pressure placed on them, they get defensive and will try to protect themselves. They do this by creating new bone in the area to act as a barrier to that pressure. That extra bone that is created there is now a new little bump of bone, and known as a bone spur, and this is how arthritis occurs, and is also known as degenerative disease. Sometimes the bone spurs are not in an area that causes any pain, but sometimes that bone spurs, or arthritis, will press on something that hurts, such as a nerve or another piece of bone. This is a natural process. The speed of degeneration will be increased with increased body weight, as we discussed in last month’s newsletter, and can be lessened with keeping your body weight down and your activity level up. Treatment for arthritis will sometimes include surgery that will attempt to “grind” down the newly formed bone, but that is a hard surgery and recovery, depending on the place on the body. One treatment that always helps is losing weight and keeping mobile to keep the joints loosened up.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Dr. Mckim

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